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These will be the sheep breeders at the auction.

 

It has been a long time coming. Keeva and I are ready.

 

Any suggestions AGAIN are welcome.

 

 

Babydoll Southdown Sheep

www.cfminifarms.com

Breeders of Olde English Babydoll Southdowns

 

 

Bluefaced Leicester

www.BreezyMeadowsFarm.com

 

Cormo Sheep

•Buckwheat Bridge Angoras

www.bwbagoats.com

Breeders of registered Cormo Sheep, Natural Colored Sheep (Fine), Registered White and Natural Colored Angora Goats and Maremma Livestock Guardian Sheepdogs.

 

Corriedale Sheep

•Black Sheep Farm

Breeders of Corriedale Sheep

 

 

Cotswold Sheep

•Driftways Farm

Breeders of purebred Cotswold Sheep

 

Catherine Snook

[Breeders of Cotswold and Jacob Sheep

 

 

Dorset Sheep

•Oakleaf Hill Farm

Breeders of Dorset Sheep

 

•Plains View Farm

[b]Breeders of Dorset Sheep

 

•RY - KY Ranch

Breeders of Dorset and Southdown Sheep

 

Hampshire sheep

[email protected]

Breeders of Hamshire sheep, Suffolk Sheep and Market Lambs

 

Icelandic Sheep

•Homestead Farm

Red Hook, NY 12571

[email protected]

Breeders of Icelandic and Shetland Sheep

 

 

 

Merino Sheep

•Black Sheep Farm

Breeders of Merino Sheep

 

Natural Colored Sheep

•Pumpkin Ridge Farm

Breeders of Natural Colored Sheep (Medium)

 

 

Oxford Sheep

•Birch Bark Acres

Breeders of Oxford Sheep

 

•Century Farm

Breeders of Oxford and Grade Sheep

 

•Willow Tree Farm

Breeders of Oxford Sheep

 

 

Polypay Sheep

•La Fileuse and Les Brebis

 

Rambouilett Sheep

•Wil - Hi Farms

Breeders of Rambouilett Sheep, Suffolk Sheep, Crosses

 

 

Romney Sheep

•Anchorage Farm

www.americanromney.org/anchoragefarm

Breeders of Romney Sheep

 

 

Shetland Sheep

•Homestead Farm

Breeders of Shetland and Icelandic Sheep

 

 

Suffolk Sheep

•MCS/CMS Livestock

Breeders of Suffolk sheep, Hampshire sheep and Market Lambs

 

 

Texel Sheep

•La Fileuse and Les Brebis

Carleton, NS B0W 1L0

Canada

920-761-2324

[email protected]

 

Tunis Sheep

•Jewel Tunis Farm

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ohhh..what type of auction is this? Do you have a link to it?

 

What are your goals with your sheep flock? Fiber production, meat production or simply dog training?

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Looks like we posted at the same time. If you're planning on wool sheep I really like my tunis. They are pretty mellow, don't get overly heavy when worked by dogs, and have much better parasite resistance than the other wool breeds I have (and my tunis crosses also seem to maintain that parasite resistance). But it really comes down to what you like. Remember that sheep that are not clean faced will be wool blind at times, which will make them more difficult to work because their woolly heads will prevent them from seeing the dogs and so they will react more slowly and require more exaggerated flanks when being worked.

 

J.

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Keeva and I are working with Dorset's at the farm on the weekends.

 

I am becoming partial to them, But I never heard of some of the others.

 

It should be fun to see them if they are all there.

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Thanks Julie,

 

On one of my previous threads, a few like the tunis.

 

I am looking forward to talking to the breeder. Have you had hoof problems with them?

 

Thanks for the tip about wolly face, didn't know that.

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I guess I would think about working backwards looking at things like what I want to use the wool for, for my own use or to sell, in both cases determine if there is a breed that would suit my demands or my wool buyers demands better. Also, feed availability, we have 10 suffolk ewes and 30 katahdin/barbado crosses that have a touch of dorper in them, those 10 suffolk ewes cost us more to feed then all 30 of the hair ewes. We may as well be feeding 10 ponies and we have to find someone to shear them if we don't sell them, which we will be doing next week and then replacing them next spring with another set of undogged ewes for our older dogs. Our focus is dog training and providing replacement sheep for others, our lambs at 8 weeks old have been going for $100 each picked up, averaging over $3.00 a lb. Some go to be fed out for the ethenic market some go into other small low maintainence flocks as replacement ewes.

 

The weaned lamb market in your area might also be something worth looking into, you may find that there is a greater demand for milkfed lambs at certain times of the year then there are producers to fill it.

 

All questions that you may be able to ask and find the answers to at the sheep and wool festival.

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Robin,

I love my tunis, but Debbie makes some good points. Hair sheep are much lower maintenance. When I used to keep hair sheep for puppy sheep and lessons, they pretty much lived (stayed fat) on air. The woolies *had* to be fed in the poor forage months. Some breeds are obviously hardier than others, and of course, smaller sheep will have lower feed requirements. So you do need to consider exactly what your goals are with your sheep.

 

Tunis can have funky feet. The group I have now doesn't require any more maintenance in that department than my other breeds, BUT one problem you will run into if you choose one of the rare breeds is that breeders sometimes choose to live with some issues (like problem feet) in order to preserve the whole animal/breed. This is a consideration whenever you have limited genetics and you have to make tough choices about what issues you can live with and what issues you want to work on in your breeding program. I know you haven't mentioned rare breeds specifically, but tunis is considered a rare breed, as are the karakuls I used to raise. For the karakuls there were something like five basic genetic lines from five flocks that were used as the foundation animals when the decision was made to prevent the breed from going extinct in this country. So you've got bigger concerns (trying to keep the breed as genetically diverse as possible) than, say, sheep that might not have perfect feet.

 

Anyway, the point is that the tunis breed isn't as rare as it once was, and so it's possible now to focus on things like hardy feet. It's not as easy to do that with a breed like the karakul, which is still pretty darn rare. I actually even got to the point with my karakuls where I wasn't having foot problems, but I had to cull heavily, and that's a very hard choice to make when there are so few of them to start with.

 

As Debbie notes, what you plan to do with your sheep (outside of training dogs) will somewhat dictate what breeds you may choose. If you'd like to sell fleeces to handspinners and want to sell fat lambs to the ethnic market, you might make one choice; if you want to spend minimal time/money on maintenance, you might make another.

 

One caution: And this is a generalization, but should be kept in mind, sheep that you see at shows are raised to be show winners and so their nutrition is much more optimal than what you might want to provide if you have chosen a production flock system with minimal grain input. So as you're looking at sheep and talking to their breeders, for the breeds you particularly like try to get out of the owners how they are managing their sheep. Do they live strictly on pasture? Are they fed grain? If so, how much. Look at their shapes. The more potbellied shape (vs. a tubular body) means that the sheep has gut space to process large amounts of forage. Sheep shaped like that should be able to utilize pasture well. Sheep that are more tubular shaped won't be able to manage as well on a strict pasture system.

 

Everyone will tell you that their sheep are parasite resistant. They can't all be right! I've found that the blackfaced breeds I've had are *less* parasite resistant than some of my other breeds. For example, my Suffolk cross lambs and the Scotch mules and their crosses *always* require more worming than any of my other sheep. My tunis do the best. My NCC and Clun mules fall somewhere in between.

 

If you find a breed/producer you really like, talk to them about the possibility of getting a whole starter flock. You might be able to find a deal on 5-6 ewe lambs and an unrelated ram lamb.

 

You'll probably have sheep overload by the time all is said and done. Have fun. I love going to sheep and wool festivals and looking at all the breeds.

 

J.

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I used to have Cotswolds. I loved my ewes BUT the top knot must come off (a big no-no for show people). They went from wool-blind crazy for the dogto working like real sheep. I gave them up because they're so show bred, it was hard to find stock that fit with my program.

 

Romneys, even show type, are kinda fool-proof. Generally.

 

Everything Julie said bears repeating :)

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Dear Wouldbe Shepherds,

 

A few thoughts:

 

Take a look at Parkers "The Sheep Book" for breeds. We raised "bullets" (Rambouilettes) for 30 years. If I get back into sheep I'll probably go for hairsheep because: they can take more dogging, they're parasite resistant, not so many hoof problems - and this is real important - sheep shearers are fewer than they were and many are elderly and unwilling to take on new customers (and very small flocks are uneconomical for them). For our 70 ewe flock, we'd combine with a 500 ewe flock and start lining up our April/May shearer in January and we twice brought a shearer to Virginia from Prince Edward Island. Do NOT buy wool sheep unless you intend to shear them yourself or are absolutely certain you can get a shearer.

 

Sheep shows have done to sheep what dog shows did to dogs. Do not buy Suffolks - they're stupid, short-lived and show bred. Do not buy Hampshires: they're Suffolks. Do not buy Dorsets for out-season-breeding unless they have horns - almost all are Bullet crosses. Tunis' are okay but like Bullets - they're big, big sheep. Southdowns are teeny tiny sheep with teeny tiny vaginas. If you must pull a lamb; can you get your hand in there?

 

Ask:

What was their lamb weaning percentage? It should be better than 1.4. If wool: what grade? Are they naturally polled (a must). How many lambs did they pull during their last lambing? Fewer the better.(Our 70, none to one) How often do they worm (depends on climate - in climate zone 6 thrice annually) - trim feet (never is nice, once is ok)?

 

For starting out, buy the breeder not the sheep. You can always sell the sheep. You want someone helpful, passionate about his/her breed and with experience. If they "got into" their breed yesterday, grab your wallet and run. You'll be calling them during your first lambing and it'd be nice if they were near enough to advise you when you cannot pull that lamb. Rare, yes. But a defining moment.

 

Donald McCaig

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Dear Wouldbe Shepherds,

 

Sheep shows have done to sheep what dog shows did to dogs. Do not buy Suffolks - they're stupid, short-lived and show bred. Do not buy Hampshires: they're Suffolks. Do not buy Dorsets for out-season-breeding unless they have horns - almost all are Bullet crosses. Tunis' are okay but like Bullets - they're big, big sheep. Southdowns are teeny tiny sheep with teeny tiny vaginas. If you must pull a lamb; can you get your hand in there?

 

Donald is much more blunt than I was, but what he says is true. In the tunis breeder's world, there is a definite split. You can still find traditional flocks of medium-sized sheep, which is what the tunis standard calls for. Having been to sheep shows, I have witnessed the judge's choices: the larger, the better (even for medium-sized wool--vs. meat--breeds, and so breeders start breeding them ever larger). Show tunis are beginning to look like red Suffolks. Show tunis breeders will argue that tunis are a meat breed and should be like the other meat breeds. In truth, the tunis is meant to be a dual-purpose breed (meat and wool). You will hear excuses like, "He's just in show weight." Um, yeah, a yearling ram whose weight is already at the top end of the standard? Does anyone really believe such a lamb will grow out smaller and therefore within the standard?

 

Some breeders take shortcuts behind the barn to get their breed larger faster. These will be registered sheep, but they may not really be purebred. I know of one breeder, who has been breeding and showing sheep for many decades, who specifically sells his sheep as purebred rather than registered to make a point about that. In his own breed of choice, he easily admits that other breeds have been crossed in to make a larger sheep (ridiculous, considering the breed is another medium breed). The bigger sheep won at shows, so more breeders followed suit. Sadly, showing seems to be the ruination of many a species....

 

Not all breeders stoop to this sort of thing, of course, but it would serve you well to learn about the breeds you prefer and find breeders you trust to not have been monkeying with breeding practices in order to win. Don't buy stories like "show weight," etc. Educate yourself. Consider looking at production flocks and talk to those breeders about where you can find breeders of your chosen breed who are keeping their genetics pure. You may have better luck looking at heritage type breeds that were meant to be kept by the average homestead.

 

J.

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Debbie, Julie, Ben and Donald,

 

Thank You !

 

I hope breeders are not put off with me referencing a notebook! :rolleyes:

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Naturally polled: not necessarily a must. I have a couple of horned sheep. And horned cows. And a horned goat buck. Horns aren't that big of a deal, they just take different management. The only sheep I have who gets stuck in the field fence (bashing hotwire is a cullable offense around here) is a polled, stupid, old Coopworth ewe.

 

Your best bet for finding sheep may be to fund [ETA: I meant find, but fund works, too] a shepherd who is raising sheep the way you plan to. Don't get hung up on purebreds. My ewes are a mix of North Country Cheviot, Blue Faced Leicester, Coopworth, Romney, Katahdin, Texel, East Freisian, Icelandic... Not all breeds in every ewe! I keep ewes who can raise big lambs on pretty poor feed, show great parasite resistance, can keep up walking down the road, and are easy to handle. Of course, my market is for custom lamb, so that's what I'm looking for.

 

Donald is right- find a mentor. The first year, I called my sheep friend almost daily during lambing. Ten years later, we still help each other out & swap ideas.

 

If you want sheep for working dogs, buy dog-broke sheep. Especially if you're a novice handler.

 

If you really want wool, I'll reiterate about Romneys. They're not my personal favorite (although I like my Romney x ewes), but they're generally easy sheep. They were created to be. They're very weather hardy, good mothers, easy lambers. Mellow & good flocking instinct. Even the showy Romneys I've seen here are still decent sheep. Romneys are also widely available. I know several people who started with Romneys & then moved off once they learned the ropes (and one who still raises really nice, production Romneys).

 

Around here (NW Washington), finding a shearer isn't so bad. My shearer is in his 20's- younger than I am. I can shear my own, and it's a valuable skill to have, but I'm so

slow, I hire someone to do the whole flock.

 

Hair sheep are also a good place to start. Katahdins have become widely available. Dorpers slightly less so, at least here, but they're out there. The hair sheep we've had have all been easy-care, hardy sheep. A few Kats have not been the best mothers, but most of them are excellent. The pure hair lambs tend to finish a bit smaller than what I'm looking for, but my Kat cross ewes are some of the best in my flock.

 

If you really want registered sheep, go visit the breeder & look at their record keeping system. When I had Cotswolds, I visited one breeder & her record keeping was such a mess, I doubted the accuracy of the papers I got from her. There is also a lot of "hidden" cross breeding in "registered" sheep, as Julie says.

 

If someone came to me looking for sheep & they had a list of questions, I'd be thrilled. Go buy sheep like you would a horse. Nearly, soundness, purpose. Of course, if sheep don't work out, it's easier to eat them :)

 

Good luck & have fun!

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Places like auctions, shows ect I think are a good place to start. Meet folks, talk about breeds, talk about their particular sheep ect. Hopefully they will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly:-)

I would then narrow my options down from there and do more research. I would also get sheep right off the farm, not ones that have been hauled around and buy rather local. I think you will have a better chance for the healthiest sheep that way. Also the Edgefield sheep forum has some great folks that discuss everythng sheep, might want to check that out. IF this is your first jump into sheep ownership I would go middle aged and hopefully ones that have also been worked by a dog. It will be a learning experience but it is nice to stack the deck in your favor a bit for the first couple years.

 

Simply figuring out what you want to do with the wool and what you enjoy working with will narrow your breed options quickly. Generally I find finer wool sheep more flighty and more a challenge to work, especially if we are talking "training" and not simply using the dog to take care of needed management.

 

Hope that helps. I started wwith a little this and that and have tried many breeds over the years to find the ones I enjoy the most and that suit my place and production goals.

I do know someone selling her small flock of hair sheep near Albany - healthy and dog broke.

 

Denice

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There will be a whole lot of breeders there who didn't take any sheep for sale to the actual festival, but they have some at home for sale. Just walk around and talk to people with farm signs. Don't limit yourself to the auction. In fact, I found that the better sheep were not advertised. You had to do some footwork and speak with people to find out who was selling.

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Ben, Point taken :D I do however, make a mean leg of lamb with mint jelly and rosemary.

 

Denise, Exactly looking for ewes perferably familiar with working dogs.

 

Liz, Just having the list of breeders was a big help almost all except canada and one in Pa are local. As I posted in a previous thread So Many Sheep. My idea of what is local didn't narrow the search.

 

The auction allows me to meet the breeders, see the sheep (good and bad), talk to a shearer, as Donald mentioned find out the grade of wool. (I have more than one idea there.)

 

I would imagine the real work has just began.

 

Thanks :D

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With all due respect, this does not seem like the type of sale where a beginner should buy sheep to work their dog on. This is a consignment sale and show. Prices will probably be pretty stiff, and being a new person to sheep, you will be fresh meat for some of those seasoned consignors. Sorry to be so blunt, but speaking the truth.

 

Are you a member of NEBCA? I imagine there are members with excess dog broke sheep this time of year that they would be willing to sell. This would be a good place to start with dog broke sheep, even if they aren't exactly the breed or type you desire at this exact point in time. You can learn a lot from the first purchase of sheep, then expand your horizons as you get more experience.

 

I would also encourage you to contact or particpate in Cornell's sheep educational programs. You can contact them direct or go through your county extension office. They can be a valuable resource.

 

Good luck- mn

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Mike,

 

Thanks the more blunt the better.

 

The advice about Cornell is well taken, I have already been to the Millbrook Co-op extension for advice.

 

The festival is exciting for me because of the types of sheep I hope to see as well as the fiber they produce.

 

(Looking to take possesion of a flock in spring.) (and yes dog broke sheep is what I am looking for, my thoughts exactly about upgrading with time.)

 

I have received much help here on the boards including information for trainers and sheep flocks available in my area.

 

Except for carrying notebook I am not worried about being fresh meat.

 

As long as I don't come home with a llama or alpaca.

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