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PLEASE HELP PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF WV ANIMAL OWNERS It is our duty as citizens (local, WV and U.S.) to know the laws. It's time to spread the word to the WV animal owning population that there are people out there trying to create laws that have the potential to affect every aspect of all animal ownership. Please join our group, and help preserve your right to keep animals!
For those of you that raise any type of animal, be sure to arm yourself with the facts against the proposed NAIS program that the government has in mind... websites to review Please remember that the Animal Rights activists are not your friend.
Sheep say "baaa"
Mariann's first sheep was a Suffolk she named "Sizzle". She later got a Cotswold ram and named him "Nuzzle".
As Sizzle grew older she was allowed run of the area and was not kept in any pen... we have no neighbors. When we would drive up the driveway, Sizzle would run in front of us kicking up her heals in joy. It was a great greeting.
Sheep know their names and will respond to you. Especially at feeding time!
Sheep make a great 4-H project.
Sheep are a multi-purpose animal, raised for meat, milk, and wool. They are also valued for their skins and hides. Increasingly, sheep are being used to control unwanted vegetation
Meat sheep producers sell either slaughter lambs or feeder lambs. Slaughter lambs are usually purchased for immediate slaughter. While the average slaughter weight of lambs in the United States is about 135 lbs., lambs sold to the ethnic markets tend to be much lighter (< 100 lbs.). In some parts of the U.S., there is a market for slaughter lambs at most any weight. Feeder lambs are lambs kept for the purpose of feeding for slaughter. Feeder lambs range in weight from 50 to 90 lbs., with the demand usually being the highest for 60-70 lb. lambs.
Selling wool in the commercial wool market has limited profit potential, but niche marketing wool can pay big dividends. For example, while wool sold commercially may bring only 75 cents per pound, fleeces sold to hand spinners could bring as much as $15 per pound. Many producers process their own wool into yarn, roving, blankets, or crafts and market value-added products. There are several cooperative ventures in the U.S. to add value to wool. Fleeces sold to hand spinners need to be of high quality. Feeding, housing, health care, and handling are all critical to the production of good quality wool.
Dairying: Sheep have been milked for thousands of years and were milked long before cows were. The world's commercial dairy sheep industry is concentrated in Europe and the countries on or near the Mediterranean Sea. The industry is in its infancy in the United States, but growing. Most of the U.S. sheep dairies are located in the Upper Midwest (Wisconsin and Minnesota), California, and the New England states. Sheep's milk is usually made into cheese. Some milk is made into yogurt and ice cream.
SHEEPS MILK is both nutritious and delicious. The Milk has a rich, bland, slightly sweet taste. It is much higher in total solids than either cow or goat milk and contains up to twice as many of the minerals like calcium, phosphorus and zinc and the all important B group Vitamins. It is sold both fresh and frozen in pint or 500 ml. packs and keeps well for at least 4 months in a deep freeze.
Unless you are lactose intolerant sheep milk is the ideal alternative. Such allergies cause a wide range of often undiagnosed problems. Being told to come off 'Dairy Products' usually only means Cow milk products NOT sheep or goats. Calcium deficiency can occur if all milk products are eliminated from the diet.
Many people are able to enjoy the delights of eating cheese after years of privation.
A cup of hot sheep milk before retiring aids a peaceful nights rest. This has been shown to be particularly beneficial for children and elderly people with a bed-wetting problem...
Sheep and goats are different...
One quick way to tell the difference between a sheep and goat is by the way they hold their tail... especially if it is an Angora or Cashmire goat... A goat's tail is usually up and the sheep's tail is down.
You can milk sheep, although it is not common in the United States, many people across the globe drink sheep's milk. We milked Sizzle and made a simple cheese with it.
Sheep are grazers - they prefer pasture and will make great lawn mowers... as long as you don't put any pesticides on your lawn. Goats are browsers, like deer... they prefer branches, bushes, etc.
Sheep have a fleece that need to be shorn. Goats have hair... except for the fiber goats. An exception is Barbados sheep - they have hair.
Sheep breeds are classified basically in two groups - meat and fleece.
Cheviot: The Cheviot is a distinctive white-faced sheep, with a wool-free face and legs, pricked ears, black muzzle and black feet. It is a very alert, active sheep Bred to look after themselves, Cheviots need less husbandry. Their ease of lambing and strong mothering instinct means fewer lambing problems. Hard black feet make them less prone to foot rot. Their tendency for worm resistance means less drenching, less crutching and less fly strike. With wool-free faces, Cheviots never suffer from wool blindness.
North Country Cheviot sheep are intelligent, self-reliant, resourceful and among the healthiest and most long lived breeds. Part of this self-reliance is attested to by the long-time sheepman who commented, "The North Country Cheviot is the only breed of sheep I ever saw chase a dog out of the pasture." A long-time breeder of North Country Cheviots living in the West Virginia mountains has ewes who can lamb at the bottom of a steep hill in three feet of snow, in below freezing temperatures, with no shelter and present a pair of twins the next morning-both lambs well-fed and healthy. Upon hearing this story one may think, "Sure he does! I'll believe that when I see it." Fantasy quickly becomes stark reality when the shepherd owns North Country Cheviot sheep and sees them perform before his own eyes. No more spending those long night hours with lambing ewes, connecting newborn lambs to teats and coaxing them to get up and nurse. North Country lambs are strong at birth and have the ability to get-up, nurse and run just minutes after birth. The ewes have strong protective instinct toward their lambs, have plenty of milk and take extremely good care of their lambs. North Country Cheviot sheep are pleasing to the eye. They are a large chalk-white, alert deep-bodied sheep, symmetrical in outline, belly and flanks well covered with wool. The rams are distinctly masculine and the ewes, strong, but feminine. The head is covered with short, glossy-white hair as are the legs. The nose is moderately long Roman to slightly Roman. Legs are medium long in proportion to size, good bone, strong pasterns and the hoofs are black.
Dorsets are an all white sheep of medium size having good body length and muscle conformation to produce a desirable carcass. The fleece is very white, strong, close and free from dark fiber.
The Jacob sheep is indeed a unique breed in America. Slight of build, with the narrow, lean carcass typical of some of the ancient British breeds, they are immediately noticeable due to their black and white fleeces and prominent horns. Both males and females are horned, sporting two, four and occasionally six horns. Most striking to many people are four-horned rams with two vertical center horns as much as two feet long, and two side horns curling down along the side of the head. Two-horned rams develop the more familiar classic double curl. Horns on the ewe are always shorter and more delicate than the rams' horns. The Jacob fleece, which is properly described as white with black spots, is prized by hand spinners and weavers. The white and the black wool, which may fade at the tips to dark brown, may be blended to various shades of greys.
Katahdin sheep are a breed of hair sheep developed in the United States. The Katahdin breed originated at the Piel Farm in north central Maine where Michael Piel was an innovator and amateur geneticist who enjoyed raising livestock. His first intentions related to establishing a sheep enterprise were to use sheep to graze power lines instead of spraying or mowing the vegetation. He then developed other ideas on how to employ sheep for land management
Merino Medium-wool Merinos are primarily grown for wool production, although improved carcass quality gives this breed a dual purpose. Their wool is almost totally absorbed by the textile trade, in particular high quality apparel wool. The strain is large framed and relatively plain bodied, producing a heavy fleece .
The Romney, historically a dual purpose breed, remains so today, and is found in every type of farming environment. When handled properly, lambs from this versatile sheep can be creep fed until weaning, then turned out on pasture to mature, where they efficiently convert pasture into lean, high quality carcasses of heavy hanging weights that usually grade prime or choice. Romney meat is known for its delicate taste even in older lambs.
The Cotswold has a white face and white legs, grayish-white color is not considered objectionable, and small black spots on the face or legs are not entirely unknown. They will also exhibit dark pigmentation on the skin of the nose, inside the ears and on the hooves. The Cotswold has demonstrated its greatest usefulness in crossing on flocks of ewes that lack in size, fleshing qualities, and in length of fleece. When commercial producers have mated the rams to small and short-fleeced ewes, they have been well pleased with the offspring.
Suffolk Mature weights for Suffolk rams range from 250 to 350 pounds ~ ewe weights vary from 180 to 250 pounds Fleece weights from mature ewe are between five and eight pounds. The fleeces are considered medium wool type. They are blackfaced with a white body and black legs and feet.