just getting started - advice welcome!

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by mathis, Mar 6, 2005.

  1. mathis

    mathis Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    We are just getting started with sheep, and are trying to choose which breed we want. Although we primarily want to raise them for their wool (I want it for hand spinning - my husband just wants the sheep to eat the grass!), we want them to be dual purpose. We would love to hear comments, suggestions of breeds, words of wisdom, etc., etc.
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,084
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Ok the worst thing you don't want to hear but is essential. Culling makes the flock, you have to be ready to get rid of any animal that doesn't help you reach your goal.
     

  3. mathis

    mathis Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    That's one of the reasons we wanted a breed that could be used for meat, also...so that we would have a market for lambs we didn't want. (Although at this point, I wouldn't know which ones I wouldn't want!) How early can you tell if the sheep will produce a nice fleece?

     
  4. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
  5. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

    Messages:
    8,280
    Joined:
    May 11, 2002
    Location:
    Now in Virginia
    Good fleece is not only genetics, it comes with the environment.

    If they are fed good feed, wormed, vaccinated, kept in a calm environment, they can produce excellent fleece.

    But if they are not fed or taken care of well, have neighbors that set off fireworks or loud noises, have someone's dog run them.. you will not get good fleece. You will end up with poor fleece growth, and stress breaks.

    I had grand champion fleece at shows, until one of the places next door to the old farm sold..never had a good fleece after that because of all the fireworks and guns they would set off. Sheep just could not handle the stress of all the very loud startling noise.
     
  6. mathis

    mathis Active Member

    Messages:
    31
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Location:
    Illinois
    Thanks for the links above. I had already found the Oklalhoma one. I spin for clothing...I prefer a softer wool. I definitely want a breed that is fairly docile, as my daughter(13), my son (11) and I will be doing most of the work ourselves. I do have a friend who lives nearby who used to raise and show Dorsetts...a great resource for "care and mainenance" questions, but never cared about wool sheep.

    We have a small farm, and no close neighbors, so the noise shouldn't be an issue. We were planning on feeding in winter, supplementing feed in the summer, but doing a lot of grazing. We have had problems with coyotes and fox, so are planning to start of with a guard dog - probably a Great Pyreneese. Any thoughts there?

    As for breeds, I was leaning toward Border Leicesters, Romneys, or Leicester Longwools.
     
  7. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    Take a good look at California Red Sheep. They are excellent wool producers with 60 micron wool (3/8ths blood). The wool is oatmeal in color and they are easy keepers and very friendly.

    Here is a link:

    http://www.nmredsheep.meridian1.net/

    I will have a litter of 7/8ths Anatolian, 1/8th Great Pyr pups raised with sheep later this spring.

    I also will have Cal Red lambs in late summer (July-ish). BTW if you look at the above link, I now own Rhedd and Sugar Daddy.