Sunday, December 11, 2011

Still thinking about sheep. Faroes sheep aren't available in the U.S.. If I could learn how to do A.I. with sheep (reportedly it's harder to artificially inseminate sheep than goats, and goats are already fairly challenging) then I could possibly import Faroe semen and use it on Gotland or Icelandic ewes and breed up until I had high percentage Faroes. See Faroes sheep here.

However, I've also been interested in Cotswolds for years. They have long, lustrous, crimpy wool and their meat is very mild flavored. The wool looks something like this and it sells for $15 per lb with weights or 7-9 lbs per $120 in fleece per year, assuming they're sheared only once a year. Apparently fleece weights can be up to 15 lbs. Cotswolds are a rare breed and they're rumored to be gentle and friendly....qualities which are paramount for me in any animal (or person).

The Leicesters are another very interesting breed. There are three breeds of Leicesters, the Blue Faced Leicester, the Border Leicester and the Leicester Longwool. I have no real experience with the wool of these breeds, let alone the finer distinctions between them, so when I found a braid of Blue Faced Leicester (BFL for short) at a local weaving shop, I bought it up in order to experience the qualities of the wool first hand.

All of the longwool sheep (including Cotswolds, Lincolns, etc) tend to have very mild flavored meat on very large carcasses. If I can get a wool that has luster, good crimp and a good micron count on a sheep with a pleasant personality and with good meat qualities, the only remaining issue is that I don't want to have to dock tails, and longwools tend to have normal (i.e. long) tails, unlike Finnish Landrace and the other short tailed Scandinavian breeds.

The one thing I do know is that I don't want to crossbreed whatever sheep I get. I'd be willing to have more than one breed, but I want to preserve the breeds that I get, not crossbreed them into oblivion. task now is to try to secure samples of wool from these breeds and spin them up and compare them.

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