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Leasing Sheep?


JaderBug
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I am considering 'borrowing' some sheep to put in the three-acre pasture at the acreage we're renting and am wondering how this is done... does anyone have any experience 'renting' sheep? I would like to find some sheep that are used to being worked.

 

Who pays who? I would assume that I would pay the owners because I'm the one that wants them, but other people have said that since the sheep are coming onto our pasture, eating our grass and drinking our water that the sheep owners would be 'renting' our pasture to feed the sheep out. I can see both sides but since I'm the one wanting them...

 

I would love to just buy some sheep but I don't think I can afford to buy sheep with lamb prices where they're at right now, as well as I don't think I can keep them over the winter here (well freezes in the winter) so I was hoping to lease for a couple of months until it gets cold, then maybe buy my own next spring.

 

Thoughts?

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I used to borrow 10 Ewes from a handler/sheep farmer each year for 3 or 4 years.He was glad to have them at another pasture.Of course I was responsible for their well being.The only down side was that I couldn't get them until after the lambs were weaned which was in July,so I missed early season training time.

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Well if you are lucky you might find someone who is prepared to make a "I scratch your back, you scratch mine" deal. In other words no money changes hands, (s)he gets pasture for his sheep, you get your loan sheep.

Kinda depends where supply and demand lies in your particular area, how "wanted" is free pasture?

The only rentasheep situation I am familiar with is with farmers taking a break from the farm for whatever reason, and renting/loaning out their flock, in other to take it back after the break (seen such a deal go pretty sour too...).

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You may be able to work a free lease with someone, but it's sometimes tough to find someone with surplus dog broke sheep, I was just looking for some for another handler and came up empty within the distance he was willing to travel and the price that he was willing to pay. With a free lease often times you assume all the care as if they are your own and you get use of them. Agree upon a value of each ewe ahead of time and that will be what you would owe the owner if there are any losses.

 

A good way to get going is to pick up a few cull ewes from someone that trains dogs that is cutting back, last year we let our surplus go for about $75.00 / head, there was nothing wrong with them, they just were not our best ewes and the high prices made it worth culling hard and upgrading our flock. When they left here they were exposed and actually dropped some lambs a few months back.

 

Would have been a good start for someone, those ewes went to a farm that is organic and wanted hair sheep. I can give you their contact info to see if any of those ewes would be for sale, Devon Green with Green Organics over Northwest of Marshalltown is who owns them now, he sets up a booth down at the Des Moines Farmers Market.

 

The ewes we sold him are all dog broke were used for open field demos and parades, they are light but controllable when handled right, Mary Bolton could tell you what our sheep are like. A friend of his also purchased another group of our ewes, he would know if any of those are available for sale. On another note, he has expressed a willingness to free lease livestock so you might be able to get something worked out with him on some of our old sheep.

 

Also, try Linda Meyer down the road from you, I think she still has a schooling hair flock and may have some that she would let go or lease.

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Duncan's trainer has mentioned to me that she "rents" some dog-broke sheep to someone. I think the "renter" likes to head south in the winter, so only wants them during the times of the year when she can work them with her dog(s), and found renting sheep more convenient than owning them. As it was described to me as "renting", I assumed that some money traded hands between the sheep owner and the person doing the renting. I got the impression that they weren't bred, so possibly/probably they were cull ewes? But it did sound like an interesting approach. I could try to get some details but you'd have to wait until after the Finals.

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I'm looking to buy right now and the prices are terrible! Best deal I could find was on cull lambs from show lines. They were all leg and, according to their breeder, grain eating machines, so I passed on them for now. I am also starting to consider offering my pasture in exchange for the use of the sheep. I only have 4 on there right now and there is plenty more room.

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