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Sheep Blog

All you need to know about milking sheep

Soay Sheep

Antonio Pedulla


While this site is mostly about dairy sheep and the aspects of milking sheep in general. I thought I would ad a post about another interesting breed of sheep, that isn;t feasible as a sheep for milk but might make an interesting pet, lawnmower or source of gourmet meat. That breed of sheep is the Soay. This breed is a very primitive breed of sheep. The Soay breed is presumed to date back thousands of years. It has changed little in that time and most of the world’s population is in the British Isles, namely the St.Kilda group.  They are named after the Soay island in the St.Kilda group of islands.This archipelago is the only place in the world where Soay occur naturally and on these islands, they run wild. They have no natural predators on the islands where they run feral, so their population tends to expand uncontrolled for generations until the land is unable to sustain them. A large portion of the population will die off as food becomes scarce due to overpopulation and the number of Soay will come back to a normal level, expanding again in a cyclical fashion.

As stated above, this breed would not be good if you are looking to have a supply of sheep milk but they are still a very interesting breed given their history and characteristics. They are small and very deer-like. Most individuals weigh between 50 and 70lbs. So they are incredibly easy to handle although you may not want to handle them much as they tend to be flightier than larger sheep breeds. That being said they would make good ornaments for your lawn or yard. The males, while small, still have the appearance of larger rams, with dark black horns that curl around the sides of their head. They would be great to keep your grass short but they also tend to browse more than other sheep breeds so they would also be good for keeping down brambles and other weeds. They do not have a good herding instinct so they can be a little more difficult to herd than more modern breed of sheep.

Even thought they are small, they can still be raised for meat. You will just get much less than you would a larger breed but the meat is said the be leaner, not as fatty as modern sheep breeds. It takes almost a year and a half for them to reach full-size butcher weight but if you are one that likes to butcher your own sheep then they’re small size would also make them incredibly easy to dress and their rarity and history might give their meat more value, especially to gourmet restaurants or locavores.

Like many sheep breeds, this breed originated in Scotland but it was not brought to North America until the early 90s and only a few were brought over. Animals are no longer allowed to be imported into the US from abroad, so the population of Soay in the US and North America, as a whole, remains small. The population here is slowing increasing. Many breeders are working to promote the breed but breeders are still difficult to come by. The largest population of Soay in the US, seems to be localized around the Northwest but there are also a group of breeders in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic. They are such an interesting little breed, one could easily integrate into their flock of  dairy and non-dairy milkers.

Awassi Sheep now available in the US.

Full-Blooded Awassi Rams Courtesy of Paolo Losecco of Losecco Farms. Most people in the US are unfamiliar with Dairy Sheep Breeds so it comes as no surprise that many have not heard of the Awassi. Up until now, only two breeds of dairy sheep have been available in the US, the EastFriesian and the Lacaune. Two dairy sheep breeds from from Germany and France, respectively. Now a third breed joins us. The Awassi is a triple purpose breed of sheep used for it meat, wool and milk but primarily kept for it's milk. This breed is usually said to be from Israel but it can be found in many Middle Eastern Countries as it is the primary breed of sheep raised in that region of the world. Aside for it high milk production, the breed is know for its hardiness. The breed has been developed  under a nomadic model in some one of the harshest environments on the planet, so one can see how it has become such a resilient breed of sheep. Dairy sheep tend to be rather fragile, the Awassi breaks that mold.

Ever since the Mad Cow scare back in the early 90s, the US has forbidden the transport of livestock into the country. This is why there is such a lack of dairy sheep in the country. Most arrived here either before the livestock ban or were brought through by some sort of loophole like the insemination of foreign embryos into US stock. This is how we no have Awassi in the US. In 2012, Paolo Losecco of Losecco Farms in Wood Dale, Illinois, imported 32 Awassi embryos from a breeder in Australia and had them implanted into Ewes in the United States. Those ewes have given birth to the first Awassi sheep in the US. As of this post, rams are now available for purchase from Paolo Losecco. Pictures of some of these rams are posted below. There is lot of potential now for this breed to grow in the US and more and more people gain access to them. We now have 3 breeds in the US and with this Awassi stock a fourth breed can even be created. The Assaf dairy sheep breed, originates from Israel. It is the result of a cross between East Friesian and Awassi sheep. 3/8 East Friesian and 5/8 Awassi being the ideal cross for best production and hardiness. If you are interested in being a part of the propagation of the Awassi breed in the US, you may contact Paolo Losecco by email at or on his phone at 630-514-9690.

F1 Awassi Rams Courtesy  Paolo Losecco of Losecco Farms.

Update 11/6/2013

Awassi sheep are now 8 months old. See Dairy Sheep Breeder Directory for more ways to contact Paolo and check out his website at

8 months old.

Paolo and Awassi Sheep


Keeping Your Sheep in Milk

When milking any kind of dairy animal, be it cow, goat or sheep, you want to make sure to keep up demand on that animal to continue producing milk. Generally with sheep and goats, milk production peaks around the 2 month of lactation and then it will generally begin to taper off. This decrease in milk production is a result of the decreasing demand from the kid or lamb for the mother to supply milk. Most lambs are naturally weaned by 2 or 3 months of age. So it is important to keep that demand on the ewe in order to continue getting an adequate supply from her. Now i will focus on non-dairy sheep as most dairy sheep should be giving around a quart a day through their 6 month lactation, non-dairy sheep will give significantly less and that amount also has a lot to do with how much you milk them. When milking sheep there is always the question of should I milk once or twice a day. With a full-sized dairy goat or cow, one can get away with milking once a day. Which should supply an adequate amount of milk for one's need but with non-dairy sheep it is almost essential to milk twice a day after the lambs are weaned. Doing this will keep the level of milk production from continually declining. There is not fighting nature sometimes though, and there will usually be a sharp decline in milk production after the first month.

My experience in milking sheep is exclusively from milking katahdins. I can tell you that during peak lactation times it is common to get 1 pint to 1 quart of milk per ewe per day. After they have peaked and milking twice a day, I have seen the production settle around 5-8 oz a day. They can keep producing at this level for a few months before you dry them off for breeding. When milking non-dairy sheep, it is also important not to skip days milking or do a once a day milk for a day or two because production will decline sharply and it will be difficult to come back to that level once it's lost. I was milking a ewe for about a week, once a day. I had bought her while she was already in milk. She was giving me about 12 oz a day. I skipped a day and she went down to 5 oz per day. I never got her back up to twelve when I started milking her twice a day everyday.

When you don't have access to dairy sheep, you can only get a little bit of sheep's milk at a time. It is so precious so it's best not wasted. Many people who milk sheep, do so to make cheese. It's takes a while to save up 2 gallons of milk, my minimum for cheesemaking, when you are getting 5+oz of sheep milk a day. One good thing about sheep's milk though is that it freezes well for later use because saving it in the refrigerator will have half your milk spoiled before you've even saved enough to make cheese. Sometimes it seems like a lot of work but in my experience places to buy sheep's milk are few and far between and when one does find them, it is much pricier than the cost you might put in to raising sheep and milking them at home. I've seen $14 for a half gallon in my area but there is also an upside to that if you have enough sheep to sell to others. It would be a pretty lucrative side business. Anyway. remember sheep's milk is precious, don't take it for granted when you have it because the well may quickly dry up leaving you with an empty pail.

How Many Sheep to Raise for Milk?

If you are thinking about keeping a few sheep for milking, you are probably also wondering how many you should keep. While making this decision, you will have to take a few factors into consideration: How much space you have: If you have little space, then you will only be able to keep a few sheep. Stocking rates for sheep can be anywhere from 2 to 6 animals per acre, year round. The number of sheep you can keep on an acre depends on the quality of the forage. This number can be higher if you plan to supplement a lot of hay but that method is usually less cost effective. If you are just getting started with sheep and have at least an acre of pasture for them, then you would be safe starting with 2 or 3 sheep.

How much time you have: Of course the more time you have to spend with your flock, the more sheep you may have. Sheep are pretty low maintenance especially when kept using an extensive model with free-choice pasture year round but you have to consider how much time it will take to milk each sheep as well. Hand milking will take longer than machine milking and your small-scale milking machine will take longer to milk a few sheep than it would take a larger scale operation to make 10 or 20, just because of the differences in operation and set-up. You also have to consider time spend tending to the lambs if needed and maintenance on your sheep like hoof trimming, vaccinations and shearing if you have wool breeds.

How much milk you want: Before starting your dairy sheep venture, you should determine how much milk you go through in a week. This a great starting point to determine what your dairy needs will be and which breeds you need to keep. For example, my experience with milking katahdin sheep is that 2 ewes will produce at least 1 gallon per week but it can be up to 2 gallons per week. A third katahdin ewe would guarantee I had 2 gallons of sheep milk per week. 3 gallons of sheep milk would be enough for one to drink a gallon a week and use the other two gallons to make a 6" diameter wheel of pecorino romano. If you want to delve into what a dairy breed might produce, you could expect between 1 to 2 gallons of sheep milk per ewe from something like an east friesian.

Which dairy products you intend to produce: If you all want is milk and you have a small family, then you can certainly get by with only a few ewes, depending on the breed. However, if you are looking to make cheese, then you are going to be going through a lot more milk than if you were just drinking it. So you may want to consider keeping more sheep or only keeping dairy breeds of sheep.

As with most new things, one should always start slow and small because it can be easy to get overwhelmed. If the ewes don't meet your needs the first year then it is easy to scale up in following years. But if you start too big the first year, it make discourage you from continuing your venture in milking sheep and that would be a loss.

Icelandic Sheep for the Homestead

Icelandic sheep are an ancient breed of sheep. They have been bred for over a thousand years in the harsh interior of Iceland and now they are available to many sheep breeders around the world. Icelandic sheep were the only sheep available to the people of Iceland so they had to be a multi-purpose sheep breed. Many consider Icelandic sheep to be a triple-purpose breed of sheep. They can provide meat, wool and milk. Although they are almost exclusive bred for meat in Iceland. The lambs can weigh up to 90 pounds by 5 months of age and this is mostly on grass. The meat is said to have a delicate flavor unlike other wool breeds which tend to have a stronger flavor.

Icelandic Sheep, due to their history, are a very efficient breed of sheep to raise. Herd of these sheep were allowed to roam the hills of Iceland on their own during the winter months before they were brought in during the spring to lamb. These extreme conditions put a tremendous strain on the breed. This was definitely a survival of the fittest type situation. Only the hardiest and most efficient animals were able to survive the harsh winters to birth their lambs in the spring. The result of this natural selection is the breed of Icelandic Sheep we see today. A very low maintenance/high reward breed to have as part of a homestead.

Icelandic sheep are a wool breed but they roo or lose their undercoats in the spring making shearing somewhat optional yet it is still highly recommended especially in warm or hot climates. The wool can be separated into two parts, given the Icelandic names of Tog and Thel. The tog is the longer outer coat, this is a medium wool that can be used in weaving. The Thel, or undercoat, is a finer wool that can be used for knitting. This Thel is the part of the wool that sheds if the sheep is not sheared every spring.

As mentioned above, the Icelandic Sheep can also be used for milk production. They are not a true dairy breed, so they do not have the same lactation period and production amounts as dairy breeds of sheep but a small herd of ewes will produce plenty of rich milk for a small family. Milk which can also be used to make cheese and yogurt. A typical Icelandic sheep ewe can produce around 2 pints or 1 quart of milk a day, give or take. This is without the lamb suckling and they will produce like this for about 2 months. Some people remove the lamb at birth, feed them milk supplement and take all the mothers milk. This way the shepherd collects more milk per ewe. The lamb can also be left with the ewe full time for the first 1 to 2 weeks, then separated from the ewe at night and the ewe milked in the morning. Whichever method is chose, the Icelandic Sheep is a good source of milk for the homestead.

Once a rare breed in the US, the Icelandic sheep has been gain momentum. Many breeders can be found throughout the US and there are a few registries with breeder listings if you are looking for a breeder in your area. If you are looking for a breed that can be raised naturally, be very productive and provide your homestead with meat, fiber and milk than you need look no further than this astonishing breed.


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Rearing Sheep - What Must You Do Before You Start Raising Sheep?

Rearing Sheep - What Must You Do Before You Start Raising Sheep?

Sheep are precarious animals if you do not know how to take care of them well enough but armed with the right information you will see that rearing sheep can be one of the most rewarding activities you can engage on as a young farmer-entrepreneur. Rearing sheep is good because there is a rising need for sheep products such as dairy, wool and mutton. It is said that in some parts of the world majority of cheese products are from sheep milk. Milk coming from sheep is superior to all kinds of milk out there as regards their nutritional value. Higher protein, calcium and fat is the mark of a sheep's milk. It is a preferred basic ingredient in ice cream and cheese like feta and ricotta.

Before you start rearing sheep choose the variety that best suits your goal or purpose, if you want to raise sheep for milk, the British Milk Sheep variety offers the most milk production capabilities. If you are for wool production Merinos which has a wool count of 60 to a little over 70 makes good fine wool. They started from Spain and are now abundant in Australia. Their wool is soft and fine. For meat production the Dorper is good. It is a cross between a Dorset Horn and a Blackhead Persian during the 1930s. It is good for meat production because they are easy to grow and maintain. It is considered a hardy breed that is able to withstand not so pleasant lands for grazing.

After choosing a breed of sheep to care, it is now time to invest on equipment and other implements in your sheep business. A good amount of land where pasture is abundant is necessary. If you intend to keep your sheep in a barn, a good building or housing for them is also essential. When they are grazing you can also create perimeter fence made up of portable electrical fences which you can buy online or from your local herding supply. A good halter to lead your sheep herd is a useful tool as well. When rearing sheep be conscientious about natural predators. A study has shown that wild coyotes account for half the number of sheep deaths in a year followed by wild dogs, bobcats, eagles and even bears. You can combine your sheep herd with other animals that serve as their guardians like donkeys, cattle, herd dog and even some types of Llama.

A good quality sheep does not come out of pure luck or genes alone. Giving them good nutrients composed of pasture, hay, silage and grains plus a supplementation of minerals and salts will help your sheep develop and avoid diseases that may plague you along the way. Rearing sheep takes time and a huge amount of commitment but the rewards can be enticing if you stick to it long enough.

Are you looking for more tips on rearing sheep? Separate yourself from the usual sheep owners who are prone to common mistakes. If you would like to learn more tips on caring for sheep and how to raise sheep correctly, please visit:

Don't forget to claim your FREE "12 Tip About Raising Sheep - What You Need To Know Before You Start" eReport!

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Learn to Love Sheep's Milk Cheese Through P'Tit Basque

Learn to Love Sheep's Milk Cheese Through P'Tit Basque

When it comes to cheese made from sheep's milk, there are several forms to choose from - soft or hard, strong or mild. But regardless of the texture or the taste, one thing is certain for all of sheep's milk cheese - it is very delicious. And if you have not tried having this cheese just yet, it is never too late to try a P'tit Basque!

P'tit Basque is an unpasteurized and uncooked hard sheep's milk cheese that comes from the Pyrenees Mountains, the border that separates France and Spain. While most of the known cheeses today have been around for hundreds of years, this particular French cheese is different. Unlike its other relatives in the cheese kin, this cheese is the youngest that debuted only in 1997.

Although P'tit Basque is technically a very new cheese, it is made using traditional methods. It is manufactured using the same techniques that local shepherds used several hundred years ago. The very first P'tit Basque was made from pure sheep's milk that the farmers put aside while milking their ewes.

Cheese from sheep is considered as the ultimate reward for cheese lovers. Cheese made from sheep's milk definitely tastes better than cow's milk cheese and goat's milk cheese because it contains a higher butterfat and protein content than cow or goat's milk. That makes any sheep's milk cheese extremely rich in the two very essential components that make good cheese. It has a unique quality that translates into a certain depth and complexity that is absent in any other cheeses.

For the lactose intolerant, this is a very great alternative to regular cow's milk cheese. However, the main health benefit that one can get from a sheep's milk cheese like the P'tit Basque is its high calcium content - it will only need two cups of sheep milk to get the daily minimum calcium requirement for an average person, while it takes three to four cups of cow's milk to provide the same nutrition.

Sheep's milk cheese is often an acquired taste, so it is better if you start with something "friendly to the tongue" like the P'tit Basque. It has a mild flavor because it is only aged for seventy days. That means that it is very enjoyable in the tongue, tasting like nuts and fruits with hints of caramel. So before you move on to more aged sheep cheeses that have more complex and sheepy flavors, start your sheep cheese adventure with P'tit Basque first.

You can serve it with sliced tomatoes, olive oil and some bread, or make a sandwich out of it - the P'tit Basque will not disappoint you when it comes to flavor and aroma! Slice some apples, open a fresh Burgundy, and order the P'tit Basque cheese today from your favorite cheese shop.

Buy P'Tit Basque cheese and other Swiss cheese from New York's trusted cheese shop, Ideal Cheese Shop. For any questions about our cheese call us toll free at 1800-382-0109.

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Blue River Dairy - New Zealand Sheep Milk

Blue River Dairy - New Zealand Sheep Milk

Not my vid, just wanting to spread the word on NZ made curd. Blue River are awesome! Video Rating: 5 / 5 http Add us on facebook! This is a new spin on yogurt to bring your energy levels up when you need it most. Here we mix sheep's milk yogurt with chocolate whey protein, walnuts, cinnamon, and blueberries for an antioxidant and protein rich breakfast. Video Rating: 4 / 5

New Windsor farmers start 1st sheep dairy in Md.; will sell goods at ...

New Windsor farmers start 1st sheep dairy in Md.; will sell goods at ... NEW WINDSOR, Md. — Tucked on the outskirts of New Windsor, Shepherds Manor Creamery is the first sheep dairy in Maryland, making artisan cheeses and delicate soaps from their sheep's milk, which they sell at special events such as The Maryland Wine ... Read more on Washington Post

How To Choose Good Feta Cheese In 6 Easy Steps This white salty cheese produced from sheep's milk, or a combination of sheep and goat's milk, has become popular outside of Greece because of it's taste and versatility. Nutritionally, it has fewer calories than some other cheeses not because it is ... Read more on Huffington Post (blog)

Sheep milk cheese gets new followers High Weald Dairy churns its award-winning cheeses in a hi-tech dairy at Tremains Farm in Horsted Keynes, a few yards from where its own herd of cows graze the fields. It also uses organic milk from sheep herds and has now won a coverted Soil ... Read more on Mid Sussex Times

Our Edible Suburb - sheep

Our Edible Suburb presents sheep. This is a short clip on the East of Eden flock. We currently have two East Friesian dairy sheep, and one Katahdin hair sheep. We love these sweet animals and can't wait for our first babies in the winter of 2010. Check us out on the web for more information on our sheep or other Edible Suburb topics:

Dairy Goat Farming - All You Need to Know When Raising Dairy Goats

Dairy Goat Farming - All You Need to Know When Raising Dairy Goats

At the heart of dairy goat farming are the goats. These animals are the smallest ruminants humans have ever domesticated. Goats have been producing milk and meat for human consumption longer than sheep and cattle. These animals are also tough, surviving in arid, tropical and mountainous regions. Today, goats are continuously domesticated all over the world as a form of livelihood.

In the global perspective, there are more people consuming goat's milk than cow's milk. The better texture of goat milk is primarily because the fat globules are smaller than cow's milk. This aids in the digestion of milk, especially for people with sensitive stomach. Further, dairy goat farming is saved from too much feed because goats eat a variety of foliage. They are able to select nutritious parts of the plants. Thus, goats as tough survivors and can be seen living places where other livestock cannot.

Most efforts to improve dairy goat farming are focused on producing more and better milk. To do this, breed and animal health are given special attention. Particular breeds are more valuable as milk producers. The most common high milk producing goats are the Saanen, Toggenburg, Anglo Nubian, Alpine and Oberhasli. Each of these has different physical characteristics and lives at different optimum conditions.

In animal health, internal parasitic control is currently at the center of research because parasitic diseases often lead to sickly animals and low milk yield. Proper nutrition is also very important that's why what is fed to the goats is given considerable thought. Climate and weather are two other dictating factors on the quality and amount of milk. Goats can survive drought better than cows and sheep, but their milk production will also be less during dry periods.

In dairy goat farming, milking is done once to twice a day at least 12 hours apart. A single doe can give an average of 2 liters of milk per day. Noncommercial farms can manually milk goats. More advanced commercial companies have mechanical machines to do this job.

Dairy goats usually end up as meat after they are no longer economically viable for milk production. Exceptions are when the goats die or when they are killed for other reasons.

Are you planning on dairy goat farming? Separate yourself from the usual goat owners who are prone to common mistakes. If you would like to learn more tips on caring for goats and how to raise goats correctly, please visit:

Don't forget to claim your FREE "10 Tip About Raising Goats - What You Need To Know Before You Start" eReport!

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Milking Katahdin Sheep

Milking Katahdin Sheep

Raising sheep for meat is becoming more common in the US but it also becoming much more common for people to raise sheep for milk. Sheep milk is rich and delicious. It can be used to make a variety dairy products. New sheep dairies are springing up every year in the US and more hobby farmer's are looking into dairy sheep as an alternative or in addition to their dairy cows or goats. Large-scale sheep farmer's usually have access to dairy sheep breeds such as East Friesians and Lacaune's. These sheep have the longest lactation and highest daily production of any breed now in the US. A lot of the breeding stock for these breeds are found in area's where the large-scale sheep farms are located. This is generally around Wisconsin, New York and other parts of the North East. Unfortunately, the location of this breeding stock, is a bit too far for most of the hobby farmer's in the country, who are looking to add dairy sheep to their homestead. For people that can not find one of the still rare dairy breeds, it is possible for them to keep non-dairy breeds in order to milk them. Katahdins are one of the best non-dairy sheep breeds out there. They have many qualities that make them suitable for the small-scale or hobby farmer. So read on to find out why you may soon find yourself adding a few katahdins to your homestead.

Katahdins were developed as a hardy and prolific meat breed. This makes them an excellent substitute for a dairy sheep breed because they are easy to care for and they regularly lamb with twins and sometimes triplets. They are well-known for being able to feed all of these lambs without help from the farmer. If they have enough milk for their lambs, then they certainly have enough for you. A katahdin ewe, milked once a day, can produce between a pint and a quart of milk per day. With this breed, milk production depends on the ewe, some are just milkier than others. There is a variation in production as milk production hasn't been bred for specifically in this breed. However, a small-scale farmer starting with a small herd of katahdin sheep, can select only the milkier ewes when breeding for next year's lambs and after a few generations, one can produce a herd that produces more milk, more consistently.

Katahdins also make an excellent dairy breed for the hobby farmer because they are a hair sheep. This means they do not produce wool like many of their sheep counterparts. Instead, they are covered in hair which becomes very thick during the winter months and falls out quite cleanly for the spring. When this breed sheds, it looks as if it has been shorn. This makes them very low maintenance and this is part of the reason they were developed. Their growing popularity as a meat breed has a lot to do with the declining wool prices. It is no longer as lucrative for farmers to pay to have their sheep sheared regularly because the demand for wool has been slowly decreasing and therefore so have the prices. If this is true for larger-scale formers, then it is certainly true for the hobby farmers. Unless you would like to learn to shear your own sheep or you can find a shearer to shear just a few sheep for a reasonable price, then it is best just to go with hair sheep.

Another added bonus of raising Katahdin sheep for milk, is raising them for their true purpose which is meat. Sometimes those raising sheep for meat won't even consider milking them, the same goes for those raising sheep for milk, some won't consider them for meat, but this breed can easily be dual-purpose. As stated above,they are prolific and will regularly produce twins or triplets at lambing. Single lambs are actual quite uncommon for this breed. These lambs grow quickly due to all that rich milk the ewes produce for them. They continue to grow quickly when weaned to grass and grain. A katahdin lamb can easily reach 100lbs or more at 9 to 10 months of age. There is no affect on the growth rate of the lamb if the mother is milked once a day. In this scenario, the lambs are locked up away from their mothers at night. The ewes are milked in the morning and lambs are let out to spend the day with their mom. If one is looking to meet a certain weight by a certain time, the lambs can be creep fed like any other lamb.

Care for Katahdin sheep is similar to any other sheep breed. They require good forage but it doesn't have to be incredibly high quality, this breed isn't generally that picky. They need access to a good quality hay such as an orchard grass mix. They can be fed grain when dry but they require it when lactating. It is important to feed them well while they are lactating. Their daily milk production is directly related to their diet. it becomes evident whether or not they ate well the night before, come morning milking time. They can be given sweet feed, crushed alfalfa cubes and/pellets and beet pulp to increase their milk production. They also require free-choice minerals or minerals mixed their feed just like all other livestock but it cannot have copper in it,m as this is toxic to all sheep breeds.

A few Katahdin sheep, could provide you with rich milk, delicious cheese, sweet yogurt and fragrant soaps, so why not try adding a few to your homestead?

For more information about raising sheep for milk please visit

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Sheep Cheese: Ancient Heritage Dairy

For more Stories, Food News, and Cooking Fresh videos, visit: Sheep cheese tastes distinctive, characteristically strong, and very different from cow or goat cheese. On this family sheep farm, the making of cheese reflects a slower pace of life along with a direct connection to the land. Consuming this cheese requires a careful eating pace. To see more stories, get recipes, and links to additional resources, go to Video Rating: 4 / 5

how to milk a sheep. Video Rating: 4 / 5

Sheep Farming - Choose The Type of Sheep Breeds That Will Be Most Suitable For You

Sheep Farming - Choose The Type of Sheep Breeds That Will Be Most Suitable For You

Sheep farming is an activity that must come into careful thinking if you plan to engage in it. Ask yourself the questions necessary to get you started. Why raise sheep? Sheep are gregarious animals, they like to flock in a common group and can range from 50 lbs to 500 lbs. Also, you need to be sure of the reasons why you would subject yourself to sheep farming from day one in order to be firm on what you decide to do with this venture. A simple review of the different breeds used for sheep farming will save you time in the long run. They are as follows:

1) East freisian, and Lacaune - this are traditional sheep breeds that are used in the United States for milk production

2) Awassi - a sheep breed common in SouthWest Asia like Iraq and Syrian Arab Republic is about 92 lbs on the average and is a fat-tailed breed.

3) Assaf - this is a synthetic breed originating from Israel in the 1950's with an average of 611 litres of milk production in a standard lactation of about seven months.

4) British Milk Sheep - the name itself would suggest that it is a high producer of milk. Originally introduced by by Lawrence Alderson in Wiltshire and Northumberland and is now popular in United Kingdom as well as Canada. It is also known for producing more twins and triplets than other breeds.

5) Dorset Horn/Poll Dorset - known for high fat content in milk production as well as an alternative for out of season milk production.

6) Friesland - "Holstein of sheep breeds" They are a pure dairy sheep breed in the United kingdom. It has a long bald tail and naturally polled. Its ewe can weigh anywhere from 50 to 55 kilos and the rams about 75 kilos. Its fleece is also of high quality and has a Bradford Count of 48 to 52.

As can be gleaned from this short list, you can choose among which type of sheep breeds will be most suitable for you in sheep farming. Be aware that after choosing the right kind of breed you must also consider the nutritional requirements of sheep. Sheep that are for wool or milk production require a stiffer nutritional needs than sheep for mutton. Grass is staple food of sheep but sometimes you have to provide as supplements, the grains that are suited for them to provide their mineral and salts requirements. A good and constant supply of clean water should also be accessible for your herd.

Are you looking for more tips on sheep farming? Separate yourself from the usual sheep owners who are prone to common mistakes. If you would like to learn more tips on caring for sheep and how to raise sheep correctly, please visit:

Don't forget to claim your FREE "12 Tip About Raising Sheep - What You Need To Know Before You Start" eReport!

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A weekend visit to Rinconada Dairy in Santa Margarita, CA during lambing season. Video Rating: 5 / 5

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Excite Your Taste Buds With These Savory Blue Cheeses

Excite Your Taste Buds With These Savory Blue Cheeses

The beginning of September marks a change in everything from the weather to our tastes. As the fall season sets in, we leave behind the light tastes of the summer grilling and seek something a little more savory and fulfilling. A great way to satisfy this desire for richer flavors is to include some creamy, robust cheeses in your snacks and meals. Blue cheeses are packed with plenty of flavor and can be used in several flavor arenas. To really excite your palate this season, try one of the terrific blue cheese variations to your entrees, salads, or snacks.

Roquefort: Roquefort blue cheese one said to be the oldest cheese of this variety. It originated in the town of Roquefort with in the area of Aveyron. In order to be considered Roquefort cheese, it must be made in France, be cultured with penicillium roqueforti, and be aged in Combalou Caves. It is also necessary that this cheese be made of sheep or ewe's milk and for it to truly be considered Roquefort it must be made with milk from the red Lacaune Ewe. Roquefort cheese has a rather complex taste and is often described as being very strong in both flavor and aroma. Serving Suggestions: When serving Roquefort cheese, it is best to serve at room temperature with earth foods like figs or nuts. When pairing this cheese with wines, it is best to choose something like an ice-wine or a sweet wine.

Gorgonzola: Gorgonzola blue cheese is named after a city near Milan where it was initially produced. It is traditionally made from raw or unpasteurized Italian cow's milk, however pasteurized cow milk or sheep milk can also be used. This cheese has the traditional blue and green mold of a blue cheese; however, it is generally on the greener side. The taste of Gorgonzola is based on how long is aged for. Younger gorgonzola will generally have a sweeter creamier taste where as matured gorgonzola will have a sharper taste and firmer crumbly consistency. Serving Suggestions: When serving Gorgonzola cheese it is best to serve it at room temperature. Gorgonzola is used to sprinkle on top of salads, serve with fruits and nuts, as well as in sauces for pasta, chicken, or steaks. When pairing gorgonzola with a wine, choose a red wine that is full bodied.

Stilton: Stilton blue cheese originated in England and is named for a small town between London and Northern England. Much like Roquefort, Stilton Blue cheese has to meet several standards to earn its name. Stilton must be made in one of three counties: Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, and Leicestershire. It also must be made using local milk; be sold in a cylindrical form with the blue veins running from the center, and be allowed to form its own crust which is edible and takes on a salty taste. Serving Suggestions: When serving Stilton cheese it is best to serve it at room temperature accompanied by fresh veggies. It's also great melted in creamy soups or served in sauces. Stilton cheese is complimented best by full bodied port wines.

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Dairy Farming Guide By Momekh

Dairy Farming Guide By Momekh How To Start A Successful Dairy In Pakistan, A Strategic Guide By Momekh. Dairy Farming Guide By Momekh

Guide To Profitable Livestock "guide To Profitable Livestock" Is A Complete Livestock Farming Ebook Which Guides You On How To Raise Various Types Of Livestock And Sells For . Promote This High Converting Product As An Affiliate And Get 75% Commissions From Every Sale You Make. Guide To Profitable Livestock

Milk Matters: Great Milk Makes Great Cheese

Milk Matters: Great Milk Makes Great Cheese

At its heart, cheese is about milk. Without milk, there would be no cheese. Sounds simplistic, but it's anything but. Milk is an endlessly fascinating and complex liquid and to understand it is to understand the essence of cheese.

Through my experience with the cheesemaking community, I have had an incredible opportunity to observe one of the most ancient rhythms of humanity - the birth of an animal, the abundance of milk that ensues and the symbiotic relationship that has existed between humans and their livestock for countless millennia.

In cheese, I see the ultimate product of that relationship: preserving and concentrating vital nutrients in times of plenty in a tasty, long lasting and portable food.

Archaeological evidence suggests sheep were the first milk-producing animals domesticated by about 8000 BC with goats and cows following. Early cheesemaking is shrouded in pre-recorded history, but there is evidence of cheesemaking tools as far back as 7000 years ago.

Shepherding was one of the earliest service professions, as communities pooled their animals, sending them to graze in the hills, preserving close-in land for agriculture. In many cases, shepherds were also the cheesemakers as well, making and aging cheese and tending animals in remote pastures and returning to villages in the fall with cheeses to sustain through the winter months.

Over the centuries, the production of this essential food was elevated to an art form, with regional specialties emerging as animal breeds established themselves and flourished in certain areas based on geography and climate - a true expression of terroir, a French term that connotes specificity of place.

Milk Types

The three most common milk sources for cheese are cow, goat and sheep, though water buffalo, yak, reindeer and other unusual milks also may be used. The flavor profile, fat and protein content of each milk varies, as does the preferred environment of each breed.

Milk is an average of 87 percent water, which separates from the suspended solids - proteins and fat - during cheese production. Excess liquid is drained off as whey. On average, it takes 10 pounds of cow's milk to make one pound of cheese. Richer, more concentrated sheep's milk requires six pounds of milk to produce one pound of cheese.


Cows prefer cooler, northern climates and flourish in temperate, high-moisture environments. They are the largest stature of the three primary dairy animals and produce the most milk volume per animal. The ubiquitous black and white cow, the Dutch Holstein, was bred to be a champion milker, producing up to six gallons of milk a day. For cheesemaking, breeds like the Jersey, Ayrshire and Brown Swiss are stars, producing a lower volume of milk with higher fat and protein, perfect for making cheese. Cow's milk cheeses often reflect a buttery, sweet flavor profile.


Goats can tolerate hotter, more arid environments and are notoriously finicky about rain - they do not like it! Goats browse, meaning they enjoy a variety of shrubs, woody plants, weeds and vines. Prized cheesemaking breeds vary in size and milk production - from the large Alpine, Nubian, and La Mancha to the small Nigerian Dwarf. Fresh goat milk smells creamy and sweet and the cheese has a lemony aroma and tangy flavor when fresh and a spiciness that develops with age.


Sheep are extremely hardy and are well established throughout the arid plains of Spain, southern Italy, Greece and the rest of the Mediterranean. They also thrive in the cool, moist regions of northern Europe, though the most famous sheep milk cheeses come from the warmer climates.

Sheep dairying was one of the first organized industries in the world, producing wool, milk cheese and meat. Today, it is the least common cheesemaking milk in the US. Thankfully cheeses made with sheep milk both imported and homegrown, are booming in popularity because of their nutty, savory flavor and rich texture. The most common American dairy sheep are the East Friesian and Lacaune.

Try It!

To get a sense for the flavor profile of each milk type, head on over to your local cheesemonger or the cheese case at any upscale grocery and look for one cheese from each category below:

Goat - Fresh chèvre (look for a locally produced variety, if possible) or a ripened (rinded) cheese like Bucheron or Humboldt Fog. Serve these bright, tangy and delectable cheeses with a crisp, acidic white wine like Sauvignon or Pinot Blanc.

Sheep - Ossau Iraty or Manchego, two excellent sheep cheeses from France and Spain respectively. If you're lucky enough to have a local sheep creamery, do give their cheeses a try! Rich and savory, sheep milk cheeses pair perfectly with fruity, smooth reds like Zinfandel or Syrah.

Cow - Fontina or Gruyere are two traditional cow's milk cheeses that reflect the traditional buttery, sweet notes characteristic of cow's milk. Beverage pairing options are quite versatile - enjoy with lower-tanning reds or even bold, spicy white wines.

As you are tasting, note particular aromas, flavors and texture characteristics. Which are your favorite flavor profiles? Which cheeses do you like most? Knowing your favorites will help you determine what other types of cheeses you'll likely enjoy. Happy Savoring!

Christine has over 10 years experience promoting and celebrating Artisan and Specialty cheese from North America and around the world. She shares her passion and expertise via food writing, photography, video, recipes, in-person guided tastings and via her blog: Christine serves as the current President of the American Cheese Society ( ), North America's premiere organization supporting and promoting Artisan, Farmstead and Specialty Cheese.

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Raising Sheep - A Profitable Grass Based Model

Raising Sheep - A Profitable Grass Based Model

When it comes to raising sheep many people have the notion of sheep being livestock animals which require significant care and work. We imagine them in softly lit barns with multiple plump little lambs at their side. All content.

Yet raising sheep does not need to be nearly as much work as people make it out to be. Sheep are versatile creatures and they can do very well without all the assistance afforded them in high labor, barn raised operations. So if you have often thought about sheep but are not enticed by the notion of living in your barn during lambing time there is an option for you.

The rancher with an eye on grass can do well with the right type of sheep. With the right type of sheep it is possible to run sheep on pasture year round therefore cutting overhead expenses, time and labor costs. Controlling these costs gives a rancher the ability to control his own profit.

But before you take the leap and buy sheep or switch your existing flock to a pasture system consider these tips. Not all breeds of sheep are created equal. The prolific breeds of sheep are less likely to thrive in a grass based set up. The dairy sheep will need more attention, and some of the hair breeds may not fair as well on a year round basis in colder and harsher climates

Have an idea of what a production year will feel like on your ranch. Are you really aiming for a grass based flock? Will your flock be out 365 days a year, will you be lambing on pasture, how will you manage through your winter season?

Consider what traits in the various sheep breeds are most important in order to work in your production year. Is lambing on pasture what you are after or prolific ewes who can produce multiple lambs? Rank all your traits in order of importance if you need to. Also consider what each trait will cost or save you.

Consider the climate in your area and what your ranch has to offer. What are the disadvantages? Having an idea of what will work in your favour and what may work against will save you some headaches and surprise expenses.

Next ranchers who are interested in raising sheep on grass will want to keep a few selection criteria in mind:

The right type of sheep is one who is of medium size, efficient on feed, lambs without assistance, does not produce litters of lambs (non-efficient), raises vigorous lambs and keeps good body condition on grass without the need for grains and other supplemental feeds.

Typically medium sized ewes will be efficient on grass and feed resources. Larger ewes (above 180 pounds) often require more food to maintain good condition yet they do not raise any more pounds of lamb. Ewes need to be hardy. Sheep are relatively easy to maintain during the grass season however the main concept of a grass based flock is feeding the ewes out on pasture during the winter season as well.

Ewes should be good milkers (not heavy milkers) with tidy udders who can raise lambs without needing extra feed stuffs. Focus on heavy milkers is not ideal in a grass flock as heavy milkers are not efficient animals. Good milkers will raise a hefty lamb without trouble.

Ewes being raised on pasture need to lamb without assistance and have excellent mothering skills. More often than not members of the flock will lamb when you are not there so it is best if they can manage on their own. The ewes mothering skills will assist with lambs getting to their feet after birth.

You may also want to pay attention to the members of the flock that are capable of finding shelter from storms. This is a learned survival behavior that needs to be passed onto lambs. And select for strong flocking instinct. Safety in numbers is one way sheep are able to protect themselves from predators. But if they do not flock together this criteria is lost.

When raising sheep for a living the selection of rams should receive equal consideration. Having a ram from a grass based background is important. The rams should have been allowed time to reach maturity on grass, not pushed on grain.

Being allowed to reach sexual maturity at a natural rate is highly important to the hormonal development of the animal. If the rams can grow up and flesh out on grass you know they will be okay for your grass flock.

The rams should not be so large the prove to be inefficient feeders or throw lambs too big for easy birthing by the ewe.

From here the grass based rancher will be able to develop a flock of animals that are prime candidates for thriving in a natural grass based system and move onto the goal of developing those grass genetics.

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