American Blackbelly Sheep

Overall satisfaction


Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder),
Bred animal myself

Gender: Both





Tolerance for heat


Tolerance for cold


Meat production


Milk production


Fleece quality


Commercial value


Very Thrifty Sheep


United States

Posted Oct 22, 2014

We purchased our first four sheep to use for weed control figuring that at the end of the season, they could go into the freezer. Three weeks after we bought the first 4, we bought fourteen more in a herd reduction sale. We have been amazed at these sheep every day.

None of our sheep are pets or very tame because we only handle them when they need to be caught for vaccination, tagging or are being sold. But they are pretty easy to handle and the rams are nice to be around.

Unlike some sheep, the American Blackbelly has almost no odor. Even the rams do not smell. They are not very big. The adult females are about seventy pounds and the rams about one hundred when fully adult.

These sheep have two characteristics that are unlike fleeced sheep: They do not have fleece and so do not require shearing. Ever. They are hair sheep. The other is that they do not taste like lamb because they have almost no lanolin. The meat is very dark. Nutritionally they more are more closely compared to elk. The meat is very lean and surprisingly tender.

We like to graze our sheep on good pasture because unless they are starving, they eat only the weeds and leave the grass. Their favorite food is tumbleweed.

This breed of sheep is gaining in popularity because of their low maintenance, gourmet quality meat and ease of birthing. We enjoy a very healthy market for these animals and quickly sell every single one we raise.

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