Things You Should Know About Sheep Rearing Business

Sheep rearing business
Sheep rearing business

The sheep rearing business is an old agricultural practice that has been lucrative since time immemorial. The money-making potential of sheep production is enormous and there is room for everyone to partake in.

Normally, people will always demand meat, hence the viability of engaging in the sheep rearing business. It is an Islamic tenet to slaughter ram for Sallah meal. This further makes it a marketable commodity.

Moreover, sheep do not take a long time to reach marketable size as they grow into maturation and reproduce within a year. Also, they have more resistant to diseases than other livestock.

Sheep rearing business
A big ram

Common breeds of sheep in Nigeria

In Nigeria, there are four different breeds of sheep and each breed is local to a particular location. However, you may find these breeds intermingling and thriving despite environmental variations, especially here in the North. For example, a breed originating from Maiduguri may be found in Adamawa thriving.

However, extreme or sharp environmental may make intermingling difficult. For example, a ram thriving in the grasslands of Sokoto may find it difficult to survive in the rainforest of Cross River.

Here are the four different breeds in Nigeria:

West African Dwarf

The West African Dwarf are short and stumpy. Of all the other breeds, the West African Dwarf has the lowest growth rate. They are found within the middle-belt region of the country.


This sheep breed is found in arid regions such as Maiduguri. The Balami breed is usually tall, huge, white-coloured, and has large droopy ears.


This breed usually comes with two colour combinations. They may come as a combination of black and white or a combination of brown and white. The Uda breed is long-legged, large, and could grow to an enormous size.


Yankasa is like a cross-breed of Balami and Uda. Although they are not as big as them. They are familiar as they are the commonest of all the breeds. The Yankasa breed usually has black patches on its legs, around the muzzle or eyes.


Sheep rearing business
A mature ram

The aforementioned breeds of sheep grow and reach maturation in 5-6 months. Usually, they are kept for another 6 months to gain more body mass. In the sheep rearing business, the body mass increment will make the sheep attract higher prices thereby making better profits for the sheep owner.

A ewe, that is a grown female sheep, has a gestation period of 145-147 days. Gestation period is a biological term for the time between a ewe getting pregnant and giving birth. Ewes have a heat period every 17 days. A ram is kept with ewes at a ratio of 1:39. This is to prevent conflict between rams for dominance and partner. Also, placing a single ram with many ewes is to induce mating.

Inducing mating is a particularly important aspect of the sheep rearing business.


Another important aspect of the sheep rearing business is feeding. Feeding is important as it determines the health and growth of your sheep. Poor feeding will render the sheep lean and stump whereas adequate feeding will boost their growth causing them to reach a highly marketable rate in less than one year.

A ram or ewe consumes about 1.5kg of food daily. They feed mainly on fresh grass, hay, leguminous leaves, chaff, and grains. They should have a decent level of protein in their diet. This is to enable them to grow fast and gain body mass.

Steadily supply them with adequate clean water to drink. Their water must be clean and replenished after exhaustion.

Housing and Spacing

Sheep rearing business
A ewe

In the sheep rearing business, the typical housing structure of sheep is a rectangular pen with an open side to allow for ventilation. The pen should be at least 2-3 metres high with an overhang of about one metre from the roof of the pen.

A ram or ewe requires a space of 1.1 square metres inside the pen and 2 square metres outside the pen. Although, a nursing ewe will need more space.

The open side of the pen should be wire to hold the sheep in so they won’t wander off.

The sheep can be released to graze on a plot in the morning. The plot should be fenced with bricks or wire mesh to keep the sheep enclosed so they won’t stray off.

Housing and spacing are important, especially spacing. A poorly spaced pen encourages the quick spread of diseases. Disease control and prevention are important in the sheep rearing business because a single disease outbreak can result in a big loss to consider spacing seriously.


Sheep rearing business
A sheep market

In the sheep rearing business, most sheep are gotten from remote villages in northern states. You can go to buy them yourselves or employ the services of middlemen who tend to have more experience. Moreover, these middlemen will save you from the stress of traveling long distances to remote northern villages.

You can meet a reputable middleman, give him your budget, possibly an advance, and wait for your sheep to be delivered to you.

Usually, the expected profit margin in the sheep rearing business is about 50%-60%. A medium-sized ram goes for N20,000-N25,000 while a medium-sized ewe goes for N5,000-N20,000. In suburban towns like Bauchi, Yola, and Bayelsa, a fully grown ram can be sold for N40,000-N80,000. However, in big cities like Abuja and Lagos, a ram can be sold for a way higher price especially during the Islamic Eid-ul-Kabir festival.

Now, considering the prices and circumstances mentioned, the sheep rearing business can fetch you hundreds of thousands of naira in profit within one year.


Remember I mentioned that the sheep rearing business is highly profitable. Well, like every other business, it requires time, money, and hard work to pay off. You have to have time to care for your sheep and spend money on housing, feeding, and medication. Improper rearing will be evident in the looks of your sheep which will, in turn, render them less marketable.

Therefore, if you are interested in venturing into the sheep rearing business, make sure you adhere to the things mentioned in this article, go on to do more research, equip yourself with adequate information before you start.

Check out the basics of the cattle rearing business in Nigeria.

Sheep rearing business
Sheep rearing business

I hope this article serves as a headstart to beginning your sheep rearing business. Wish you success and kindly drop your comments in the comment box.

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