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IF I were to get some sheep for meat, milk, and wool, what would be good breed that would be easy to handle, feed, and care for in a cold, northern climate?

Locally I know I can get icelandics and shetlands but I don't know much about them except that shetlands are not a great meat breed (small carcass).

Would be feeding family and pets with the meat and hopefully using the milk for same. Wool could be sold or I may learn ANOTHER hobby! :baby04:
 

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Nohoa Homestead
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hoofinitnorth said:
IF I were to get some sheep for meat, milk, and wool, what would be good breed that would be easy to handle, feed, and care for in a cold, northern climate?

Locally I know I can get icelandics and shetlands but I don't know much about them except that shetlands are not a great meat breed (small carcass).

Would be feeding family and pets with the meat and hopefully using the milk for same. Wool could be sold or I may learn ANOTHER hobby! :baby04:
I know a lady who has Rambouillet/Dorset crosses and they are really just about the perfect sheep. If you are convenient to Springfield, MO, I will give you her name. It's a small flock, she only has about 4 - 5 lambs a year. She also has Tunis sheep.

donsgal
 

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Stableboy III
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Icelandics are known for being the triple purpose breed - meat, milk and wool. And being, well, from Iceland, they do well in cold, northern climates. that's why you see a lot of them in Mass, Vt, NH, etc.

They are great browsers - put our goats to shame in their ability to chow down on scrub. There are some really good sites with info on Icelandics, just google them.
 

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Hoofinit, I'd go with icelandics up there where you are. They'll do quite well in your climate. If you want milk, be sure to search out people who've been milking their flock, as you'll get a lot of breeders who claim milkiness but haven't a clue because they've never done it. I learned that first hand the hard way :rolleyes:
 

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Icelandics, in particular, may need some copper. So that is definitely something to research. There have been conversations about it on Icelandic groups I'm on. And a breeder in our area had a necropsy done on a lamb that died. It showed severe copper deficiency. Since then, she has been adding copper to their feed and it has eliminated some problems she has had. I'm still trying to learn more about this issue, since it's the exact opposite of everything I've read about sheep. But apparently, Icelandics maybe the exception to the no copper rule.
 

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I would definitely check to see what your copper is like in your region before adding additional. Most often, there is enough in the hay/pasture for sheep to live a healthy life. It's just the added copper in salt/minerals or grains that can be a problem.

I think there are a couple of breeders in AK; not sure if they're milking. You may not find the ewes in milk this time of year; lactation isn't as long on icelandics as it is on dairy sheep, so many of them will be drying up. Don't let people tell you that the rate of gain of their lambs is a good indicator; some ewes give freely to their lambs but refuse to be milked. Also, a large udder isn't a good indicator, either. Ask if they've milked, ask how long after weaning (and how old the lambs were when they weaned), and ask for their daily records. Not saying you may not get lucky and get a couple of ewes that will let you milk, but go into it as educated as you can be :) And remember that you can always cross a couple of breeds to get the desired sheep that fits your needs.
 

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Pure mischief
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hoofinitnorth said:
IF I were to get some sheep for meat, milk, and wool, what would be good breed that would be easy to handle, feed, and care for in a cold, northern climate?

Locally I know I can get icelandics and shetlands but I don't know much about them except that shetlands are not a great meat breed (small carcass).

Would be feeding family and pets with the meat and hopefully using the milk for same. Wool could be sold or I may learn ANOTHER hobby! :baby04:
I only have Icelandics and would only have them for what you're describing.

Go here for Icelandic info and Icelandic eye candy:

www.isbona.com
 
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