What are hair sheep?
One of the most exciting additions to our farm in recent years has been a flock of hair sheep. Benson and I knew that we wanted to offer lamb as a compliment to our other meats, and we spent several years looking at different breeds of sheep to find the one that was best for our farm. We settled on St. Croix sheep, a North American breed that is part of the Caribbean hair sheep family. Our flock of seven ewes and two rams came from Virginia State University.
WHAT ARE HAIR SHEEP?
The first question we get is always What are hair sheep? Basically, a hair sheep is a type of sheep that sheds its wool rather than needing to be sheared. Hair sheep breeds have been improved to produce meat compared to their counterparts which also produce meat, but have mostly been breed to produce high quality fiber.
WHY HAIR SHEEP?
There are many reasons why we chose hair sheep to traditional “wool” sheep breeds. The first of which is the fact that they don’t have wool. Sheep that have wool need to be sheared. They cannot survive in hot humid weather with thick wool coats. Shearing sheep is a difficult trade to master, there aren’t many shearers in the area and skilled shearers (rightly so) come in high demand and a high cost. Another reason is because our focus is on meat production. Hair sheep breeds were developed to produce meat and thrive in hot, humid climates.