Learn sheep husbandry and farming for improved farm practices in the production of wool and meat with our experienced and highly qualified faculty.

Course Code: BAG210
Fee Code: S2
Duration (approx) Duration (approx) 100 hours
Qualification Statement of Attainment
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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.


Comment from an A.C.S student: "Although I can do all of the practical work that is required to raise sheep, I am learning a lot more than I didn't already know. all that I knew I learned from my dad. I am enjoying this course and when I finish it, I would like to do another one, perhaps in management". Jonathan, UK - Sheep course 

Wool is an export product so good prices can be obtained when conditions in the market are favourable. There are fewer marketing problems associated with wool of good-high quality. Pure mutton breeds require less management than pure wool breeds. The lamb market is strong in many countries. A dual purpose breed can provide the farmer with two products (meat and wool), and spreads the farmer's source of income should there be an overproduction one of the two products. Sheep can also be farmed for dairy (e.g.sheep cheese can be as popular as cows cheese in some parts of the world.   Learn more by enrolling now.

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.

What You Will Do

  • Collect information about different sheep breeds which are being farmed or could be successfully farmed in your region.
  • Compare the different characteristics of sheep breeds in terms of appearance, hardiness, commercial potential.
  • Select breeds for three different purposes, including wool production and meat production, in your locality.
  • Inspect at least two sheep, ideally, from separate flocks, and determine their age by looking in their mouths.
  • Define the following different sheep breeding terms: Oestrus, Gestation, Weaning, Flushing, Wet ewes, Teasers.
  • Design a "breeding record form" which includes all necessary factors.
  • List criteria to be used for selecting sheep for different purposes, including for replacement and for slaughter.
  • Develop a standard form, which considers both meat and wool, to use for judging sheep.
  • Talk to at least two experienced sheep farmers about "condition scoring" of sheep.
  • Compare the differences in food required by different types of sheep, including: rams; breeding ewes at different stages of pregnancy; sheep being fattened for meat.
  • Prepare a collection of ten pasture plant species from at least two different sheep properties and comment on the suitability of the pasture for sheep.
  • Distinguish between the different categories of sheep health problems, including: viral, bacterial, metabolic, protozoal, poisoning, parasites.
  • Describe how to perform different pest and disease control tasks, including: drenching, injecting, hoof trimming, docking.


Sheep are raised widely around the world, for meat, wool and dairy.

The relative significance of these three types of products may change from place to place and time to time; but the fact that they are able to provide such a diverse range of products, makes the sheep one of the most important farm animals world wide.

Selling Wool

Wool consumption as a percentage of the worlds total fibre consumption is small and decreasing.

  • The consumption of wool products is mainly concentrated in developed countries.
  • The price of wool is high when compared with other countries.
  • The image of wool products is up-market and high quality.

Wool can be marketed by several methods including:

  Sale by private treaty
  • The auction system
  • Wool futures
Sale By Private Treaty

Growers can negotiate a direct sale with private treaty wool merchants. For the wool grower the advantage of private selling is the quick payment for the wool clip. However, the payment might be lower than what the clip may have achieved at auction due to reduced competition. So while sales by private treaty occur, the most common method of selling wool has been through an open auction system.

The Auction System

Wool clips (i.e. production from different countries) are sold in this way from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United Kingdom. Between them, wool from these countries makes up more than half of the worlds production.

Brokers act as agents for wool growers.
They organise the display of wool from a farmer in a warehouse.
The wool may be displayed by a broker in bales or as samples from each lot, in boxes.
The broker does guarantee that samples are representative of each lot; but otherwise they make no guarantee about any lot (eg. its performance or quality is not guaranteed: that is up to the buyer to judge).
Potential buyers are then offered the wool at a public auction. Catalogues are supplied to identify what is being offered.
Clips are usually sold according to the date received into a wool store.
For large clips, wool may be received over a period of time; in which case the average date of receipt is used.
Wool selling centres exist throughout Australia. The quantity of wool to be sold in each centre is determined by the "National Council of Wool Selling Brokers of Australia". A tentative program is promoted world wide, allowing overseas buyers to determine the quantities which are likely to be available, at a particular time, and from what centres.
Wool Futures

A futures market exists for the trading of wool products. For a producer, the futures market may be used to lock in desirable prices for wool in anticipation of future lower prices. Futures contracts can be either deliverable or cash-settled. Trading in wool futures is done through brokers and there is a commission charged for each contract traded. Commodity trading is a specialised field and producers who wish to use the futures market should seek expert advice from people experienced in this style of trading.


With an enhanced knowledge and understanding of how to raise sheep, you will be in a better position to improve an existing sheep farm, or succeed at any start up farm you become involved with.

This course will lay a foundation that can be build on through experience and less formal learning; enabling you to better understand concepts and ideas you encounter into the future. Your awareness of sheep and the sheep industry will grow and you will see and understand opportunities that present, better than ever before.


ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
ACS Global Partner - Affiliated with colleges in seven countries around the world.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
Since 1999 ACS has been a recognised member of IARC (International Approval and Registration Centre). A non-profit quality management organisation servicing education.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
ACS is an organisational member of the Future Farmers Network.
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112
UK Register of Learning Providers, UK PRN10000112

How can I start this course?

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This course has been designed to cover the fundamentals of the topic. It will take around 100 hours to complete, which includes your course reading, assignment work, research, practical tasks, watching videos and anything else that is contained in the course. Our short courses are a great way to do some professional development or to learn a new skill.

It’s up to you. The study hours listed in the course are a rough guide, however if you were to study a short course (100 hours) at 10 hours per week, you could finish the course in 10 weeks (just an example). Our courses are self-paced, so you can work through the courses in your own time. We recommend that you wait for your tutor to mark and return your assignment before your start your next one, so you get the benefits of their feedback.

The course consists of course notes, videos, set tasks for your practical work, online quizzes, an assignment for each lesson (that you receive feedback from your tutor from) and ends in an exam (which is optional, if would like to receive the formal award at the end), using our custom built Learning Management System - Login.Training.

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Each module (short course) is completed with one exam.

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Course Contributors

The following academics were involved in the development and/or updating of this course.

Marius Erasmus

Subsequent to completing a BSc (Agric) degree in animal science, Marius completed an honours degree in wildlife management, and a masters degree in production animal physiology. Following the Masters degree, he has worked for 9 years in the UK, and South Africa in wildlife management, dairy, beef and poultry farming.

Alison Pearce

University Lecturer, Quality Assurance Manager, Writer and Research Technician. Alison originally graduated with an honors degree in science from university and beyond that has completed post graduate qualifications in education and eco-tourism. She has managed veterinary operating theatre, responsible for animal anesthesia, instrument preparation, and assistance with surgical techniques and procedures.

Dr. Gareth Pearce

Veterinary scientist and surgeon with expertise in agriculture and environmental science, with over 25 years of experience in teaching and research in agriculture, veterinary medicine, wildlife ecology and conservation in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. Post-graduate qualifications in Education, Wildlife Conservation Medicine, Aquatic Veterinary Studies and Wildlife Biology & Conservation.
Gareth has a B.Sc.(Hons), B.V.Sc., M.A., M.Vet.S,. PhD, Grad. Cert. Ed.(HE), Post-Grad.Cert. Aq.Vet.Sc., Post-Grad. Cert. WLBio&Cons., Dipl. ECPHM, MRCVS.

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