Thursday, April 7, 2016

The Sheep

We have been all about getting moved in, gardening and the poultry for the fall and winter. The time has come though to discuss our sheep. We have done the research and after a lot of thought we decided on first of all Hair Sheep. The second decision was to go with a smaller less common breed noted for its constitution and ability to do well on poor and rough pasture and finish on grass, Barbados Blackbelly. Not the American Blackbelly which was developed from The Barbados sheep and several other breeds here in the USA but the original polled breed from the Island of Barbados. They are not common here with around 2500 registered breeding animals in the US.

Lonestar Sumo

In 2013 I found the Lonestar Barbados website on an information search about Barbados Blackbelly hair sheep. It was a great site with a ton of good all around sheep information as well as excellent information on the Blackbelly.
we have been in touch with Mike and Becky Lannon for some time and when we finally got our farm one of the first things we did was call them and put a deposit down.  One of the advantages of this breed is they do more than graze, they also browse and can do the work of goats. They are parasite resistant and handle heat and humidity well. They can breed twice a year and the ewes are noted for excellent maternal abilities.

Lone Star Deluxe

We discussed our wants and needs with Mike and Becky and they were and continue to be an invaluable resource. There is a lot of pasture here and 3 acres of rough land at the back of the property. This is also a region with a lot of sheep and when farmers heard we were getting a flock of Barbados there have been Ram inquiries.

The decision to start a working, registered flock of purebred sheep was made.  The gene pool is small in the pure, polled Barbados so we have to be careful with the bloodlines we get. We decided to get 10 ewe lambs and then match 2 Rams with the group to start with. Mike and Becky had just started lambing and we were not #1 on the waiting list so it became a work in progress.

Lonestar lambs at play

This was the year of the Ram....ewes would lamb twins, both Rams, it became a concern but we were still working on getting set up so the plan was to work on getting together a group for April. None of the lambing got any better so in the end the group was short of ewe lambs. Becky and Mike decided to make up the number with ewe lambs they had selected for themselves and a young ewe who had produced a daughter to replace her. We have our group together, it is so exciting.

 Ram lambs

 A sweet Ewe lamb

 Dark colored lambs

 Weaned can see the size difference due to age


Lambs on creep after weaning

One of the young rams we will be getting, Lone Star Savoir Faire. He is shedding out his winter coat. Note his beautiful clean polled head.

It was very exciting to get the email from Becky this morning that they had sucessfully got a group together and  as I type this I look out at the pasture which is growing well. We now have to organize the trip to get the sheep, they are after all in Texas. The Lannon's vet will do the appropriate bood work and I have to call the local vet to see what else we need to do. 

Oh we also have to choose a herd name..humn is Bluegrass Barbados too tacky? There are a lot of big things to do yet and the birth of our first lambs is still in the future but seeing sheep in our pastures is a whole lot closer. I can hardly wait!


  1. Congratulations on your first flock of sheep :)

  2. Thank you, I wonder what our poultry will think of them?

  3. Gorgeous animals! Happy to read of your steps forward. Love your herd name, too. My suggestion for ours- the tinkerer's dams, or the dancing doe nuts- keep getting shot down as just plain goofy ;).

    1. I love the Dancing Doe-nuts! The Lonestar flock is outstanding, they cull strictly and with the ideal Barbados in mind. It shows in the overall quality.

  4. bluegrass is a nice name choice and easy for customers to remember should you get into selling them for breeding.

    1. We do plan on selling breeding stock but we also plan to follow Mike and Becky's example and cull hard to get a top quality herd. The culls will of course be our meat source. It is going to be a project of years but it gives us the incentive of working toward an attainable goal.