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
This is the easy care breed of Sheep
After some research I purchased these sheep from a local farm about 4 years ago. I previously owned Nubian goats, which are very fun, but wanted a less social animal that could be used for meat production and needed very little maintenance. These Katahdin Sheep are perfect for my little hobby farm. They do not need to have horns removed/burned out, they do not need sheering, they do not need to have their tails docked. The sheep are very hardy, dealing well with hot and cold temperatures. They are good mothers, they usually have twins or triplets, only yearlings have single lambs in my experience. I never had to help with a birth before, as they always seem to handle it on their own and I only find out once the lambs are suddenly there. Quite sneaky they are with birthing. They do a great job of "mowing down" a pasture. No health problems, I only had to treat a single lamb for liver fluke so far, after 4 years of having these sheep. If you are planning on using them for meat you will not be disappointed. It is some of the best meat I have had. No gamy flavor. Make sure you butcher male lambs (ram lambs) within their first year of life. If you do this you do not need to band (neuter) them. Females can be butchered later so they can put on a bit more weight. They are not the most social animals, they care about food, not human company. But their hardiness and low maintenance make them the perfect farm animals, especially for new farmers. .
From SonjaM Jan 8 2019 4:27PM
Hoof trimming - it's a must
Regular hoof trimming is an important part of keeping your animal comfortable and healthy. If you have sheep, you should try to handle them early, preferably right from birth, so they can get used to you taking a look at their hooves. If you bought animals that were already grown and not used to getting their hooves trimmed it might be a bit more tricky to train them. Sheep that are not used to being handled might have to be secured by one person, while the other person trim's the hooves back. It's best to learn this from an experienced farmer or self educate. A sharp and clean tool is best to make the job easy. There are many options available from shears to special hoof knifes. I personally got some trimming shears, which look much like a pair of pruning shears for your garden and are very easy to use. Once you get the hang of trimming hooves regularly, you will notice this chore will become less dreaded by you and your sheep..
From SonjaM 34 days ago