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The Country Enterprise Handbook
Analysing your assets|Land use|Vegetables|Soft fruit|Flower & herb growing|Orchard & vineyard|Woodlands Sheep|Beef|Pigs|Rabbits|Hens|Ducks|Geese|Dairying|Kitchen|Bees|Wool|Water|Home|Contact us

Keeping sheep
...Slaughter practicality
...Jacobs crosses
...Ram management
...- Feeding
...- Castration & strike
...Summer & autumn

Sheep are referred to in terms of age and sex.

Farmers are always willing to translate but here are a few of the more usual terms:

Birth to weaning Ewe lamb
Weaning to first shear Ewe teg
First shear to second shearGimmer
Males entire
First shear and onRam Lamb
First shear to second shearShearing tup
Then numbered by shearing, i.e. 2 shear tup
Males castrated
Weaning to first shearWether
After first shearShearing wether


Very few castrated males are kept after their first shear as they have no use other than grass mowing or being kept as pets.

For a first exercise in sheep-keeping, it is probably worth buying ewes that have already lambed at least once. This way at least one of you has had some experience!

The very first sheep we bought many years ago had just lambed. We therefore had an easy introduction, it was a mild Spring and the dear little lambs obligingly gambolled about as their dams contentedly grazed. It was almost enough to contradict the opinion of many sheep-owners that sheep are just wandering about waiting for an excuse to die. This sounds a bit odd but in fact sheep do seem to have less will to live than most other animals. Anyway, our lambs grew well and the ewes ate their way towards Autumn. We brought in rams and the cycle started again. We kept on the ewe lambs for breeding and sold the castrated ram lambs to friends with freezers.