Best dairy sheep breed?

GoateeMcfee

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
25
Points
56
Location
Washington
Hello! I just created my account today! (I found this site through BackyardChickens.com). I have chickens and ducks and such (I know, not herd animals). But I do have two Nigerian dwarf wethers. I got them for brush control as I battle a lot of blackberries on my property. Two goats have not made a huge impact😂. But they are very nice little animals that I am very glad to keep. However I have been very interested in getting sheep for milk. I ordered a book recently that just arrived and I will be reading soon, but I noticed there aren't very specific mentions to sheep breeds. I am totally new to sheep, I know almost nothing about them. But does anyone have any ideas for sheep breeds I should look into? I am mostly wanting the sheep milk to make cheese and other products, so high butterfat is essential. I would also love any tips or insight for someone looking into sheep raising, thank you!!
 

GoateeMcfee

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
25
Points
56
Location
Washington
For sheep information, read the sheep forums. Select a forum section and read the posts. There are questions that you don't even know to ask. As you read and study, ask questions and we will be glad to help. Then, once you get sheep, you will have LOTS more questions!
Thank you!! I will go do that now!:D =D
 

mysunwolf

Herd Master
Joined
Nov 23, 2012
Messages
1,208
Reaction score
1,570
Points
323
Location
Southwest Virginia
East Friesians are the most common and easily accessible dairy sheep in this country! You can milk almost any breed, but EF have the right volume, length of lactation, and temperaments to make the whole thing easier. That being said, we have had to find crosses as the higher percentage Friesians don't do well in our very wet environment. Lacaune and Ile de France are rarer but excellent dairy breeds. Other breeds people have used for dairying include Finn, Romanov, Icelandic, and Katahdin. There are some good dairy characteristics in the Dorsets, Polypay, and Clun Forests as well.

There are dozens of sheep dairies out west, if you can find any near you it would be a good idea to visit them and check out their breeds. Then you can ask them questions about sheep management and nutrition as well.
 

misfitmorgan

Herd Master
Joined
Feb 26, 2016
Messages
3,328
Reaction score
6,046
Points
423
Location
Northern Lower Michigan
When you start looking to buy I would for sure look for a/some sheep that are used to being milked for starter stock. I can't recall who on here has/had dairy sheep but if you look around I'm sure you can find their threads. Lots of good info on those.
 

GoateeMcfee

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
25
Points
56
Location
Washington
East Friesians are the most common and easily accessible dairy sheep in this country! You can milk almost any breed, but EF have the right volume, length of lactation, and temperaments to make the whole thing easier. That being said, we have had to find crosses as the higher percentage Friesians don't do well in our very wet environment. Lacaune and Ile de France are rarer but excellent dairy breeds. Other breeds people have used for dairying include Finn, Romanov, Icelandic, and Katahdin. There are some good dairy characteristics in the Dorsets, Polypay, and Clun Forests as well.

There are dozens of sheep dairies out west, if you can find any near you it would be a good idea to visit them and check out their breeds. Then you can ask them questions about sheep management and nutrition as well.
Thank you!
 

GoateeMcfee

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
25
Points
56
Location
Washington
When you start looking to buy I would for sure look for a/some sheep that are used to being milked for starter stock. I can't recall who on here has/had dairy sheep but if you look around I'm sure you can find their threads. Lots of good info on those.
Okay thank you!
 

GoateeMcfee

Ridin' The Range
Joined
Mar 24, 2021
Messages
26
Reaction score
25
Points
56
Location
Washington
What do y'all think about Lacaune or Awassi? I hear they have the highest butterfat percentage. But I could only find one source for the percentages so I don't know how true they are. I read Lacaune: 7.5% and Awassi 13%. I also read that east friesian have a very low butterfat but I also couldn't verify that because I heard from one source they have a 8% and 3% from another. Hard to find good information on sheep breeds I guess 😂
 
Top