Saturday, November 26, 2011

Despite not having any place to keep them, nor any idea of where to be able to keep them in the future, I am still intrigued by the idea of having sheep some time in the future, and of having them graze under the orchard of antique varieties of apples selected for superior taste. There are a lot of sheep breeds, so even though I am wanting to raise a rare or less common breed of sheep, there are still a lot of breeds to choose from. Hey, we all need pipe dreams....

Selection criteria:

  • Wool: it needs to be a good handspinning wool, appealing to handspinners. Ideally it would be fine, lustrous, free of kemp, and it would be nice if the breed had the possibility of colored individuals. The combination of fine and lustrous may not be possible.

  • Hardy: it needs to be a breed that can thrive in our climate with cold winters and rainy falls and springs. Since I'd be raising them organically, parasite and disease resistance is also pretty crucial.

  • Temperament: It needs to be reasonably gentle. I do not want to be attacked by rams, which, for the record, are less predictable and more dangerous than buck goats. Intelligence and a calm temperament would be really nice traits to have.

  • Horns: both for defense and because there is probably a small market for horned skulls whereas almost none for sheep skulls without horns.

  • Naturally short tails: Because I think cutting tails off sheep is inhumane and barbaric.

  • If I had my druthers, I'd like to have a Scandinavian breed. These are always tough, hardy animals that can take a hard winter and the wool will have been bred for good handspinning and knitting qualities rather than as meat only with wool as an incidental.

  • It'd be nice if the sheep were small, for ease of handling and to graze under the trees.
Faroes: I am still looking for info on the wool qualities of this otherwise interesting breed.

Oooooooh, here is a neat link: north European sheep breeds

Another likely prospect, the Gotland breed

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