Finding the Right Sheep

Margali

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One caveat with Katahdins (and most other breeds) is the need for tail docks. Not my favorite thing to do which is why I went with a short tailed breed, and if you do perform docks (and castration) fly strike could also be a major issue for much of the year so be prepared with fly spray as a preventative.
@catherinecarney The tail does not need to be docked on Katahdin hair sheep. The underside of the tail is smooth skin without hair. They have very short hair on tail, butt, and legs even when woolly for winter.

Jan 5th- Aria less than 12hrs after birth with baby Jan 30th- Snowmageddon winter coat on boys
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catherinecarney

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Thank you for the information Margoli. I stand corrected--I know that with most conventional wool sheep the tail can be a manure trap if left undocked but did not realize that the tail on hair sheep was hairless.
 

Bicoastal

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One caveat with Katahdins (and most other breeds) is the need for tail docks. Not my favorite thing to do which is why I went with a short tailed breed, and if you do perform docks (and castration) fly strike could also be a major issue for much of the year
Most of the operations I know do not dock their hair sheep. I like the traditional aesthetic but operators in my region do not find it necessary for their katahdins.
 

ReedyForkFarm

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Hello everyone,
I'm new to ranching, but I have about 12 acres of pasture on my homestead that I want to put some sheep on.
I'm living in Eastern NC, in Duplin County about 45 miles from the coastal town of Wilmington. All this to say, the weather is pretty mild all year round, but relatively hot during June/July, temps averaging in the 90s.
I'm looking for a sheep that is low maintenance and fits in well with my ecosystem, and can provide some meat to my family. It doesn't have to be a ton of meat, but I'd like it to be at least worth killing the animal, and to taste good.
It seems from browsing the forums, the St Croix and Katahdin are the most popular for my situation, with the majority of posters preferring the Katahdin because its meatier. My only concern is that I read the Katahdin is a mountain sheep, and I live in the lowlands, where the soil is rich, not rocky. So I'm figuring the St Croix might fit in better with the ecosystem I have.
Anyone have any experience with these breeds or raising sheep in NC or the south?
Thanks in advance.
I am a little late to this conversation, but I thought I should add an alternative (at risk breed) to the discussion.
I raise Barbados Blackbelly sheep. They are such a docile, personable animal. They also have great hooves, give birth effortlessly, and are mostly parasite resistant. I have wormed 2 times in 3 years.) They are not as meaty as the Katahdins, but do great in hot climates moist climates. ( We live in Piedmont SC.) You can process these at the farm if you have processed your own deer.
Mine are mostly pasture raised with a round bale of hay available in the winter and feed for expecting ewes. Depending on your pasture you may not need hay in the winter. Rotational grazing is important.
They are naturally poled, and give birth to twins. The males are especially gentle. (See the last picture.)
Taste of meat depends on what you feed. This is important to read about before processing.
Also right now there is a micro grant available for endangered and at risk breeds - the Barbados Blackbelly is an at risk breed.
If you have any questions please reach out to me. Lynn
 

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Black Ridge Ewes

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We live in Maryland and have Dorper sheep, another hair breed option, that does extremely well with lush grass, high humidity and boy are they ever DOCILE! They grow fast, good meat producers, and are very hardy when it comes to fighting off disease/parasites!
And by the way @SageHill - we LOVE Clarkson's Farm too!!!
 

farmerjan

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I find it interesting that a couple of breeders having Barbados Black Belly sheep talk about how docile they are. We have White Texas Dall sheep, mostly raise the rams for the horns as they are sold to hunting preserves. They are a semi-wild feral breed and if allowed to run without alot of human interaction, are very "spooky". That is preferred for the rams that are sold. If bottle fed, any lambs are docile and easy to handle and usually remain that way.
We have also had BBB and they were as feral as the Dall's and not at all docile. We also had Mouflons, with the huge "heart shaped" horns and they do not do good in the damper, more moist climates and are very hard to keep parasite free. They also were very feral. I know that it has to do with the strains and the prior handling... but it is in their dna to be a wary breed.
Since the American BB have mouflon in their back ground I think the ones we had were probably of the American BB variety rather than the Barbados BB strains. Ours had some horns also.
 

Bicoastal

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We have also had BBB and they were as feral as the Dall's and not at all docile.
In my community, BBBs have a reputation for being flighty as deer. Dorpers have a reputation for being argumentative. But at least Dorpers bring carcass size to the table. Katahdin/Dorper crosses seem to be a nice cross for some.
 
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