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Rideau Arcott sheep

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#1 geonni banner

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Posted 14 October 2011 - 07:54 PM

Does anyone here know about these sheep? Are they good milkers? Hard to find? Expensive? Would two or three sheep (of any kind) be happy, or do they need a bigger flock? How much pasture would 3 sheep require to stay happy and healthy? I don't fancy keeping a ram... Is it necessary, or can you send ewes off to be bred?

Aren't I just full of questions...

Suggestions of other breeds good for producing milk would be welcome. I like the look of Karaculs, but I realize it's a poor reason to choose a breed. I thought those Cheviots (at Chaffin's Stock Dog Trial) were very appealing too. But both may be useless for producing milk.

I may get to move to the country next year, and I want to keep chickens. But I know a good bit about chickens, having spent part of my childhood on an egg farm. Sheep however, are a mystery to me. But I think I'd like to try my hand at making cheese.

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#2 NorthfieldNick


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Posted 14 October 2011 - 08:32 PM

For real milk production, you want East Friesians or Dorsets. They're not all that hardy, though, so crossbreds are nice. Talk to Tea. She has spent years working on a hardy, milky, tough sheep. I have two ewes from her- they're really cute next to my huge Cheviots- that I plan to milk next year. I believe her cross has some Rideau Arcott in there.

Even milky sheep have a shorter milking season and produce less than (don't look, Bill) goats. Our Nubian does milk quite a bit and the high-fat milk makes great cheese.

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#3 Tea


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Posted 15 October 2011 - 07:22 AM

What Ben said!

And remember to get alot of milk you have to feed REALLY well. Just like a dairy cow or goat. They will not produce a ton of milk unless you feed them like a dairy animal.

Good Luck

#4 Cynthia P

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Posted 20 October 2011 - 07:25 AM

Canadian Breed of sheep and I expect they would be very hard to find in the USA with the border closed to breeding stock.

Great milky sheep but not particularly hardy


Arcott stands for Agriculture Research Center Ottawa

#5 Jo&Tex



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Posted 18 January 2012 - 09:00 AM

At one time, this farm was milking 200 Rideau Arcotts every day. The local cheese plant closed down and we were left without a market for our milk. We made sheeps milk soap for a while with our excess milk. We scaled back and now have 50 or so RA's. We live in Ottawa and the research farm that developed them is barely a half hour from here.

They are horrible mothers....truly awful. They have their lambs while feeding at the bale and walk away. They drop them on the pasture and walk away. We do lamb checks all night long but unless we're out there with a catchers mitt all night, we lose lambs to chilling. If you jug them up early, they go squirrelly trying to get back with their buddies and tromple their newborns.
Before I moved here, I heard from a friend that RA's were useless and I've found that to be true.

On the plus side, as meat animals, the lambs are good gainers and can be pushed hard. They make consistant quality market lambs. Thats the only reason we still keep RA's.

I'm a soap and cheese maker...get some Nubian goats. They have great rich milk for cheesemaking. They are also not convinced that everything we do is an attempt to murder them!

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