The Katahdin Sheep is a newly developed, wool-less, easy care, breed used for meat production. Katahdin sheep originated in 1957 at the Piel Farm in north central Maine, USA. It was here that three "African Hair Sheep" were imported from St. Croix, Virgin Islands. The imported sheep were crossbred with various other breeds, and lambs were selected based on hair coat, meat-type conformation, high fertility and flocking instinct. Eventually, a high-quality meat sheep that did not require shearing was created, and in 1985, Katahdin Hair Sheep International (KHSI) was incorporated as a breeders' association.
Appearance / health:
According to the breed standards of Katahdin Hair Sheep International, "The covering of the Katahdin does not require shearing and is preferably completely free of permanent wooly fibers. The coat can be any color or pattern. Polled animals are preferred; horned and scurred individuals are recorded as such."
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:
Katahdins are docile so are easily handled. They exhibit moderate flocking instinct. The Katahdin is naturally tolerant of climatic extremes and capable of high performance in a wide variety of environments.
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.
Parasite resistant, fine meat, Hardy sheep, muscular, fast growing lamb
long productive life, hair breed, field lambers, easy keepers, good mothers, limited acreage
"Katahdin sheep are an American breed of sheep. Developed out of a variety of different sheep breeds by Michael Piel in the 1950’s, they are bred for hair coat, meat, high fertility rates and flocking instinct. We use that flocking instinct in herding and often you will see Katahdins at herding trials or where lessons are given. Katahdins are also very good mothers, unlike some other sheep breeds, and therefore production is easier. Katahdins are typically all white. Like the Dorper, selling the older sheep for meat helps finance herding hobbies on small farms and ranches across the country.."
From LeashUpYourDog Jul 16 2015 9:26AM
"Katahdins are a hair breed of sheep, meaning that they shed their wool annually. They are a medium sized breed, developed in Maine and hence have a very good tolerance for cold and wet weather. Mine are easy keepers, thriving on pasture and hay with little to no need for grain. My ewes lamb on pasture year around and produce twins about 90% if the time.<br><br>They are slower growing than some of the more typical meat breeds, but I've found that the meat stays mild well into adulthood, so lambs can be grown to larger size without sacrificing quality. Mine are quite parasite resistant when rotationally grazed; we deworm individual animals only when needed (per the FAMACHA system). I've not had a birthing problem in more than 5 years and my ewes produce well into old age (my two 12 year old ewes gave me each a set of twins last year.)<br><br>The rams are docile and well behaved, even with each other. I've not had foot problems with my sheep and never trim hooves as they wear them down.<br><br>They come in a variety of colors including pure white, red, red with white markings, black, pinto, and even tricolor white, black, and red. <br><br>They are a flighty breed, compared to heavier wool sheep and make excellent sheep for training stockdogs as they tend not to sour if handled gently. <br><br>Ewes are superior mothers and milk very well...Katahdin ewes have even been used in sheep dairying with some success!<br>."
From kelpie_deb Jan 25 2010 11:44PM