Columbia, the first breed of U.S. origin, was developed beginning in 1912 from Lincoln x Rambouillet crosses. Columbias are relatively hardy and gregarious. They are one of the larger-sized breeds in the United States, and have white faces and wool on the legs. They yield heavy, medium-wool fleeces with good staple length. They are used as a dam breed in range flocks, as a general-purpose, farmflock breed, and also to sire crossbred market lambs. For more information visit the Columbia Sheep Breeders Association.
Renowned as prolific breeders producing multiple births, the Finnsheep regularly has triplets and quadruplets. Our history records show several litters of octuplets and septuplets. It is not uncommon for ewe lambs, twelve months of age, to have twins and triplets. Finnsheep are excellent mothers with plentiful milk for the large litters. Unlike many other breeds, the Finnsheep matures very early. Rams mature at four to eight months and ewes are bred to lamb by 12 months of age. Most of the Finnsheep in the USA are pure white. They are also increasingly available in solid black and black/white piebald (spotted) and somewhat less commonly found in grey, brown and fawn. Finnsheep wool has unmistakable luster and softness in all shades of color. While the fleece is lightweight (5-6 lb.) it is highly praised by hand spinners as it blends easily with other fibers, has a long staple (3-6″), and a wool spinning count in the 50′s (24 to 31 microns). For More information Visit the Finnsheep Breeders Association.
The Hampshire originated in England from Southdown x Wiltshire Horn and Berkshire Knot crosses and was imported into the United States in the 1800s. The Hampshire is a large breed, quite similar to the Suffolk, and the chief competitor to the Suffolk as a terminal sire in market lamb production. Hampshires have black faces and wool on the legs, have good growth and carcass cutability, and produce medium-wool fleeces. Major emphasis, is placed on such traits as weight per age, muscling, freedom from unsoundness, breed type, multiple births and strength while maintaining quality and general balance. Hampshires are noted for their rapid growth and efficient feed conversion. Lambs should be youthful in appearance.
Size: Mature rams should weigh 300 pounds or more and mature ewes should weigh 200 pounds or more in breeding condition. For more information visit the Hampshire Sheep association website.
Polypay sheep were developed in the United States with the goal of developing a breed of sheep known for its maternal characteristics including early fertility, prolificacy, aseasonal breeding, and milk production. These qualities make them an excellent foundation for many production systems. The Polypay is a breed developed in the 1970s by the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station at Dubois, Idaho, and Nicholas Farms at Sonoma, California. Targhee x Dorset and Rambouillet x Finnsheep crosses were mated to form a four-breed cross. The breed is medium-sized, white-faced, and prolific. They are good mothers and milkers, and produce lambs with good growth and carcass quality. They are most appropriate for high potential feed producing areas. For more information visit the American Polypay Association website.
The Delaine-Merino was developed from the Spanish Merino, having an unbroken line of breeding of more than 1,200 years. Modern Delaine-Merinos are relatively smooth-bodied, intermediate in size, white-faced with wool on the legs, hardy, long-lived, with a well-developed flocking instinct, and adapted to unassisted lambing. They are predominantly located in the marginal, hill-country areas of Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states. They have an extended breeding season, and produce very high-quality, fine-wool fleeces. For more information click here.
The Suffolk originated in England from Southdown x Norfolk crosses and was imported into the United States in 1888. The Suffolk is the largest-sized breed in the United States, and is widely used as a terminal sire in market lamb production. The Suffolk has a black head and legs which are free of wool, excellent growth rate, and the ewes are prolific and good milkers. Suffolks produce superior, high-cutability carcasses, but medium-wool fleeces are frequently contaminated with black fibers. Longevity is less than in many other breeds, especially in harsh environments. Suffolk x fine-wool cross ewes (“terminal cross” ewe lambs) are frequently kept as ewes for market lamb production. They are large, prolific, and good milkers, but have a shorter breeding season and lighter and lower-quality fleeces than their fine-wool mothers. For more information please visit the Suffolks Sheep Association website.
Developed from the Spanish Merino in France and Germany and imported into the United States in the 1800s, the Rambouillet is the foundation of most western United States range flocks. White-faced with wool on the legs, the Rambouillet is large, rugged, of medium growth, long-lived, with a well-developed flocking instinct, and especially adapted to a wide variety of arid range conditions. The breed has an extended breeding season and produces a high-quality, fine-wool fleece. For more information visit the American Rambouillet Sheep Association.
Developed beginning in 1926 by the U.S. Sheep Experiment Station, Dubois, Idaho, the Targhee has 3/4 fine-wool and 1/4 long-wool breeding from Rambouillet x Columbia and Rambouillet x Corriedale crosses. The Targhee is relatively large-sized, white-faced with wool on the legs, and adaptable to varied climate and forage conditions. They are predominantly located in the intermountain and northern states. They are hardy, fairly prolific, herd well, produce good quality market lambs, and yield a heavy, medium- to fine-wool fleece with good staple length. For more information please visit the Targhee Sheep Association website.