Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Lebanon, Missouri, United States
Posted Jul 20, 2015
Barbados Blackbelly sheep are so much fun to raise, but are very different than the more traditional sheep breeds. iI you have experience with the mild-mannered Cheviot, or one of the other domestic breeds, the Barbados will surely throw you for a loop.
Afraid of their own shadow, the Barbados is difficult to catch when the need arises. When your vet doc comes around to give shots or medicine, or if the case may be, you are giving the dose yourself, it's a whole different ballgame with a Barbados. There are many times in the life of a sheep when it is beneficial to be able to handle them. Their skittish personalities are a big obstacle to this.
Other than this one drawback, I find the Barbados to be wonderful to keep. They enjoy living in small herds, in numbers from three to twenty or so. A couple of acres of pasture land will accommodate twenty Barbados very well. They are quite social in nature and are content nibbling with the herd.
The upshot of their nervousness is that they are not easy for predators to catch. One spook from a loud noise and they are off and running. When one runs, most of the pack is sure to follow.
Barbados meat is delicious, actually a delicacy, a bit different tasting than other domestic lamb, perhaps a bit gamier, but very good.
They thrive in hot climates and their hair is short, so there is no grooming or shearing to be done. This makes them somewhat easy to keep.
The ewe's first offspring is usually born solo, but thereafter twins are common.
The Barbados have pros and cons to raising them. It's a good idea to consider all of their attributes before deciding if they are right for your farm.