Getting Started With Milk Sheep on the Homestead, Part 1: Housing and Supplies


Milking stanchion 

Milk sheep are a unique and fun option for dairy livestock on the small homestead. We have had dairy cows, goats, and sheep here at Willow Creek Farm and each one has a unique set of pros and cons about keeping and milking them.

We enjoy the dairy sheep for several reasons. First, they are able to be a triple-purpose animal (milk, wool, and meat), which on a small farm means more efficient use of space. Secondly, they consume a lot less food than dairy cows and are a smaller, more manageable size. This, of course, means they produce less milk as well, but the amounts are adequate for family use. Third, they are only in milk for 6 months of the year. This could be seen to some people as a negative aspect, but for our family it is a benefit because we don’t have to milk through the long, cold winters. And sheep milk, unlike cow or goat milk, can be frozen and then once thawed can still be used to make cheeses and other dairy products. So, even though they only are being milked for 6 months, we are able to freeze milk to be used year-round for all our dairy needs.

With our busy little farm, this is also a benefit when I don’t have time to get around to cheese making. The final reason we like keeping dairy sheep is the milk. We enjoy the taste and it has a very high nutritional content. It is also the creamiest of the milks and creates more cheese per gallon of milk.

To help you get started with milk sheep on your homestead, we are going to share the basics through a three-part series. You'll be able to find them all on my full blog post list page.

  • Part 1: Housing and Supplies
  • Part 2: Basic Care
  • Part 3: Lambing, Milking, and Dairy Products

If you decide that milk sheep would be a good option for your homestead, you are going to want to prepare your housing and supplies before you acquire your sheep.

6/11/2020 4:44:40 PM

I love how detailed and informative your posts are :-)

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