Cost To Keep a Sheep for One Year
In City Limits

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Cost To Keep a Sheep*
for One Year In City Limits

Hay ($170/Ton, 5 Months) $97.17
Hay ($170/Ton, 7 Months), Supplement Pasture $97.17
Grain, Whole Yellow Corn ($0.128/lb) $56.97
Lamb Feed $0.00
Bedding $6.24
Manure Disposal ($10/hr) $100.00
Building Maintenance $6.00
Electrical, Water Heaters $21.43
Electrical, Well Water $34.29
Irrigation Tax $3.43
CD-T: Adult Booster $1.04
CD-T: Lamb Vaccination $4.00
Salt + Minerals $2.25
Pasture Maintenance $8.00
Pressurized Irrigation $8.00
Worming (Adult Sheep) $4.16
Worming (2 Lambs) $5.50
Other Vet Costs $0.00
Shearing $5.00
Security (Dog Protection) $10.00
Ram Replacement $7.00
Marketing and Hauling $8.00
Supplies $6.00
Interest on Operating Money $14.00
City/County Property Taxes (1 acre*) $114.30
Rural Property Taxes = $0.093 (1 acre*)
Owner Labor Cost ($10/hr X 35 Hrs) $350.00
Total Operating Cost Per Ewe $969.95
Divide by 2 Lambs per Ewe /2
Minimum Price Per Lamb $484.98
Average Live Market Lamb Price $125.00
Profit/Loss Per Lamb ($359.98)
Average Usable Lamb Meat per Lamb 33 Lbs
Price Per Lb to Break Even $14.70
Butchering and Wrapping per Lb $3.43
Price Per Lb with a 30% Profit Margin $23.57
*Based on seven ewes per acre.

Most of the items are costs which result from or are strongly linked to hay-feeding. There is no profit from the wool. The wool has to be tossed in the trash because wool has such a low market value. As a city farmer, there is no way to produce a profit unless the city would lower property taxes. City and/or County Property taxes are some of the largest costs in producing lambs.

Grass is the cheapest method for raising lambs. However, we can not compete against local rural lambs or imported lambs which roam on large open pastures that do not have high property taxes (rural property taxes are usually less than $1.00 per acre). These lambs also do not require barns, lambing pens or manure-handling.

The only advantages small city growers have are local market sales (direct sales) and control over lamb flavor.

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A respected authority on sheep raising for over three decades, author Paula Simmons has written many books and magazines articles on spinning wool. Paula is also a lecturer and conducts workshops in the United States and Canada on raising sheep and spinning wool for a living. Together with her husband, Ross, Paula has been raising and sheering sheep, and spinning and weaving wool for over 20 years on their farm in Washington.
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Acidosis Bloat Bluetongue Care
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Boise, ID 83704-5835

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