Sheep originated from Mouflon, a woolly ice age mountain animal, they were one of the first animals to be domesticated.
Sheep are raised all over the world, and an ever increasing amount of different breeds are being raised. The best breed for your area should take into account weather, forage, shelter and protection needs, and the availability of such breeds in your area. Some sheep are chosen for their mothering ability or prolific twining or ability to breed on an accelerated program. If you intend on having a large herd out to range you would want to choose a breed that has good herding instinct. Cheese has long been made out of sheep's milk, breeds that milk well are needed in a Sheep dairy. While most sheep have wool, each breed has an individual type of wool with specific uses. As with many types of animals some sheep are dual purpose producing both excellent wool and meat. The profit you expect of your sheep will also guide you in your choice of breed.
Different potential sources of sheep income include: Wool, for handspinners or crafters, freezer lambs, lambskins, Breeding stock, Ram rental, cheese from sheep's milk, soap and candles from tallow, handspun yarns, felt making, manure for gardens, and if you get real handy shearing for hire. Each breed will have its greatest potential in one or more areas but most breeds will not excel in every area.
By clicking on the buttons below you can see our photo albums of sheep and shearing. You can also visit our other album pages for more pictures.
Some of our sheep just before lambing 2001.
Shearing day at Goldenrod Farm.
Jacob sheep are an old breed of sheep, almost extinct at one time, they are now increasing in numbers. They have two distinctive features, their color and their horns. Jacob sheep should be mostly white with black spotting and black eye patches. Jacob sheep may produce anywhere from two to six horns, depending on the individual. Many people mistaken Jacob sheep for goats because of their horns and general build.
Jacob sheep have a very fine wool which may be spun with colors separated or all together so it comes out like a tweed. The brown wool is usually shorter then the white, giving them a ragged appearance in the spring before shearing.
Hickory and Doc our two Jacob sheep are whethers their horns curl around, similar to mountain sheep horns, but black. Both the Hickory and Doc's horns are going around for a second curl
Natural colored Romney sheep
Romney sheep are one of three long wooled breeds. They come in white and natural colors. Natural colored sheep are very black when born but fade out to greys and silver grays when older. The sun bleaches the black coats giving them a chocolate look.
Romneys originated in the marsh lands of England. Their thick stand-up coats help protect them from snows, and they are supposed to be more resistance to foot rot and liver flukes, both problems in marsh lands. The wool of the Romney is suitable for heavy socks, mittens and outer wear. Lambs from Romneys are favored as meat animals due to the mild flavor.
We have had Registered Romney sheep on Goldenrod Farm for 7 years. Our flock of 8 includes 6 mature Ewes, 2 black and 4 white. Each Ewe will produce lambs, usually twins, in April. Our ram, Thorn, is a white ram, one of a set of triplets.
We also have a ram lamb, Bilbo Baggins was used for breeding this year for the first time. If you are familiar with The Hobbit, you will remember the scene where Gandolf is telling the dwarfs that they can stop at 13 and have all the bad luck in the world or take Bilbo as # 14. Phoster was the last to lamb that year and had a white ewe about 4pm, after several hours she seemed to done having babies so I went to have dinner, after checking her after dinner I decided she would only have a single this year, our last and 13th lamb. At 9pm I went to check all the animals and there she was just licking dry a little black ram, Bilbo, lamb number 14.
Each sheep has an ear tag for identification purposes, but they also have names. The Ewes are Leah, Diana, Snowflake, Judy, Maura and Pam.
All the sheep are sheared in May. Each fleece weighs about 8 to 15 lbs depending on the size of the sheep. The young stock will have the longest length of wool in their first clip of lambs wool.
Don't forget to check out Leah's picture in the Photo Album.
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