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Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Zorro_Bones, Oct 25, 2006.
Want meat, milk, wool?
I have currently 60 so acres to work with and possibly another 10-20.
I've been told that Icelandics are a good all purpose sheep. I've met a few and found them delightful. However, I don't yet have any sheep myself, so I am waiting and waiting until my situation changes a bit.
Pretty much agree with Granny Carol. Icelandics are a nice all purpose homesteading sheep. The trouble is that there haven't been many folks selecting for milk, and others have been selecting for either meat or wool. It's hard to find one animal that will be well above average in all three (that goes for any breed, btw.)
If you can find a ewe that's been bred for milk, that's great. Some bigger farms (icelandic) aren't selecting for milk quality, you'll likely have to find one that from a small time breeder.
That said...all sheep can be milked. If you don't like the type of fleece an icelandic produces, look into the dorset breed. Considered a dual purpose, I don't find their wool as appealing as some breeds, but they do tend to produce a decent amount of milk.
You may want to look into a cross bred flock if you're not into showing. Perhaps pick up a few different ewes, and a dairy ram, then start crossing your own.
East Friesians are the first choice in milking sheep. Dorsets would be good for meat and milk, but the wool is not anything remarkable. I would think Finnsheep would be decent for milking, and if you buy from a flock that has been selected for wool quality, that might be a breed to look into.
My Bluefaced Leicester ewes give a lot of milk. They were one of the breeds used in the development of the British Milksheep - for that reason. One nice thing about them is that they are sooooooo gentle and easygoing. I can often step right into the lambing jug and milk a ewe without even having to restrain her. Temperament counts for a lot when you are milking sheep! And naturally, they have marvelous wool! Pretty good meat carcasses, too. We just had 6 butchered this week. Yum!
You could use a BFL ram to improve the wool quality, milking ability, and temperament on grade ewes, too, besides breeding purebreds. With 60 acres, your farm can carry a lot of sheep (assuming we are talking about pasture and not sagebrush.)
Lisa at Somerhill