It’s Lambing Season!
I have a very good friend who raises Gulf Coast Native Sheep here in South Georgia. This is the perfect breed for our area. And here’s why.
These sheep have been bred through necessity to thrive in hot humid climates like ours.
They are far less prone to parasite infestations than other sheep. Trials conducted at Alabama A&M University in 1997 noted that Gulf Coast Sheep had one eighth of the fecal parasite egg count than Suffolk sheep under similar conditions. Many ranchers have maintained flocks for many years without the use of dewormers.
They are less prone to hoof rot than other breeds.
And let’s not forget the fleece quality. Lovely low grease wool, wavy to crimpy with a 2.5 to 4.0 inches staple length. Perfect for all types of handspun projects!
Gulf Coast sheep, also known as Gulf Coast Native sheep, Florida Native, Woods sheep, and Native sheep, originated from the Spanish flocks brought to our shores during the 1500s. The early settlers brought flocks of Churro sheep, a multipurpose animal used for meat, milk, and coarse wool, and they possibly contributed to the breed’s foundation. The fleece on these animals is quite soft, which leads experts to believe that some early Merino type sheep were also part of the breeds foundation.
Now the breed is part of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, and when last recorded there were 2,000 or fewer registered breeding animals in the United States. They are currently listed on the “critical” list.
I’m pleased to report that the breed is flourishing at Cindy’s farm!
And they are so cute! Here’s Charlotte and her baby.
There are some twins too. This is Lee and her babies. Named for Harper Lee, author of “To Kill a Mockingbird”.
Who cares that the grass hasn’t greened up yet. It’s just fun to run in the field!
Just don’t get too far from Mom!
The farm is also home to several beautiful Shetland Sheep as well. Notice the difference in the fleece? This is Tater (yes as in Tater Tot).
There are even some Jacobs Sheep, noted most for their 4 horns, but they also have wonderful soft fleeces. Unfortunately you will find them currently on the “threatened” list.
And let’s not forget the Cherri. Every herd needs protection and these guys do that plus give you fiber. Does it get any better? Llamas are well known in the livestock world as great protection for the flock. They will fearlessly run off coyotes and other predators, including large cats. Fiber needs to be de-haired prior to spinning, but the extra effort is worth it. Many Llama fleeces are an equal to an Alpaca!
Interested in a Gulf Coast Native fleece? Or perhaps you would prefer some processed roving??
Cindy’s roving is available in my Etsy Shop! It sells for $3.25 an ounce. Soft, springy and feltable. It’s a lovely natural cream color. Ideal for dyers.
The fleeces will be available after spring shearing. The prices will be determined based on quality and size. Just message me if you are interested in reserving one of these now. We can put you on a notification list. You won’t be held to it until a price is agreed upon.
And next year maybe you can have this little guys fiber!