Sheep farming in Uganda is not at all popular and you will rarely find farmers rearing the sheep for either meat or other products obtained from sheep and this is mainly because the local market is not so keen on eating mutton. The most common breeds of sheep that are reared in Uganda include the Dorset Horn Breed cross and the Ankole fat tailed sheep. Sheep is mainly reared in the districts of Apac, Kayunga, Rakai and Mukono although you will find other places where they are reared on a small basis. There are about one million sheep in the whole country making it one of the least domesticated animals in Uganda.
A female sheep is known as an ewe, the young sheep are known as lambs whereas the male sheep is known as a ram. A sheep’s pregnancy takes about 5 months and it gives birth to 1 to 3 lambs per pregnancy and this happens once a year. Sheep are considered to be old when they are 8 years and these should not be kept on the farm since they will not be good for mutton production. Sheep can be bought from shs 150, 000 to 250, 000 depending on the breed you are getting.
Types Of Sheep Breeds In Uganda
There are several sheep breeds and these are categorized into four that are the dual, wool, diary and mutton categories. When purchasing the sheep breeds, you need to first know what the main purpose is for rearing them, that is, do you want sheep for mutton production, wool production or both wool and mutton production. These will help you in getting the best breed for your farm and it is also advisable that you get the sheep breeds from a reliable person and make sure that they are free from pests and diseases, have a good posture and the breed is in high demand on the market.
Feeding sheep is not as hard as they can feed on grass and other feeds provided to them. The feeds can be bought in the different animal store feeds in the country or picked from the neighbourhood but you need to make sure that they are at least rich in proteins, minerals, carbohydrates and vitamins. The quantities of each of the nutrients should be given in measured and equal quantities to guarantee good yields at the end of the day.
Sheep does not require a lot of space when it comes to housing because all you need is a house that is used to keep them away from predators at night and thieves. You can use the available materials near you to construct the sheep house and some of the few things that you need to note about the house include:
Proper ventilation to allow in fresh air
You should separate the ewes, lambs and rams
The housing unit should also have feeding troughs and enough water supply
The housing should be lifted off the ground during construction because sheep rarely like sleeping in damp places and to also prevent flooding in the house.
The housing unit should be able to keep the sheep safe from all kinds of predators.
Proper management needs to be done on the farm like taking note of the number of ewes, lambs and rams so that you know which ones are ready for sale. You need to have proper training in taking care of the sheep. The most commonly used system of rearing sheep is the free range system where the animals are left to fend for themselves throughout the day by being let off in the fields and only come back to the housing unit at night. The free range system is the cheapest and easiest way of caring for the sheep.
Sheep are also attacked by pests and diseases and some of the common pests include worms, mites, coccidia and ticks. The common sheep diseases include Brucellosis, PPR, sheep pox, goat pox and Tetanus, fleece rot among others. The best way to avoid the above is by immunizing them at different intervals, isolating the infected sheep from the healthy ones and spraying them to remove the ticks.
The advantages of rearing sheep include the following:
Sheep are resistant to diseases and harsh conditions.
Sheep reproduces at a faster rate as compared to cows and goats
Sheep can on feed anything provided to it thereby reducing on the feeding capital
There is a slight increase in the market for mutton especially in the large hotels and restaurants.
Sheep can be reared with other animals on the farm.
Disadvantages of rearing sheep include the following:
There is low demand for mutton, especially on the local market.
There are many challenges that are faced with rearing sheep and some of them include a not so ready market in the country, many locals are not aware about mutton being on the market and there are also religious and cultural beliefs that are connected with sheep and that is why it is not a common trend.