Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

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Other common names: Barbados Sheep; BBB

The basics:
Barbados Blackbelly Sheep originated on the Caribbean island of Barbados, although studies have shown that these sheep may actually have West African ancestry. They were first introduced to the United States in 1904.

According to the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Association International (BBSAI), "Barbados Blackbelly rams and ewes are polled (they have no horns)." This distinguishes the Barbados Blackbelly Sheep from separate, horned breeds like the American Blackbelly Sheep and the Mouflon-Barbados, which are crossbreds between the Barbados Blackbelly and Rambouillet and Mouflon Sheep.

Appearance / health:
Barbados Sheep have a yellowish to brownish tan body color with black or dark areas on the bellies (hence the other name Barbados Blackbelly) and oftentimes down the insides of the legs. Black markings appear on the nose, forehead, and inside of the ears. Ewes and rams are polled or have tiny horns. They have medium to thick hair (no wool). The body shape resembles antelopes or small deer. The heavier set rams have long, thick hair that flows from the neck to the shoulder.

One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.

Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.

As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed. Miniature breeds and sheep that have hair instead of fur make ideal pets. Raising pet sheep is a popular project in the 4-H youth organization.

Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.

Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.

For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.

Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.


beautiful sheep, exotic black markings, hardy sheep, exceptional meat, commands top dollar


flighty, male sheep, skittish personalities


hair sheep, bit different tasting, great mothers

Helpful Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Review

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

From AllThingsDog Nov 10 2014 3:57PM


Barbados Blackbelly Sheep Health Tip

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

From thegunslinger Jul 20 2015 9:31PM


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