hair sheep breeds

bmerb

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Hi, we are looking at beginning a small flock of hair sheep. They would be for pasture management and meat. I know there is a good market for hair sheep lambs as well. Anyone have any experience with specific breeds? We would definitely like a breed that is more docile, hardy and produces quality meat cuts. Thanks!:D
 

Scout

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Hey! I raise Dorper's and Barbado's, the Barbado's are smaller but easier to deal with (and the horns are like handles, makes it a lot easier to worm 'em) and the Dorper's can get huge (I had a ram a while back that was 300lbs solid muscle) they aint got horns, and in my opinion are usually a little more high strung then Barbado's. There both real hardy and good mother's, the Dorper's might be slightly better mother's then the Barbado's, but I personally like Barbado's better.
 

bmerb

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Thanks Scout! I was looking at the Dorpers, someone in my area has a nice Dorper ram lamb for what seems a reasonable price. How young can a Dorper ram begin breeding? Size-wise they do seem pretty ideal for meat production. I've know a few Barbados that just had great reproduction rates, but they were so small! How big are Dorper lambs? Would it be feasible to have a Dorper ram for breeding to smaller ewes, or would the lamb size make that inadvisable? I was sort of thinking about getting Katahdin ewes and a Dorper ram, but...

Sorry, I've got too many questions! :idunno
 

Scout

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Well, some one I know also has Dorpers and Barbados, and he uses a Dorper ram on Barbado ewes, never has a problem. I like to keep my breeds seperate, but thats just my preferance.
 

Beekissed

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There is a new breed being developed called Royal Whites, from a Dorper/St. Croix cross. This gives you the Dorper size with the St. Croix legginess and shedding ability.

I just bought two young weanlings from a fella who crosses St. Croix and Katahdins. These little gals are a little small for my taste but I am real impressed with how big they finish out and with their hardiness and mothering abilities.

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Best hair breed available in the US imo is the Katahdin

the carcass ability of the dorper without the temperament issues, plus the colour is an added benefit

I raise Damara, I believe there are some in Canada but not US
 

Poupoulles

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Which breed is best as a "starter sheep" for someone who has never raised sheep at all? Is there such a thing as a hair sheep that has a nice carcass and can also make a little milk? Is there a cross we should try for with that goal in mind?
 

Beekissed

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These Kat/St. Croix cross sheep of mine are the nicest I could have imagined for my first sheep. They never make a sound, are virtually stress free and they have the best little personalities.

Easy to care for and fun to watch. They don't seem to try to get out of the fencing, they get along with my other livestock and they tolerate this heat we are having very well.
 

Beekissed

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My Kat/St. Croix ewes are starting to grow their new, fuzzy wool for the winter. They have not been wormed with commercial wormers since I bought them from the breeder at 4 months of age. They are now going into their 8th month.

They have gained a lot of weight in this last part of summer and are going into the winter fat and sleek. Their hair/wool is shiney, eyes bright and alert and they are muscling out well. Their growth is on par with their herd mates back at the breeder's, actually...they look bigger and more sleek than the rest of the ewes their age, all of which have daily formulated feed supplements.

All in all, this breed has been a delight to raise and I plan on either keeping a female offspring or buying another of similar age from the breeder if there are any for sale.

No attempted escapes, no health issues, friendly and inquisitive, comical and smart.

Right now they are entirely on graze and have only had the occasional stolen sweet feed supplement from the bottle calf's feedings.

They have free choice sea kelp/coarse salt as their minerals.

They have free choice hay and forage for all the apples and left over garden produce they want. They ate every last vine and tomato from the 120+ plants that were in my garden, not to mention all the pumpkins, squash, cucumbers, broccoli and sunflowers.

I'm really pleased with this hair breed I've gotten. Anyone else raising hair sheep out there? Any pros or cons to report?
 

Iceblink

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I have a Dorper ewe lamb that I raised from a bottle. She is the sweetest thing. I had origionally planned to eat her, but now I think I will end up keeping her and breeding her next fall. She was born in June, so she is still small.

She was 3 days old and 4 lbs when I bought her, she is 5 months old and I am guessing about 50 lbs now. My sheep get grass, minerals, occasional veggie treats, and 1c of creep feed a day. My pasture has never been grazed in the 100 years the people before me owned the place, so I don't know how complete it is, grazing wise.

In the future I will probably only have hair sheep, since I really don't want to try to shear or dock tails by myself.
 
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