Acquired: Breeder (non-professional, hobby breeder)
Hockley, Texas, United States
Posted May 26, 2011
We began our sheep raising adventures with American Blackbelly sheep, but changed to the Barbados Blackbelly breed after we learned there was a need for help to keep them from being lost to extinction. We have been working to help preserve this breed ever since.
BBs, as they are commonly referred to, are a beautiful sheep to look at. Their unique and exotic black markings are somewhat similar to those of a Siamese cat. They are striking indeed, with their base color ranging from light tan to a rich dark mahogany. Such an easy animal to care for, their only requirements being a supply of fresh water and enough pasture to forage sufficiently, though we do feed ours some grain and we free feed minerals to optimize their production of above average lambs. These sheep are extremely healthy animals and we have noted that, if injured, they are unusually rapid healers unlike other species we have kept that require much nurturing. Ewes are exceptional mothers and it is quite gratifying to know that if you take good care of your ewes, they will in turn tend to your lambs without your having to keep a constant watch. They are great milk producers and we have yet to have a ewe whose milk supply was less than abundant for lambs up to and including quadruplets that we have had only once. It has been told to us that Barbados Blackbellies are parasite resistant, but our experience has shown that they are parasite tolerant. In a hot, humid climate like Houston, we find it a necessity to deworm lambs once or twice until they are about six months old and have built up a tolerance. After the six month period, it is generally smooth sailing.
On the downside, though BBs can be flighty if you move quickly or suddenly around them, our sheep readily come when called if we have a feed bucket in hand. They are wary of strangers and have refused to enter the barn if met by someone unfamiliar to them. They do, however, know their shepherd/shepherdess and if we need to bring them into a stall, asking the visitors to have a seat until they are in, works like a charm every time.
Overall, I can tell you without hesitation, they have been a rewarding animal to own and breed. If you have questions, or would like to see photos, please visit our website at www.lonestarbarbadosblackbelly.com