Maybe a dumb question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by holleegee, Apr 27, 2006.

  1. holleegee

    holleegee Well-Known Member

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    We would like to raise sheep, right now we are in the researching, planning phase. I would like to raise a wool breed that handspinners would like and a breed that would be good to eat, and a breed that would be good for a beginner.

    I found the market report
    http://www.mda.mo.gov/Market/reports_mo.htm
    We live between Kansas city and St. Jo Missouri.
    I am not going to buy an animal from an auction but is this a good way to predict the market for sheep? (In one report it said demand light and supply moderate?) I guess what I'm asking is how do I find out if there is a market for sheep in my area.

    Thanks for your help!
     
  2. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We raise California Red sheep in South Texas (san antonio). Go to this website to learn more. We have had them for2 years and they are as easy as any livestock to raise. Our starter herd was 3 ewes and 2 rams. All three ewes had twins this first lambing with no birthing problems at all. Will send pictures via private email if you desire - PM me.

    www.nmredsheep.meridian1.net
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Are there ethnic (muslim, Greek and Italian ) groceries in your area? If so you have a local market which should generate good demand. There are probably many breeds that would fit your bill, but keep in mind almost everybody thinks thier sheep are easy keepers, great wool, and superior meat. Certainly the more things you can market from a sheep the better. I've always thought Polypays were good, I like what I read about the Cal reds, and after raising Suffolks, Hampshires, North County Cheviots, Polypays, Dorsets, Canadian and Rideau Arcotts, I settled on Rideau Arcotts, and either superior Dorset rams for cross breeding or Polypays. We'll add something like Lincolns or Leicesters as a PB breed.
     
  4. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

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    One distinct advantage with the Cal Reds is the ability to breed in hot weather thus giving you 3 lambings every 2 years vs the normal 2. That is a significant increase in productivity.

    For an interesting cross I would loveto cross my best Cal Red Ram to a Texel ewe. I just can't find someone close who will sell a Texel ewe lamb. The though of lamb chops with 3 inch + loin eyes is too much to pass up. I would call them TEX-Reds.......ahhhhh someday......
     
  5. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    For taste, Suffolks can't be beat. My friend has Wesleydales(sp) for wool. Guess they are rare though so might be hard to find. We have a hair sheep now for our Aussies to herd. They are a St. Croix/Painted Desert cross. They are good mothers and we got two that had twins.
     
  6. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    I don't think it's a dumb question at all.

    I've just gotten started with Icelandics. I heard they were easy keepers, but that's not prooving true here, as they appear to need about 50% more calories that my romney's do. I like them, though. The horns are pretty cool :rolleyes: Some handspinners like the fleece; many don't. Being dual coated is a bit of a curse as it's labor intesive to seperate it, but left together can have the guard hairs shedding over time. Still, it's what the famous Lopi yarn is made from, and that does have some name appeal.

    While the icelandics are unique, I think the romney has a broader appeal. Good fleece for handspinning, and people are familiar with it (which always helps.) Being considered 'dual purpose', the do tend to get used for meat as well (I guess most breeds do in the end!) I think they're a nice dual purpose sheep, with a greater emphasis on the wool than the meat. We've got one little ewe who needs next to nothing in terms of feed, twinned her first lambing (with no assistance needed), and has just a touch of lincoln in her which gives her a wonderful fleece. She's a bit smaller than what the standard is, but a socialable little ewe who gives about 8 lbs of fleece a year.

    We've got a dorset (dual purspose, supposedly) and a suffolk cross here as well. Dolly (suffolk) throws nice lambs and gives a nice supply of milk. Wool is pretty useless. The dorset has an okay fleece, and is a nice sized sheep, but not my favorite.

    Like Ross said, folks have their favorites. Auctions, I suppose, would be a good place to get a feel if you're in a sheep area. We don't see many sheep go throught he local auction barn here. You can also check with your extension office to see what the 4-H/FFA kids are raising; there may be a good market providing them with market lambs. If nothing else, they can tell you what is showing up in the ring.
     
  7. dcross

    dcross Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you're getting into it on a small scale, the auction is probably irrelevant to your situation.
     
  8. minnikin1

    minnikin1 Shepherd

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    the book "In Sheeps Clothing" talks about 100 or so breeds and describes their wool types.
    I haven't read it yet, but it gets great ratings.
     
  9. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    If you google "sheep breeds" there is a website that highlights each breed, including photos.
    As a handspinner and a shepherd, I vote for shetlands. Excellent wool breed, low-maintenance, easy on the land, good beginner sheep.
    On the meat end, the carcass size is small and doesn't have a ton of meat, slow lamb growth, and they don't breed out of season. But then again, they have not been developed for the meat market. So no weanling Easter lamb sales. But the meat is mild tasting and the ethnic market (strong in our area) seem not to mind the small cuts. We sell culls/extras in October for Ramadan and get a dollar a pound on the hoof (about $65 a lamb.)
    Visit some farms and some shows, talk to different breeders. I think you will know it when you find "your" perfect breed.
    If I were more into the meat end, I'd be interested in Clun Forest, or Leisters (sp?)
     
  10. Somerhill

    Somerhill Well-Known Member

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    Take a look at Bluefaced Leicesters. They have very desireable wool, are easy sheep to handle, and good mothers. The rams are normally gentlemen, too. They are still fairly rare in the US, but the numbers are growing by leaps and bounds.
    Lambs are very fast growing, and we enjoy the meat. Like most longwools, its a sweet, mild tasting meat.
    There is a breeder in MO, and 2 new flocks forming this year in OK. It would probably be pretty easy to arrange to pick up a starter flock at the Sedalia MO show next month.
    You can find a list of breeders at www.bflsheep.com or email me privately for some suggestions on people I know who have ewes/rams for sale.
    You can see lots of pictures at my website at www.somerhillfarm.com

    Lisa at Somerhill
    www.somerhillfarm.com
     
  11. mathis

    mathis Active Member

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    I was in the same boat about 18 months ago and decided on English Leicester Longwools. I bought my flock about a year ago and just went through my first lambing season. I LOVE them!