Posts Tagged ‘Sheep’

Sheep

I am trying to decide if sheep will be worth our time and effort. I’d love to try my hand at spinning, but that can be accomplished with alpaca fibre instead. We need to try mutton to see if we actually like it (the Fella does not). I think having sheep for wool and meat would be the best for us, and if we aren’t going to eat the meat, I don’t know that it’s worth the investment to own them solely for wool when there are alpacas about. Nevertheless…

*Straw is best for sheep bedding. Wood chips are not absorbent enough and saw dust will ruin the fleece. Waste hay can work.

*Good ventilation is key. Drafts are not a big concern with sheep, but keeping the moisture and ammonia out of their shelter are of concern.

*Sheep seem to need to be dewormed fairly frequently (read about a ‘worm-resistant’ breed that needed to be dewormed every three months or so).

*It can be possibly, depending on personalities, to keep different species with sheep (like goats).

*Sheep can live into their teens. Rarely into their early 20s. Commercially-bred sheep rarely live past 8.

*Some breeds of sheep (particularly longwools) are often shorn twice a year, but typically, sheep are shorn in the spring.

(Source: http://www.barkingrock.com)

*The wool from one sheep is called a fleece, from many sheep, a clip.

*The amount of wool that a sheep produces depends upon its breed, genetics, nutrition, and shearing interval.

*Long Wool Sheep have the longest fibres, which makes their wool desirable to hand-spinners. Course and heavy fibres. Border Leicester, Coopworth, Cotswold, Lincoln, Perendale, Romney, Wensleydale.

270px-Lincoln_Longwool_Lamb

(Lincoln. Source: http://wikimedia.org)

*Medium Wool Sheep are typically used more for meat than for wool. They have the lightest-weight, least valuable fleeces. Medium wool is usually either felted or made into blankets, socks, and sweaters. Popular meat breeds are Suffolk, Dorset, Southdown, and Hampshire.

suffolksheep

(Suffolk Sheep. Source: http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com)

*Fine Wool Sheep produce the thinnest fibres, which are the most versatile. American Cormo, Booroola Merina, Debouillet, Delaine-Merino, Rambouillet are fine wool sheep breeds.

merinofinewool

(Merino Sheep. Source: http://www.bigpictureagriculture.com)

*This looks to be an excellent resource on starting out with sheep: http://www.sheep101.info/201/index.html