Sheep have been raised in Saskatchewan for more than 150 years. Early settlers brought breeding sheep over to graze on the province’s prairie grass.
Sheep eyes are on the side of their heads, which allows them to see predators while grazing.
This sheep is grazing (eating grass) in a pasture.
In 2020, Saskatchewan had 1,000 sheep farms across the province which were home to roughly 53,400 sheep! Sheep farms in Saskatchewan range in size. There are approximately anywhere from 60 – 1,200 ewes on each sheep farm.
When lambs are ready for market, sheep farmers usually go through order buyers, feedlots, and public auctions in the cities to sell sheep.
Saskatchewan sheep farmers raise approximately 53,400 sheep on over 1,000 farms!
Some sheep producers will sell the sheep to large processing facilities. When sheep farmers work with large production companies, the sheep will be transported from the farm to the processing facility where the meat is processed into many different cuts and products before packaging. The meat is then taken to grocery stores where the end consumer will purchase it to cook the meat and eat it.
Sheep meat will be processed into many different cuts, packaged, and sold at grocery stores.
There are also many byproducts made from animals in processing facilities. Byproducts are materials leftover from food production. Byproducts are not the primary goal of the agricultural system, but can be just as important. Making these byproducts also produces less waste, and is a way of recycling waste from processing animals. These products are processed, packaged, and sent to retail stores for customers to purchase.
There are many creative ways to recycle the waste created from processing animals for meat.
Who is Who?
There is a national code of practice that sheep farmers follow to make sure their animals are treated well and kept in a safe and comfortable environment. Farmers know that if the animals are properly cared for and happy, they are most likely to be profitable. Clean drinking water and nutritious food are important for a sheep’s health. Vaccines are given to sheep to prevent them from getting sick from diseases.
Happy sheep are important for sheep farmers.
When sheep are able to, they will graze outside in a fenced area. The farmer has a grazing management system that keeps them moving to different pastures so they have enough food. There is some sort of shelter to protect the sheep from the hot sunny days in pastures.
When the weather cooperates, sheep graze outside.
These sheep are grazing outside, but there is shelter to protect them from the sun.
During the lambing season, there are pens that are heated so the newborn lambs are not born into freezing temperatures. The barns that these pens are in must have good ventilation so that the sheep do not get a respiratory disease. The flooring must drain well so the bedding stays dry.
Sheep have their lambs in heated pens.
All sheep must have an ear tag which contains a unique number to tell the sheep apart and to keep track of each animal’s history. Farmers also keep track of when the sheep was born, how many lambs they may have had, and if they were sick and needed to be treated. This number is used for food safety and traceability if needed.
Ear tags are used to keep track of the history and data for each specific sheep.
Some sheep farmers use cameras to monitor watering bowls in pastures to make sure they are working properly without having to drive around to check them in person. Sheep farmers also use sensors on ewes to track information for the ewe and lamb, such as feeding information, time spent grazing, how much they walk, and how much they interact with other sheep.
Sheep farmers track a lot of information about ewes and their lambs using sensors.
Sheep meat, such as lamb chops.
Tennis Racquet Strings
Cosmetics such as lipstick.
Sheep provide us with many foods and products that are byproducts of processing sheep.
Lamb meat is meat from a young sheep that is less than a year old. Mutton is meat from a sheep that is older than one year.
Lamb meat is a source of high-quality protein and provides our bodies with 60% of the daily protein requirements. Lamb meat is also high in iron, zinc, and healthy fats.
Lamb chops and a salad is a very nutritious dish.