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.