New Homestead in Montana

MtViking

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Hello, thank you for letting me join the group. We are starting a small homestead/farm in Montana. We just moved into a house with 13acres and can’t wait to get it started. I have my meat rabbits started, with 3 pedigree Satins, 1 blue otter buck, 1 blue otter doe, and 1 blue doe. We’ve got a good start on the chicken coop and will be adding layers this coming February. Our goal is to have milk goats, and black belly sheep in the next 2-3 years. We are also getting a good garden ready for next spring and have a green house that came attached the the house that I’m going to get fixed up and solid so we hopefully will have a few year round veggies.
 

Baymule

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Congratulations on your dream come true! Welcome to the forum from Texas. We retired and are living our dream too, on 8 acres. We have 4 horses, 2 are old and retired like us, LOL. We have Katahdin hair Sheep, 2 Great Pyrenees and 1 Labrador/Great Dane. Lots of chickens and a Guinea trip. A big garden currently grown up in weeds and lots of projects for Fall, Winter and Spring before the heat hits.

Post lots of pictures! We love pictures!
 

MtViking

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Congratulations on your dream come true! Welcome to the forum from Texas. We retired and are living our dream too, on 8 acres. We have 4 horses, 2 are old and retired like us, LOL. We have Katahdin hair Sheep, 2 Great Pyrenees and 1 Labrador/Great Dane. Lots of chickens and a Guinea trip. A big garden currently grown up in weeds and lots of projects for Fall, Winter and Spring before the heat hits.

Post lots of pictures! We love pictures!
Ok I can do that. Lol. How do you like raising the Katahdin sheep. I’ve never raised sheep but I really like the American black belly. I had read they are very hardy and easy to take care of for a beginner, plus their horns are awesome, and they compared the taste to venison. Growing up in Montana my whole family (6 of us) loves venison, antelope, and elk.
 

farmerjan

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:welcome:welcome. Good luck into turning the dream into reality. I love all the pictures I have seen of Montana, would like to travel out west to see some of this country. But I don't think I could take the winters.

One thing about the American Black Belly sheep. Although they are pretty hardy, they are also very high strung. The Mouflon in their ancestry makes them quite easily startled and on "high alert". They are bred from breeds that are considered "semi-wild" or feral. They are faster than any breed of sheep you would be familiar with in the conventional domestic breeds. They are very good jumpers and an average 48" fence will not keep them in if they decide they want out. They will go under or through fences that have a small hole or space, or that are not real secure.
I am not saying that they cannot be tamed. Bottle fed lambs that are dependent on you from birth, will become very tame. But the instincts are there. We have raised Barbados BB, and had Mouflon for awhile. The Mouflon are NOT very hardy in conditions that are not more desert like. We currently have White Texas Dall sheep, and raise them for the rams "horns" or trophy heads. We sell the rams to hunting preserves. The Amercian BB were also designed for that market with a carcass that had more meat than the Barbados.

I am not sure that you will find them all that easy to care for. They have worm problems like all sheep and because they were originally from a hot climate with different conditions, when they get transplanted to a different climate, they are as susceptible to things like worms/parasites as any other breed. There are strains that have been bred over years to be parasite resistant. We currently have 3 different strains of the Dalls, that we are using to try to develop a better Dall sheep. One has magnificent horns and is very susceptible to parasites, with average feet problems. One has decent horns and great feet. One has mediocre horns, is parasite tolerant and horrible feet, and is the calmest of the groups. We are trying to get the three melded together to give us an animal that produces good healthy feet, parasite tolerant, with good marketable heads. 20 years and we still aren't where we want to be. Our biggest challenge is the feet and parasite resistance. Because of the wetter conditions than what these animals are bred from, they are very susceptible to the barber pole worm and the greener grass and wetter conditions here make it the number one internal parasite problem. It does not automatically change in one generation even if they are born in your climate and conditions.

They do lamb easily on their own. Lambs are up and going faster than a rabbit in less than a few hours. If we don't get them caught and tagged within 12 hours, then you won't catch them unless you run them into a catch pen. Ewes are very good mothers. These are slower growing than conventional breeds and do not put on the meat/carcass that "tamer" breeds do. Yes it is a "gamier flavor" like wild game, but still pretty good. It will take alot longer to get a carcass weight on these breeds as they were originally designed for breeding of their "horns".
Yes Hair sheep are a great thing to not have to deal with shearing. We switched from dorsets years ago partially due to the shearing of wool and no market for it, as well as liking the horns, and my son worked with a friend that raised all sorts of exotics so had access to many breeds.
If you can get some locally, that are more used to your conditions, then that is better. But please realize they are not the average dispositioned sheep. Beautiful to look at, but they have these "wilder" tendencies. You might be better with a more tame "hair sheep" such as the Katahdins, or Dorpers, just for the dispositions, as well as having more body for meat and no major horns to deal with.

Just wanted you to be aware of some of their traits.
 

MtViking

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:welcome:welcome. Good luck into turning the dream into reality. I love all the pictures I have seen of Montana, would like to travel out west to see some of this country. But I don't think I could take the winters.

One thing about the American Black Belly sheep. Although they are pretty hardy, they are also very high strung. The Mouflon in their ancestry makes them quite easily startled and on "high alert". They are bred from breeds that are considered "semi-wild" or feral. They are faster than any breed of sheep you would be familiar with in the conventional domestic breeds. They are very good jumpers and an average 48" fence will not keep them in if they decide they want out. They will go under or through fences that have a small hole or space, or that are not real secure.
I am not saying that they cannot be tamed. Bottle fed lambs that are dependent on you from birth, will become very tame. But the instincts are there. We have raised Barbados BB, and had Mouflon for awhile. The Mouflon are NOT very hardy in conditions that are not more desert like. We currently have White Texas Dall sheep, and raise them for the rams "horns" or trophy heads. We sell the rams to hunting preserves. The Amercian BB were also designed for that market with a carcass that had more meat than the Barbados.

I am not sure that you will find them all that easy to care for. They have worm problems like all sheep and because they were originally from a hot climate with different conditions, when they get transplanted to a different climate, they are as susceptible to things like worms/parasites as any other breed. There are strains that have been bred over years to be parasite resistant. We currently have 3 different strains of the Dalls, that we are using to try to develop a better Dall sheep. One has magnificent horns and is very susceptible to parasites, with average feet problems. One has decent horns and great feet. One has mediocre horns, is parasite tolerant and horrible feet, and is the calmest of the groups. We are trying to get the three melded together to give us an animal that produces good healthy feet, parasite tolerant, with good marketable heads. 20 years and we still aren't where we want to be. Our biggest challenge is the feet and parasite resistance. Because of the wetter conditions than what these animals are bred from, they are very susceptible to the barber pole worm and the greener grass and wetter conditions here make it the number one internal parasite problem. It does not automatically change in one generation even if they are born in your climate and conditions.

They do lamb easily on their own. Lambs are up and going faster than a rabbit in less than a few hours. If we don't get them caught and tagged within 12 hours, then you won't catch them unless you run them into a catch pen. Ewes are very good mothers. These are slower growing than conventional breeds and do not put on the meat/carcass that "tamer" breeds do. Yes it is a "gamier flavor" like wild game, but still pretty good. It will take alot longer to get a carcass weight on these breeds as they were originally designed for breeding of their "horns".
Yes Hair sheep are a great thing to not have to deal with shearing. We switched from dorsets years ago partially due to the shearing of wool and no market for it, as well as liking the horns, and my son worked with a friend that raised all sorts of exotics so had access to many breeds.
If you can get some locally, that are more used to your conditions, then that is better. But please realize they are not the average dispositioned sheep. Beautiful to look at, but they have these "wilder" tendencies. You might be better with a more tame "hair sheep" such as the Katahdins, or Dorpers, just for the dispositions, as well as having more body for meat and no major horns to deal with.

Just wanted you to be aware of some of their traits.
Wow thank you, I didn’t find any of that info online lol. They would be local there’s 3 breeders around me for American and a couple Barbosa. That’s some fantastic advice and information. I really appreciate it. I will look into some of those other breeds as well. I don’t mind a challenge but that might be too much of a challenge for a new guy like myself. I don’t know if there’s much market for the horns here but I sure like em . We have some pretty strict laws in Mt about raising “game” animals so Dall sheep are definitely not an option for me lol those are awesome looking sheep though. Thanks again.
 
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