Starting a mutton sheep farming business in South Africa presents an exciting and lucrative opportunity for entrepreneurs and farmers alike. Known for its diverse climates and landscapes, South Africa offers a suitable environment for sheep farming, catering to a variety of breeds well-adapted to different conditions. South Africa experiences a significant and sustained high demand for sheep meat. This demand is primarily driven by cultural preferences and dietary habits, with sheep meat being a staple in many traditional South African dishes. Additionally, the country’s growing population and urbanization have led to an increased consumption of protein-rich foods, further fueling the demand for sheep meat.The sheep meat (mutton or lamb meat) is considered a delicacy in South Africa and fetches high prices. This article will outline how to start a mutton sheep farming business in South Africa, and the mutton sheep farming business plan – PDF, Word and Excel.

Before you start a commercial meat sheep farming business in South Africa, there are some important decisions which you have to make. You have to decide on the size of your mutton sheep production business ie how many sheep you will have at your sheep farm.  Location of your mutton sheep farming business, and your target market, are the other important decisions to make. The size of your meat sheep farming business will depend on the amount of capital you have, and your target market. Sheep farming business is capital intensive, but with a lot of potential when it comes to scaling. It’s important that you get a good mutton sheep farming business plan before you start a commercial sheep farming business in South Africa.

NB: This article and business plan is about sheep for meat production only. We also have an article and business plan for both wool & mutton:  Wool & Mutton Sheep Farming in South Africa

Land for Mutton Sheep Farming

The location of the meat sheep farming business is an important decision to make. Proximity to major road networks is necessary for easy access to your sheep farm and to the market. Your sheep farm should have reliable water supply that can be used for both human and animal consumption. Water is so important because sheep need lots of it. The land should have pasture where the sheep can graze on. Sheep feed primarily on pasture. If you have a large piece of land you can compartmentalise your grazing area into portions. This will enable you to implement rotational grazing so as to curtail overuse and overgrowth of undesirable forage. This means that you should allow your sheep to graze on one piece of pasture while the other pasture is resting.

Housing and Equipment for Sheep

Sheep can be housed indoors or outdoors depending on the climate, season of lambing, and management preferences. Indoor housing protects the sheep from adverse weather conditions and predators. Housing for the sheep can be in the form of barns, sheds, hoop houses and other structures. Sheep housing should be located on elevated, well-drained sites. The sheep housing must have good air circulation and dampness must be avoided at all costs. The housing and even the area the sheep use for pastures must be sufficiently secure. Fencing using purchased wire fences or even wood planks can guarantee good security from predators. The required equipment for mutton sheep farming includes drinking and feeding equipment. Your commercial mutton sheep farming business plan should include the costs of purchasing equipment and sheep housing.

Breeding Stock for Meat Sheep Production Business

You need breeding stock to start the mutton sheep farming business in South Africa. The male sheep are called rams, while the female sheep are called ewes. Rams will mate with ewes to produce lambs, which you then raise. You need to get good quality breeders so that you ultimately produce good quality sheep and ultimately the meat. So it is important to source breeders from reputable suppliers – carefully assess and never make haste in such decisions. These must be suppliers who are not stingy with knowledge when it comes to questions that you might have. It is also wise to, if possible, source locally available breeds since they will be more suited to the local environment.

Mutton Sheep Breeds In South Africa

The most popular breeds for mutton sheep production in South Africa are the Dorper, South African Mutton Merino, Blackhead Persian, Ile de France, Dormer, Van Rooy  and the Meatmaster. The Dorper sheep breed is renowned for its exceptional meat quality and adaptability to a variety of climates, making it a favored choice among sheep farmers in South Africa. The South African Mutton Merino is a dual purpose sheep breed used for both wool and meat production. The Blackhead Persian is a breed known for its distinctive black head and white body, and its primarily raised for meat production. Originating in France, the Ile de France sheep breed is prized for its dual-purpose nature, serving both meat and wool production. The Dormer is a South African sheep breed developed for meat production, it is a crossbreed between the German Merino and the Dorset Horn. The cost of purchasing the breeding stock should be included in your mutton sheep farming business.

Feed for the Sheep

Feeding costs tend to be the biggest cost in a commercial mutton sheep farming business, as you will require supplementary feed. The primary and most economical source of nutrients for sheep is pasture. However feed supplements will be necessary for the sheep. Pasture might not always be adequate for the sheep due to changing seasons. If you’re into commercial meat sheep production, supplementary feed is a must. Supplementary feed for sheep include grains, hay, commercial sheep feeds, salts and minerals. Your meat sheep farming business plan should take into account the feeding costs.

Health & Disease Management

When running a sheep farming business, it’s essential to prioritize the health and disease management of your flock. The well-being of your sheep is not only crucial for their quality of life but also directly impacts the success and profitability of your venture. Sheep, like all livestock, are susceptible to various health issues and diseases that can spread rapidly if not managed effectively. To begin, regular health checks are the foundation of a robust health management program for your sheep. Establish a routine schedule for inspecting your flock, looking for signs of illness or distress. This includes monitoring their behavior, body condition, and any changes in eating or drinking habits. Proper nutrition is equally crucial, as sheep need a balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional requirements. Consult with a veterinarian or livestock nutritionist to develop a feeding plan tailored to your flock’s needs.

Additionally, vaccinations play a vital role in preventing common sheep diseases. Work with a veterinarian to develop a vaccination schedule, and consider preventative measures such as deworming and parasite control. Implementing a strict quarantine protocol for new sheep entering your farm and adhering to biosecurity measures further reduce the risk of disease transmission. Adequate shelter and housing, along with comprehensive record-keeping and an emergency response plan, complete the holistic approach to ensuring the health and well-being of your sheep. By prioritizing these measures, you can foster a healthy and thriving flock that contributes to the success of your sheep farming business.

Business Model

You need to understand the business model before starting the mutton sheep business in South Africa. The process begins with acquiring male sheep, commonly known as rams, and female sheep, or ewes. These carefully selected breeding pairs serve as the foundation of your flock. The magic of mutton sheep farming lies in their natural instinct to reproduce. Ewes will breed and give birth to lambs, thus marking the start of your meat production cycle. Once the lambs are born, your focus shifts to their care and growth. You’ll feed and raise them until they reach the desired market age, at which point they become ready for sale. It’s important to note that while feeding costs represent a significant expense in this venture, the revenue from selling the sheep far surpasses these costs along with other operational expenses. This inherent profitability, stemming from the sale of mature sheep, is what makes mutton sheep farming a lucrative endeavor. By strategically managing breeding cycles, you can ensure a consistent stream of income throughout the year, underpinning the sustainability and financial health of your business. This simple yet effective business model forms the backbone of a successful mutton sheep farming operation.

Management And Labour For A Sheep Farm

The number of employees needed for a mutton sheep farm depends on the scale of production, but tends to need consistently available hands. There are quite a number of routine tasks that need to be regularly done in the care of the sheep. There is need for sheep keepers who will be responsible for feeding the sheep, arranging the mating of rams & ewes,  cleaning and disinfecting the sheep housings, monitoring the health of the sheep flock and other related duties. There may also be need for a dedicated finance and marketing team, depending on the size of your mutton sheep business. Your mutton sheep farming business plan should take into account the salary costs for all your employees.

Market for Sheep

Meat Sheep Farming Business Plan South Africa

Slaughtered Sheep Carcass

The products of this business are sheep meat – lamb & mutton. Lamb is meat from a sheep younger than 1 year while mutton is from a sheep older than 1 year. The demand for sheep meat in South Africa is very high. The average demand of lamb and mutton in South Africa exceeds 200 000 tonnes per annum. South Africa consumes more mutton & lamb than what is domestically produced. So South Africa has to import sheep meat to satisfy the local demand. This just shows that the demand is high and there is need for more mutton sheep farmers. You can supply your lamb &  mutton to abattoirs , hotels, restaurants, retailers, butcheries, meat processors and individuals. The sheep meat production business plan should include a proper marketing plan for your business. 

Keys To Profitability

Starting a mutton sheep farming business in South Africa comes with its unique considerations for achieving profitability. Central to this endeavor is the efficient management of breeding practices. The foundation of your flock lies in the selection of high-quality rams and ewes, and by implementing sound breeding management techniques, you can ensure a consistent supply of healthy lambs for market. Nutrition plays a critical role in the profitable growth of your sheep. Developing a well-crafted feeding plan tailored to each life stage, from lambs to adults, is imperative. This not only fosters rapid growth but also minimizes feed wastage, a crucial factor in cost control. Moreover, vigilant health management is paramount. Regular health checks, timely vaccinations, and diligent parasite control are vital in preventing diseases that can incur substantial expenses and impact flock survivability.

To bolster profitability, it’s essential to focus on cost control measures. Feed costs represent a significant portion of expenses in mutton sheep farming. Optimizing pasture utilization and exploring alternative feed sources can prove cost-effective. Additionally, meticulous management of other operational expenses, such as housing and equipment, is key to a healthy bottom line. Understanding the dynamics of the South African sheep meat market is essential. Develop a marketing and sales strategy tailored to local demand. Establish connections with local markets, build relationships with buyers, and consider digital platforms to expand your reach and secure competitive prices for your sheep. Record keeping and data analysis are integral to making informed decisions that enhance profitability. Maintaining comprehensive records of breeding data, health records, and financial transactions allows for regular analysis to identify trends, areas for improvement, and potential cost-saving measures.

Advantages of Mutton Sheep Farming Business

Venturing into mutton sheep farming presents a host of advantages that make it a compelling choice for agricultural enthusiasts and entrepreneurs. Perhaps one of the most prominent benefits is the consistent and substantial demand for mutton meat in South Africa. Mutton holds a significant place in South African diets due to its tender and flavorful characteristics. As the population continues to grow, the demand for meat, including mutton, is expected to rise steadily, making mutton sheep farming an inherently profitable pursuit. Another key advantage lies in the efficiency of meat production in sheep farming. Sheep possess the remarkable ability to convert forage into meat with remarkable efficiency and offers the potential for a substantial meat yield while keeping input costs relatively low compared to other livestock. Mutton sheep farming offers remarkable profitability. The efficient conversion of forage into meat, coupled with the steady demand for mutton, often results in favorable profit margins. With proper management and strategic breeding practices, farmers can achieve high yields of quality meat while minimizing input costs.

Furthermore, the diversity of sheep breeds available for farmers to choose from is a notable advantage. These breeds come with unique characteristics and qualities, allowing farmers to tailor their flocks to suit specific goals. Whether the aim is to maximize meat production, adapt to local conditions, or produce specialty meats, the array of sheep breeds empowers farmers to make informed choices that align with market demand and personal preferences, enhancing the overall profitability of their mutton sheep farming business.


For an in-depth analysis of the mutton sheep farming business in South Africa, purchase our meat sheep farming business plan. We decided to introduce the business plans after noting that many South Africans were venturing into the mutton sheep production business without a full understanding of the industry, market, how to run the business, the risks involved, profitability of the business and the costs involved, leading to a high failure rate of their businesses.

Our business plan will make it easier for you to launch and run a mutton sheep production business successfully, fully knowing what you are going into, and what’s needed to succeed in the business. It will be easier to plan and budget as the mutton sheep production business plan will lay out all the costs involved in setting up and running the meat sheep farming business. The business plan is designed specifically for the South African market.


The mutton sheep production business plan can be used for many purposes including:

  • Raising capital from investors/friends/relatives
  • Applying for a bank loan
  • Start-up guide to launch your meat sheep farming business
  • As a mutton sheep farming project proposal
  • Assessing profitability of the mutton sheep farming business in South Africa
  • Finding a business partner
  • Assessing the initial start-up costs so that you know how much to save
  • Manual for current business owners to help in business and strategy formulation


The business plan includes, but not limited to:

  • Market Analysis
  • Industry Analysis
  • 5 Year Automated Financial Statements [ Income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, monthly cash flow projections (3 years monthly cash flow projections, the remaining two years annually),break even analysis, payback period analysis, start-up costs, financial graphs, revenue and expenses, Bank Loan Amortisation]
  • Marketing Strategy
  • Risk Analysis
  • SWOT & PEST Analysis
  • Operational Requirements
  • Sheep farming guide (Technical Details of how to breed, feed and raise the sheep)
  • Operational Strategy
  • Why some South Africans in the meat sheep production business fail, so that you can avoid their mistakes
  • Ways to raise capital to start your meat sheep farming business in South Africa
  • Directory [Contact Details for South African suppliers of feeds, equipment, breeding stock, contacts of sheep farming training companies in South Africa, contacts of sheep farming organisations in South Africa]

The Meat Sheep Farming Business Plan package consist of 4 files

  1. Mutton Sheep Farming Business Plan – PDF file (Comprehensive – 96 pages)
  2. Mutton Sheep Farming Business Plan – Editable Word File (Comprehensive – 96 pages)
  3. Mutton Sheep Farming Business Plan Funding Version – Editable Word File (Short version for applying for a loan – 41 pages)
  4. Mutton Sheep Farming Business Plan Automated Financial Statements – (Editable Excel file)

The financial statements are automated. This implies that you can change eg the number of sheep, price of sheep etc, and all the other financial statements will automatically adjust to reflect the change. 


We decided to make the business plan affordable to anyone who would want to start the business, and the price for the pre-written business plan is only 500 Rand.

We have several payment methods which you can use.

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The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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If you want to purchase multiple business plans at once using Instant EFT then  click here: Business Plans Store

The business plan package is a zipped compressed file containing the PDF, Word and Excel documents. To open the package after downloading it, just right click, and select Extract All. If you have any problems in downloading and opening the files, email us on and we will assist you.

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