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Is there a breed that never needs shearing?

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Sheep' started by Blamo'sBestBuddy, Jul 14, 2019.

  1. Jul 18, 2019
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    Since you have not gotten any sheep yet, you are smart to investigate the different varieties ahead of time.

    We have White Dorpers. After many years raising wool breeds we switched from Dorsets to White Dorpers because shearing is too hard for me anymore and my shearer was charging $40-50 per head. There are many breeds and sizes of hair sheep, some of which do better in certain climates and topography. Depending on the part of the country in which you live, some breeds are more available than others. Some excellent breeds are almost impossible to find in certain areas of the country. But don't think that because they are rare that they will be a good investment when you go to sell. The more available the breed the less you will have to pay to get started, and the easier it will be to find the quality of animals you want. The more available the breed the larger the gene pool from which to draw breeding stock. The breed that is most popular in your area is popular for a reason.

    Certain breeds do better in drier climates, some thrive in wetter climates. Parasite resistance varies not only from breed to breed, but also bloodline to bloodline. Fertility and mothering ability also can differ from breed to breed. These hair breeds are not used for wool and have been developed mainly to produce meat. Some breeds produce a larger carcass than others, while others produce a smaller lamb but higher meat to bone ratio. Some are friendlier while others are more wild natured. They all have their plusses and minuses.

    Some hair sheep have hardly any wool year round, while 2 of the most popular breeds (Dorpers and Katahdins) grow thick fleece/wool during the winter and shed it out in the spring. Some individuals shed better than others. Some of my White Dorper sheep shed to the skin in the spring, while others retain a band of wool along their spines well into mid summer. The remaining wool does not need to be removed by shearing and will eventually fall out when the new fleece begins to grow in. You can breed for the complete shedding trait by identifying at birth those individuals that are "woolies" and culling them for meat instead of keeping them to breed. Some years these sheep shed less than other years. The reasons are unknown since the same sheep may shed completely one year and less the next. It may be age, climate conditions, the nutrients in their feed/pasture, etc.

    Other things to consider before buying your sheep are: Are you raising meat for home use? For commercial sale? Do you have butchering facilities within driving distance? What is your acreage? Fencing? Housing facilities? Do you have pasture and do you plan to do feed lot type feeding? If so what are the feed costs for hay and grain in your area? Predator load and type? Parasites? Climate and rainfall are a factor. Do you have experience with any types of livestock other than your chickens? Can you handle a guardian animal to protect your flock?

    Once you find out what is available in your area, go look at some different breeds. A County Fair or local Sheep Show is the best way to see several breeds at once. You have to like the way they look and act. You will be taking care of them and want to enjoy doing so. We all think our own breed is the best and most beautiful. That is why we continue to breed and raise them since your adventures raising sheep can leave you beating your head against the wall!
    :he Good luck on your quest!
     
  2. Jul 22, 2019
    Blamo'sBestBuddy

    Blamo'sBestBuddy Loving the herd life

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    Thank you everyone!
     
    AmberLops likes this.