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sheep and heat

757 Views 3 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Don Armstrong
What are the best commonly available sheep breeds that do well in warm climates. I am looking for meat for my own consumption. Generally warm 75-95 six months a year.
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Is it dry heat, or very humid? I know some breeds have wool problems in very high humidity (I'm not sure exactly, whether it molds or mats or rots, I don't remember what it was exactly). My first thought when I think of hot areas are hair shearing to worry about. My sheep (dorsets and lincolns) do fine in the KY summer heat and humidity and they also do fine in the cold winters. We get very hot summers, and sometimes very cold winters (like this past winter).
Do you have much grass, or will you mainly have to feed hay and grain?
If you think about all those wool over dosed Merinos in the blazing Australian heat and remember that sheep keeping started in the middle east, you should feel some confidence that any breed will work well for you. Check out the katahdin breed of the month post if hair sheep interest you, and there are other hair breeds too. Dorsets are probably the "standard" sheep, every vet knows one inside and out, there's replacement stock everywhere, and they grow a decent carcass.
Yep, sheep will do fine in hot dry heat. Wool fleece is an effective insulator - it's like arabs wearing thick heavy robes - doesn't keep them cool, but it does stop them getting much hotter. However, sheep will appreciate - and should have - shade, so they can retreat from the sun from time to time and cool down.
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