Humans first domesticated animals 10 thousand years ago. It led to the transition from humankind’s status as a hunter-gatherer community to a farming community. Sheep are reared and bred to provide wool and lean meat. The rearing of sheep practiced throughout the ages has led to the construction of a sheep shelter to serve as a sheep house. In this article, you will learn all about these sheep shelters, their purpose, practicality, and feasibility.
1. What are Sheeps?
Sheep are a domestic species of animals also known as Ovis Aries. They are a close relative of the goat species in terms of meat quality. Sheep are similar to cows as they too chew the cud just like ruminants. Sheep serve three main purposes in human lives:
- Sheep provide humans with wool from their fleece. A domestic sheep’s life is cyclical. First, they grow a fleece, and then that fleece is sheared. The wool you thus obtain from sheep is used in sweaters, blankets, and shawls to help you keep yourself warm in cold climates.
- Sheep provide us with meat. Lamb meat is amongst the most sought-after in the world. Sheep are the source of it. Specific types of sheep are bred to provide humans with food. The type of meat that sheep produce is lean meat.
- Sheep provide us with milk. While not on the same scale as cow or buffalo milk, sheep milk also has consumers. For this purpose, specific types of sheep are bred to milk. (See List of Names for Groups of Animals)
2. What are Sheep Kept in?
Sheep are kept in various places depending on the climate and the purpose they served. Traditionally, on farms, a barn serves as a sheep shelter. In barns, sheep co-exist with other animals. Barns are shelters for farm animals to house them during unfavorable weather. See Where do Red Pandas live in USA?)
3. What is a Sheep Shelter Called?
There is more than one structure that people use to house sheep. It could be a barn if it is in an open area or a farm where there are other animals. The sheep are kept here until it is time for them to graze.
However, structures that are specifically for sheep are cold folds or pens. These are structures developed only for the use of sheep to ensure that they have shelter. It serves as a border to keep all the sheep in the same area and provides the sheep with protection from natural and artificial factors. Also, check out What is the Largest Cattle Ranch in The United States?
4. Should Sheep have shelter?
This is a question without a simple yes or no answer. Sheep are naturally found in the wild and are capable of surviving without shelter. However, in pursuing better production value, we have developed various breeds that live differently. When a sheep is in the wild, most of its energy ensures its survival. Therefore, such sheep develop the necessary survival traits to help them with their daily lives.
Due to rapid climate change, however, sheep are now at the risk of dying due to climatic extremities or irregular weather conditions. In non-urban areas, predators also threaten the sheep. They should be in shelters as it ensures their high production value. In shelters, sheep do not require the development of survival traits. Therefore, they develop more profitable, desirable traits. Shelters protect them from predators and harsh weather conditions. They ensure that sheep do not die unnecessarily. (See Where do Cows Live?)
5. How much Space does a Sheep need?
Sheep come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and weights. Typically, sheep measures about 4 to 6 feet across and 2 to 4 feet wide. As such, the requirements for the dimensions of their pen vary with the sheep’s role. For example, rams (male sheep) require anywhere between 8 and 30 square feet of space depending on the environment, whereas ewes (female sheep) require anywhere between 8 and 20 square feet. However, ewes with lambs require anywhere between 12 and 25 square feet of space. (See What is the Life Cycle of a Newt?)
6. How do you Build a Sheep Shelter?
While building anything would seem like a job for professionals, building a shelter for sheep does not have to be. You can build a sheep shelter with some wood and basic tools, such as a saw, drilling machine, and nails. Let us go with a small wood portable sheep shelter, to begin with:
- Start with four wooden pillars, two equally long and two equally short. The long pillars will go into the front of the sheep house, whereas the short pillars will make up the back. Make a frame for the three lateral sides and place it where you want.
- Then, make a frame with some support beams to make the roof of the sheep shelter. This roof will have an incline.
- Take pieces of plywood and nail them to cover the sides of the frame, closing it completely.
- Then for the roof, go for light material and cover it all up. Secure the material in place with the help of some nails. And there you have it, a makeshift sheep shelter. (See 20 Largest Zoo in the World)
7. What’s a Mobile Sheep Shelter?
Apart from farmlands and sheep farms, you can find sheep roaming across regions in flocks. These sheep have shepherds who usually make up the pastoralist community. Such pastoralists migrate across regions in search of pastures. On their journey, while most pastoralists choose to let their sheep live in the wild, some decide to arrange proper shelter.
A mobile sheep shelter is a solution to this problem. Mobile sheep shelters are portable sheep shelters that shepherds use to house their sheep in harsh or irregular weather to protect their sheep. These are often in the form of trailers attached to the back of a truck. Alternatively, they can also be a bunch of detachable parts that you can put together at your convenience. (See How to Pronounce Chihuahua?)
8. Do Katahdin Sheep need shelter?
For starters, Katahdin sheep are a breed of sheep originating from the North American continent. Their origins can be traced back to the state of Maine, the USA, where an inventor and geneticist developed this breed. This breed of sheep lacks a fleece. Therefore, its primary purpose is to serve as a source of meat or a tool in land management modules.
- The Katahdin sheep are adaptable, and their ewes are frequent litters. (See What are the Best Monkeys for Pets?)
- They are a low-maintenance breed and have a lean meat output with meaty carcasses.
- Due to the characteristics of Katahdin sheep, sheep shelter may not seem necessary.
- However, sheep shelters are important to minimize production losses. Must read what is a group of monkeys called?
9. Do St Croix Sheep Need Shelter?
St Croix sheep also have origins in North America. Like Katahdin sheep, St Croix sheep were also artificially developed. St Croix sheep came about as a result of West African and European sheep. In fact, Katahdin sheep also trace their ancestry back to St Croix sheep.
- St Croix sheep have a high parasite resistance due to their adaptation to tropical climates. Also, check out why do Bunnies hop?
- The manure of St Croix sheep is also beneficial to sugarcane crops. For these reasons, St Croix sheep’s primary use is in land management practices for mowing parasite-infested plants and producing manure.
- Additionally, St Croix ewes lamb about twice a year, starting at the age of six months. This makes the St Croix desirable for low input meat production.
- As in the case of Katahdin sheep, sheep shelter for St Croix is crucial for their health. When a sheep is in the wild, a large chunk of their energy goes into survival. (Also read Why do Hermit Crabs need Shells?)
10. What are Two Sheep Called?
The word sheep is unique. In English, there exists the concept of an irregular noun. These nouns are rarities in English, where the singular form of a noun is identical to the plural form. So while you have goat (singular) and goats (plural), sheep are used for both the singular and plural forms. So two sheep, like one sheep, are called two sheep or sheep. However, a group of sheep is called a flock of sheep. (See What is a One Hump Camel called?)