Sheep Farming in Austria

Sheep Farming in AustriaLamb farming – a trend

While sheep used to be raised first and foremost for wool, today the focus is on milk production and high quality lamb. Sheep farming in Austria is an advantageous combination of ecology and economy. Meat comes from particularly young (maximum six month old) lambs that are raised close to nature. Sheep farming is becoming more important again as a result of extensive cultivation of Alpine pastures and other pastures.

Sheep Farming in AustriaSheep farming mainly a secondary source of income

In Austria, there are just under 16,000 sheep farms with a sheep population of around 400,000 (status 2019). This compact farming structure facilitates an ecological form of animal husbandry that is close to nature. Alpine sheep farming predominates, i.e. the sheep are kept on meadows and Alpine pastures during the summer. (In the winter and in the final fattening phase, the animals are kept in spacious pens.) A small number of sheep and lambs are kept in enclosures.

Special meat breeds guarantee qualitySpezielle Fleischrassen garantieren Qualität (copy 1)

The variety of sheep breeds is a real guarantee for the preservation of genetic diversity.The largest share is made up of mountain sheep (Bergschaf), followed by merino, dairy sheep and various meat sheep breeds (Schwarzkopf, Suffolk, Texel). For lamb meat production, ewes are usually mountain sheep or merino while rams are from meat breeds in order to increase the amount of meat.