Course Code
Payment Options
Upfront & Payment Plans
Online & Correspondence
100 Hours

Improve production and quality with this Sheep Management course.

Sheep farming (or rearing) is the raising and breeding of domestic sheep. It is a branch of animal husbandry. Sheep are raised principally for their meat (lamb and mutton), milk (sheep's milk), and fiber (wool). They also yield sheepskin and parchment.

Sheep production worldwide

A World War I-era poster sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture encouraging children to raise sheep to provide needed war supplies. According to the FAOSTAT database of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation, the top five countries by number of heads of sheep (average from 1993 to 2013) were: mainland China (146.5 million heads), Australia (101.1 million), India (62.1 million), Iran (51.7 million), and the former Sudan (46.2 million). In 2013, the five countries with the largest number of heads of sheep were mainland China (175 million), Australia (75.5 million), India (53.8 million), the former Sudan (52.5 million), and Iran (50.2 million). In 2013, the number of heads of sheep were distributed as follows: 44% in Asia, 28.2% in Africa; 11.2% in Europe, 9.1% in Oceania, 7.4% in the Americas.

The top producers of sheep meat (average from 1993 to 2013) were as follows: mainland China (1.6 million); Australia (618,000), New Zealand (519,000), the United Kingdom (335,000), and Turkey (288,857). The top five producers of sheep meat in 2013 were mainland China (2 million), Australia (660,000), New Zealand (450,000), the former Sudan (325,000), and Turkey (295,000).

Industry Trends Following years of losses, the Sheep Farming industry returned to growth for the majority of the past five years. The return of rain in 2009-10 marked the end of the persisting drought. Increased rainfall improved pasture feed, reducing the cost of keeping livestock and allowing farmers to expand production. However, industry revenue has remained volatile, moving in line with fluctuations in commodity prices, rainfall and production. Industry revenue is forecast to grow at an annualised 3.2% over the five years through 2014-15, to reach $3.2 billion.

Improve production by increasing your knowledge and skills.  This course examines:

  • Selection and breeding of sheep
  • Improving Nutrition
  • Sheep health
  • Management of the commercial flock
  • Wool
  • Lamb and much more

Lesson Structure

There are 8 lessons in this course:

  1. Introduction; Terminology and Breeds
    • Factors affecting the choice of breed
    • Product and Market
    • Rearing and Management System
    • Overview of Sheep Breeds
    • Sheep Terminology
  2. Selection and Breeding
    • Growth Rate
    • Reproductive Efficiency
    • Carcass quality
    • Wool traits
    • Culling old ewes
    • Selecting replacement ewes
    • Selecting replacement rams
    • Commercial Sheep Production
    • Choosing a lambing time
    • Autumn lambing
    • Spring lambing
    • Accelerated lambing
    • Managing ewes prior to mating
    • Using hormones to control reproduction
    • Joining methods
    • Anatomy of ewe reproductive organs
    • Anatomy of ram reproductive organs
    • Ultrasound
    • Signs of lambing
  3. Nutrition of Sheep
    • Anatomy
    • Condition scoring
    • When to condition score
    • Factors affecting feed requirements
    • Feeding rams
    • Feeding ewes
    • Feeding lambs and fatteners
    • Nutrition and wool production
  4. Diseases of Sheep
    • Viral and rickettsial diseases
    • Bacterial diseases
    • Metabolic diseases
    • Protozoal diseases
    • Poisoning
    • Vaccination
    • The medicine chest
    • Giving injections
    • Disease prevention through sound management
  5. General Management of a Commercial Flock
    • Handling and treatment facilities
    • Drenching
    • Injecting
    • Hoof Trimming
    • Shearing
    • Tail docking
    • Castration
    • Blowfly strike
  6. Care of the Lamb
    • Abnormal Presentation
    • Presentation: One front leg back
    • Presentation: Both front legs back
    • Presentation: Hind legs first
    • Presentation: Head back, both front feet forward
    • Presentation: Breech or tail first
    • Presentation: Twin lambs presented together
    • Post lambing care
    • Drenching
    • Rearing orphan lambs
    • Lambing records
    • Managing the fattening lamb
    • Feeding
    • Lamb marking
  7. Wool
    • Characteristics of wool
    • Types of wool
    • Wool classing
    • Wool processing
    • Factors influencing the estimation of yield
    • Piece Picking
    • Wool Scouring
    • Carding
  8. The Marketing of Sheep and Sheep Products
    • Wool sales
    • Sale by private treaty
    • The auction system
    • Wool futures
    • Industry regulatory and marketing authorities
    • Lamb and mutton marketing: Paddock sale, Saleyard auction, Over-the-hook sale
    • Electronic Marketing, Live Sheep exports, Forward price contracts
    • Factors affecting the value of lamb or mutton: Carcass weight, Skin value, Payment basis (hot or cold weight) etc

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the school, marked by the school's tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.


  • Select appropriate breeds of sheep for different purposes.
  • Select sheep to be used for different production purposes.
  • Explain the techniques used in sheep commercial breeding.
  • Explain the procedures used in managing the health of sheep (Nutrition)
  • Explain the procedures used in managing the health of sheep (Diseases)
  • Explain the techniques used in the management of a commercial flock of sheep.
  • To describe practices related to caring for lambs.
  • Explain the processes involved in handling wool after shearing.
  • Explain the techniques used in managing the marketing of sheep and sheep products.

For more information on this course, please request your free course information pack.

Are you interested in this course?
Free Info Pack