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Merino

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Wool Breed
Country of Origin: Spain
Breed Association Website: countrylovin.com/ADMRA

The Merino sheep is a very important and popular breed of domestic sheep. It was originated in Spain and it is highly prized for it’s wool.

The modern Merino sheep were domesticated in Australia and New Zealand. Sheep were introduced by the Phoenicians from Asia Minor into North Africa.

And the foundation stocks of the Merino might have been introduced by the Marinids, a tribe of Berbers in Spain as late as the twelve century.

Although there were reports of the breed in the Iberian peninsula before the arrival of the Marinids; perhaps these came from the Merinos or tax collectors of the Kingdom of León, who charged the tenth in wool, beef jerky and cheese.

The Spanish breeders introduced English sheep breeds, which they used and bred with the local sheep breeds for developing the Merino sheep in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries.

This influence was openly documented by the Spanish writers at the time. Most of the flocks of these animals were owned by nobility or the church. And the flock grazed the southern plains of Spain in winter and the northern highlands in summer. The Merino sheep is the foundation stock of many well known and modern sheep breeds. And today, they are available in many countries, almost throughout the world.

Dorset – Horned

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: dorsets.homestead.com

The Dorset is an ancient breed likely developed from white faced, horned, short wooled sheep that thrived in the sheltered valleys and lush hill pastures of southwestern England. Today, the Dorset is globally distributed and found in two varieties, Horned and Polled. The Dorset Horn (or Horned Dorset) is of conservation interest.

Dorsets are white sheep with open faces and long bodies. Ewes weigh 150–200 pounds, and rams weigh 225–275 pounds. The sheep are avid grazers and use feed well. Ewes are heavy milkers, easily able to raise their own lambs. They have also been used in dairying. Dorset sheep produce between five and nine pounds of medium grade wool per year. In the Horn variety, both ewes and rams carry horns. Ewes’ horns are light, curving forward neatly; rams’ horns are heavy and spiral out as well as curving forward.

The single most important attribute of the Dorset is its extended breeding season, also called nonseasonal or aseasonal breeding. This characteristic, not found in any other British breed, is an important performance trait. Sheep of most breeds are seasonal breeders, mating in the fall and producing lambs in the spring. In contrast, Dorsets can be bred in the spring for production of lambs in the fall. Some ewes will raise two sets of lambs a year, with multiple births not uncommon. Dorsets tolerate heat well, and heat tolerance contributes to Dorset rams’ ability to breed earlier in the season than rams of other breeds.

Dorset Horn sheep were imported into the United States about 1860, though the breed did not appear in large numbers until the 1880s. The Continental Dorset Club was organized in 1890. In the early 1950s, a genetic mutation causing polledness occurred in the flock at North Carolina State University. The Polled Dorset variety was developed there. (Polled Dorsets were also developed in Australia earlier in the 1900s, though they originated from the introduction of Corriedale and Ryeland blood into the Dorset Horn.)

Shropshire

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: shropshires.org

Shropshires are a medium sized sheep that originated in the Shropshire Hills of England. They have a black face and are shown slick sheared. This breed is known for their meaty carcasses, great mothering abilities, and high growth rate.


This breed presented by

Mellow Meadow Farm
Lizzy Miller
12815A Woodsboro Pike
Keymar, MD 21757
(301) 788-5575

Bluefaced Leicester

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Wool Breed
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Breed Association Website: bflsheep.com

The Bluefaced Leicester is one of the three Leicester breeds of sheep [English Leicester Longwool, Border Leicester, and Bluefaced Leicester].

The Old English Leicester, Teeswater, Dishley Leicester (or Bakewell’s “Improved Leicester”), Border Leicester, and Wensleydale all contributed to the eventual development of the Bluefaced Leicester. Therefore, the Bluefaced Leicester is classified as a longwool breed.

Though its fleece is typically at the finer end of the longwool range, it exhibits characteristics unique to longwools, most notably staple length and structure.

On both white and natural colored Bluefaced Leicesters, the wool should be tightly purled, fine, dense, semi-lustrous, and when parted, it should open cleanly to the skin. There should be an even, consistent fleece coverage on the body, and the fleece should be free of hair and kemp. There should be no tendency for the main body of fleece to “peel” (the fleece breaking and sloughing off).

The Bluefaced Leicester is classified as a longwool breed with a staple length of 3-6 inches, a fleece weight of 2½-4½ lbs., and a fiber diameter of 56s–60s count, or 24-28 microns. It creates high-quality semi-luster yarns with soft hand, beautiful drape, and excellent dyeing properties.


This breed presented by

Marlindale Farm
Margie Smith
45 Robinson Dr
New Oxford, PA 17350
(717) 624-4742

marlindalefarm.net

Leicester Longwool

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: leicesterlongwool.org

The fleece of the Leicester Longwool is prized by hand spinners and crafters for its curl, soft handle, and lustrous beauty. The fleece generally weighs from 11-18 pounds, although heavier fleeces have been recorded. The wool has an evenness of length with a spiral tipped staple length of up to 14 inches in twelve months growth. The wool dyes exceptionally well, maintaining the purity of color; the natural luster still shines through. This premium wool is very versatile, working well for combing for worsted products, carding for woolen products, and felting projects. The Leicester can be shorn twice per year. The Leicester Longwool is a medium to large polled breed with a high quality carcass, whose poll is well covered with locks of wool. Mature rams weigh 200-300 pounds and ewes weigh 150-200 pounds. The breed is white and natural in color.


This breed presented by

Clark Family Farms
Mary EllenClark
7902 Rocky Acre Drive
Thurmont, MD 21788
(301) 271-1020

Dorset – Polled

Posted: April 16, 2021

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: United states
Breed Association Website: dorsets.homestead.com

Horned Dorsets were imported into this country in 1860 to the West Coast. Horned Dorsets were the dominate type of Dorset sheep in America until the development of the Polled Dorsets in the 1950’s. Polled Dorsets were developed from a gene mutation. The polled strain has helped Dorsets become one of the most popular sheep breeds in the country today, where it has the largest white face breed registry in the country and second overall.

Dorset wool is also amazing to spin. It is a nice spongy soft fiber for mittens, socks and outer clothing.


This breed presented by

Stunkel Dorsets
Glenn Stunkel
PO Box 10
Tuscarora, MD 21790
(301) 639-7257

facebook.com/StunkelDorsets

Montadale

Posted: April 15, 2021

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: United States
Breed Association Website: montadales.com

The history of the Montadale breed of sheep dates back to over half a century and is one of the most amazing success stories in modern sheep-breeding history. While other breeds have been developed in the United States, Montadales are the only breed to have been developed by private enterprise.

Much of the credit for the development of the breed goes to E.H. Mattingly, a well- known commercial lamb buyer who was obsessed with the idea of producing the ideal sheep. Early in his youth, Mattingly had been advised that if he could bring together the qualities of the big western white-faced sheep and the popular mutton characteristics of the Midwestern sheep, he would have the perfect breed.

Many breed combinations were crossed throughout the years, but it wasn’t until 1932 when he purchased the first Columbia ram to go east of the Mississippi River to cross on his Purebred Cheviot ewes that provided Mattingly proof that his mission was on target.

In order to find the most profitable combination, the sire and dam of the two parent breeds were eventually reversed, with testing being conducted for several years such as growth and development of the lambs, the number of lambs per ewe, lamb weights and fleece weight and grade. The records clearly proved that the best results were from this cross.

With adoption of the Columbia ewe and the Cheviot ram as the foundation of the Montadale breed, the next step was to establish a “Standard of Excellence” or the blueprint for all future breeders to use as a guideline for breeding of this ideal dual-purpose sheep.

The standard had eight points:

  • Small head – to reduce or eliminate lambing trouble
  • Open face – to prevent wool blindness
  • Clean legs – prevents foreign objects from damaging fleece and carcass
  • Choice mutton quality – desired by both packer and consumer
  • Heavy fleece – premium quality (medium blood)-wool free of black fibers
  • Prolific – a breed that would produce a high percentage of lambs
  • Good mothers – a sheep that would claim its young
  • Strong, healthy, and vigorous – a sheep with style and alertness

Nine more years of selective culling and line breeding produced a sheep which consistently met the desired standard. E.H. Mattingly’s dream was realized, and although still in its infancy, the Montadale breed was officially established.

In 1945, the Montadale Sheep Breeders Association was founded with five charter members; E.H. Mattingly becoming the first Executive Secretary and Anne Gregory the Secretary-Treasurer. By 1946, there were over 110 members with approximately 5,500 head throughout 16 states. However, it wasn’t until February 1947 that the Association was officially incorporated after securing a charter from the State of Missouri. The establishment of the first National Montadale Show and Sale soon followed in July 1947 and was held in Montgomery City, Missouri, in conjunction with the local county fair.

Montadale fleeces are gaining popularity with spinners and crafters.


This breed presented by

My Montadales
Kendra Fleck
47289 SD Highway 324
Brookings, South Dakota 57006
(814) 441-0981

Cheviot

Posted: April 15, 2021

Breed Type: Meat Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: www.cheviots.org

The modern Cheviot breed has been produced by selection rather than by crossing. It is a pure breed, one of a very few in this country. Because of this purity, when the Cheviot ram is mated with crossbred ewes of other breeds, he stamps an unmistakable Cheviotness on his offspring, importing to them a large measure of the superiority of which Cheviots are known. The breed is also recommended for its extreme hardiness. This is one of the breed’s strongest characteristics. For generations raised on the Cheviot Hills, rarely seeing the inside of a shed or barn, summer or winter, Cheviots have, from force of circumstances, developed into the hardiest of the medium-wool breeds. The newborn lambs are strong, vigorous and alert and are born with a will to live. Their unusual vitality and hardiness makes them easy to raise, and with reasonable care, losses are insignificant.

Cheviots produce generous fleeces of white wool which is preferred by mills because its fineness, crimp, and length of staple give it superior spinning and combing qualities, and its low grease content causes less shrinkage in scouring. The fleece is usually grades 1/4 to 3/8 blood combing and is usually from four to five inches in length. Rams will normally shear 9 to 13 lbs., and the ewe will produce fleeces of 8 to 10 lbs.

Cheviot Ewe
Cheviot Ewe

This breed presented by

Speedy’s Cheviots
Karen Fought
230 W Middlesex Dr
Carlisle, PA 17013
(717) 440-3423

Lincoln

Posted: April 15, 2021

Breed Type: Wool Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: lincolnsheepbreeders.com

History of the Breed

Long-wool sheep appear to have ancestry from white-fleeced sheep imported to England from the European continent during the Roman occupation. Evidence of this body-type of sheep with similar fleece exists as figurines from the continent dating to the second century. The next evidence of long-wool sheep comes from Lincolnshire, appearing as a detailed illustration in the ‘Luttrell Psalter’ written between 1320 and 1340. In approximately 1460, a brass memorial with a curly-fleeced sheep was placed on the Northleach Church, Gloustershire.

The “old” Lincoln was first identified and depicted in the 1700’s. Robert Bakewell (1725-95), a famous livestock breeder, used the “old” Lincoln with other native stock while creating his “new” Leicester sheep by using inbreeding. Later, Lincolnshire sheepmen used “new” Leicester rams on “old” coarse-wool Lincoln ewes to begin development of the “improved” Lincoln using selective crossbreeding.

Many of the ‘longwool’ breeds likely have a similar developmental history involving Lincoln and Leicester foundations. The distinctly hardy “improved” Lincoln evolved during the 1800’s toward the dual-purpose breed we have today. The “improved” Lincoln combined more quality meat with a higher quality of wool than the “old” Lincoln. Although the wool was of a finer diameter, it took dye very well and retained its strength for the combing and worsted spinning processes used at that time. It was this “improved” Lincoln that led to the accumulation of great wealth in Lincolnshire and surrounding counties for many decades.

In the latter 1800’s, the value of using the Lincoln in crossbreeding programs was recognized. Lincoln breeding sheep were exported world wide for upgrading local breeding stock. Breeds eventually developed by using Lincoln parents included Corriedale, Polwarth, Columbia, Bond, Armenian Semi-Course Wool, and Panama. From these breeds, second-generation breeds were subsequently developed in the US, such as Montadale and Targhee.


This breed presented by

Little Creek
Barbara Mullen
10634 Old Frederick Rd
Thurmont, MD 21788
(240) 793-9135

Southdown

Posted: April 15, 2021

Breed Type: Meat Breed
Country of Origin: England
Breed Association Website: southdownsheep.org

The Southdown is one of the oldest purebred sheep breeds in the world. The breed originated centuries ago in the hills of Sussex, England, long know as the “Downs.”

There is little written history or description of the Southdown dating earlier than two hundred fifty years ago. The early Southdown was noted for some important qualities for which they have since become especially famous, they had a good leg, and their meat was excellent, possessing remarkable flavor.

Early literature indicates that Southdowns were among the animals brought into the English colonies as early as 1640. Later, documented importations where made into the United States from 1824 to 1829 from the English flock of John Ellman.

The 1960’s saw increased importation of the larger New Zealand Southdown to upscale the American Southdown. The increased size resulting from blending the New Zealand genetics into many flocks across the U.S. is the reason for much of the success and popularity of the modern day Southdown.

Southdowns are excelling as terminal sires in commercial production flocks, receiving the final handshake in supreme champion drives all over the country and are the first choice of many youth, families and sheep producers. Check out this website to see what all of the excitement is about! Most of all, let us know how we can help you explore the Southdown breed!


This breed presented by

Little Creek
Konnor Sowell
10634 Old Frederick Rd, 4
Thurmont, MD 21788
(240) 793-9135

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