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Icelandic Sheep Breed

 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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After hearing some good arguments in another thread on Dwarf Nigerian Goats I decided to look at sheep breeds, and I believe that the Icelandic breed will meet my needs. Anyone out there have any experience with them?

Bizarre question, but since goats and sheep are herd animals, will it work to have one sheep and one goat to keep each other company or will they only be happy with one of their own kind?

 
Varina Lakewood
Posts: 116
Location: Colorado
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Shepherds historically have used goats as lead animals in a flock because goats are much smarter than sheep and will lead them out of danger. Should do fine together.
Also, Icelandic sheep has a strain called leader sheep, which are much smarter than normal sheep, and have been used for centuries in the same role that goats have filled in flocks in other countries.
Best of luck with your herds.
 
Kari Gunnlaugsson
pollinator
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I think there are perhaps only a handful of true 'leader sheep' in north america, so the odds of finding those genetics are pretty slim. I have a handful of Icelandics, but to be honest my experience is with cattle and horses and I'm just learning about sheep. They are beautiful animals. I understand that they don't herd as easily as some breeds and are more skittish, and my experience so far would bear that out. They seem smart which might help them avoid predation a bit more. They are not really docile. The fleeces are gorgeous with nice color...we hope to use the fibre too but no experience yet. The spring shearing was pretty dirty and will probably go to felted items, but it's just bundled up in a shed now during a busy spring.

Do you have a predator management strategy in mind?

I see you are in zone 6, i'm in 2a... I'm not sure where you are or how warm that is, but I think I would check with locals to see whether a sheep like that can handle the heat...they have a crazy thick heavy fleece, i really think of them as a northern breed.

good luck!



 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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I was able to hook up with a lady locally that has them, so I know the heat wont be an issue. I think the biggest question mark is how will they be on my small property and how intensively will I have to manage them. As for predator management, we only have foxes in our area and they are rare. I plan on a normal mobile fence and then a sturdy shelter for night to keep them from any night attacks. Plus someone is usually home most of the day. Thanks everyone for the input so far.
 
Rob Sigg
Posts: 715
Location: PA-Zone 6
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Can anyone else weigh in on this? IM trying to figure out how much square footage a sheep would need each day for grazing. I would feed them hay in the morning then let them graze the rest of the day. I would change them each day to a different(but very small)paddock. Thoughts?
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 309
Location: Upstate SC
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The square footage required for sheep grazing depends greatly on your climate, the time of the year, and the sheep's condition (lactating ewe, growing lambs, mature rams, etc.), but in general the grazing requirements of 7 sheep will equal that of one cow. Ask someone raising cattle in your area how much land they need for each cow and convert that number to sheep.

I select a calm older wether for use as a lead sheep in the ewe flock.
 
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