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Dual Purpose Fiber Animals

 
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Since I am going to have a very tiny homestead, any animal I have must stack functions! I have steered away from getting sheep as they would only be for wool and maybe meat. Plus my homestead is very forested. What breeds of wool sheep could be used in a forested homestead? They would have to do well on browse and not pasture, and also be able to produce a small amount of milk and meat in addition to wool. I would love to have a few sheep that produce lanolin and wool for clothing purposes.  I have not really been looking into Angora goats as much as I should be. I feel like an Angora crossed to a dairy breed would be a good dual purpose animal. Has anyone here raised Angora dairy crosses? In all reality I think my endeavor into keeping fiber livestock will be limited to a few cute and furry rabbits for my kids to exhibit in fourH. That being said, since rabbits breed like rabbits, which of the fiber breeds also produce a nicely dressed carcass?
 
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Hi Gail,

How about Ouessant sheep (Breton dwarf), wikipedia here, which is a really small breed?
I knew someone in the fiber community with a small farm that kept these cute little fellows for their wool. Let them roam alongside chickens and some angora goats.
The wool is ok for felting and spinning. Not super soft, but I've felt much coarser wool as well. Have beautiful horns as well. Females could be good company for the children, though be aware of the rams. They tend to be a bit more aggressive of nature, and due to their small stature their big horns are just about the height of your knee-caps! Getting a head-but of an angry ram could potentially be painful!

 
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I've skipped sheep, and gone to Nigora (Nigerian Dwarf/Angora) goats. They take care of brush overgrowth, give fiber (their angora half), and milk (Nigerian Dwarf half), and I suppose, if you really needed them to, they could be trained for lightweight packing.
 
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Most of the older breeds - pre1700 - are great on browse but also need access to pasture.  A lot of it depends on the personality of the individual sheep and how the flock has been managed over the years (what traits the shepherd bred for), but generally, a tri-purpose breed like Icelandic does well in that situation.

Icelandic sheep are a landrace, not actually a single breed.  Traditionally, they have a lot of genetic diversity that's one of the reasons why I like them so much.  Their mineral needs are similar to goats and can withstand higher copper than modern breeds.  However, they do have high selenium needs so be sure to have some free choice kelp available if your soil is low in SE.

Matching the breed to your local soil minerals is a great way to keep the sheep healthy at a low cost.  Natural Sheep Care by Pat Coleby is a good starting point for learning about this.
 
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Awassi or Assaf sheep might work. They are tri-purpose animals, bred for meat, milk, and wool. They tend to be very hardy, and Awassis especially do well on rough pasture.
 
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On fiber breeds of rabbits, French Angoras are usually the best & most popular for producing wool & meat. They're larger than the English Angora, by several pounds. Satin Angoras are also good wool/meat producers; however they're more rare to source, and they don't generally have as rapid growth weight as the French. The English Angoras only get to around 6lbs, and are primarily used for wool, but I've processed my culls & found they are decent for meat, it just takes about two of them to produce the same meat as a French.

The other fiber breeds are both dwarf breeds, Jersey Woolies and American Fuzzy Lops. Their wool can be spun, but it doesn't make as nice of a fiber as the Angora breeds. Additionally, I call them my "single serving" breeds, because they only max out around 4lbs, so you need more of them to make a meal (though they are good for sausage & jerky).
 
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