Sheep are the newest enterprise for T3C. We chose to add sheep since they prefer forbs and brush- helping us utilize these species in our pastures- whereas cattle primarily eat grass. Sheep convert forage into meat more efficiently than cattle, but they are subject to predation and can be harder to handle. Meg and I recently added several Katahdin hair sheep to our farm operation. Hair sheep do not have wool and instead naturally shed out their fleece in the spring, eliminating the need for shearing. The hair sheep breeds generally come from humid tropical environments where parasite pressure was high. Sheep without natural parasite resistance quickly died, and as a result the hair sheep breeds exhibit much more resistance than the traditional wool sheep breeds. This allows us to avoid using the de-worming chemicals common in traditional sheep production. Like our cattle and pig operations, we only use antibiotics for acute health problems and thoroughly document any such use.
Hair sheep produce meat that is milder-flavored than meat from wool sheep but the disadvantage for us is that hair sheep have not been bred for production for as long as the wool sheep, and are generally smaller-framed animals. We feel that grass-fed lamb provides an eating experience that rivals that of high-quality beef and pork.
We are currently focusing on building our flock of sheep and have limited supplies of lamb for sale. In the meantime, we will continue to post pictures of our growing flock. – D.S.