Steve has added a sheep handling facility to his existing corral system to improve the care of animals and ultimately increase production. The handling system includes a semi-circular crowding area, chute panels, a turntable to restrain individual animals, a sorting gate and entrance and flow gates. Narrow paths confine the animals to prevent excessive movement, and the fold down panel design allows for easier animal access for treatment.
Because the facility reduces animal and handler stress, allowing for easier and more frequent health checkups, it improves overall flock health, lowering mortality rates. Steve expects to triple the production of his breeding ewes.
The improved equipment also allows for school groups, 4-H clubs and individuals interested in raising sheep to participate in worm checks, vaccinations and hoof trimming clinics. “Visits can be less static and more involved if handling animals is not done with the current free-for-all method,” Steve said.
Lambs are sold as breeding stock and meat. Steve markets through an online trade website, word of mouth and local farm stores.
Steve has produced sheep since 2003 and previously raised cattle since 1993.