Meat Breed

Dorper

Posted: April 19, 2021

Breed Type: Meat
Country of Origin: South Africa
Breed Association Website:

The Dorper is a South African mutton breed developed in the 1930’s from the Dorset Horn and  Blackheaded Persian. The breed was developed for the arid extensive regions of South Africa. One of the most fertile of sheep breeds that is hornless with good body length and a short light covering of hair and wool. The breed has the characteristic black head (Dorper) as well as white heads (White Dorper). Furthermore the breed shows exceptional adaptability, hardiness, reproduction rates and growth (reaching 36 kg [~80 lbs] at three and a half to four months) as well as good mothering abilities.

The Dorper breed was developed through the crossing of the Blackhead Persian ewe with the Dorset Horn and this resulted in the birth of some white Dorper lambs. The difference in color is therefor merely a matter of preference for each breeder. Black-headed breeders constitute about 85% of the members of the Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society of South Africa.…

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 …

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 …

Hampshire

Posted: April 11, 2021

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

The Hampshire sheep was developed from the crossing of Southdowns and Wiltshire Horn-Berkshire/Knot crosses in Hampshire County in Southern England. Later improved using a Cotswold ram followed by two of the largest and best Southdown rams, the Hampshire breed was imported to North America for the first time in 1840. After being almost entirely killed off during the Civil War, the breed was re-introduced in 1865 and, since then, these larger meat sheep have become extremely popular throughout the nation for their rapid growth, efficient feed conversion, and carcass cutability. Given good pasture, these animals are known to be adaptable to various geographic regions and are not easily startled. In addition to their high-quality carcasses, Hampshire sheep are also noted as being quite prolific and good milkers.

Breed standards state that Hampshire sheep should have dark faces and broad muzzles with an unbroken wool cap from the neck over the forehead. From the eyes down, the face should be clear with the exception of some light feathering. Wool is desirable on the legs below the knee. Structurally, Hampshire sheep are expected to have legs placed under the corners …

Proposals for 2022 Fiber Arts Seminars now being accepted

We are now accepting proposals for fiber arts seminars to be held in conjunction with the 49th Annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival, which will take place in person on May 7 & 8, 2022 in West Friendship, Maryland. Many seminars will be held Wednesday-Friday of the week leading up to the festival; all seminars will be held in person. The Fiber Arts Seminar Committee invites instructors from every heritage, culture, belief system, and lifestyle to submit a proposal.

Submit your proposal(s) here.

The deadline to submit a proposal is July 15.…

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