The number of sheep on Dutch farms rose by 17 percent to nearly 1.4 million in the period 2003–2006. At the start of the century Dutch farms counted 1.3 million sheep. Following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in March 2001 and the consequent slaughter of many animals, the number of sheep fell by 110 thousand to 1.2 million in 2003.
While the number of sheep is growing, the number of farms keeping sheep is decreasing. In 2006 14 thousand farms kept sheep, 20 percent less than in 2000. This decrease means that the number of sheep per farm is increasing. In 2001 there were on average 77 sheep per farm, in 2006 this was nearly 100.
Sheep on Dutch farms