Win a copy of Permaculture Design Companion this week in the Permaculture Design forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Milk/meat/fiber sheep breeds that do well in desert conditions?

Posts: 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We live in a very arid climate, lots of shrubs and brush but very little grass, no rain, temperatures regularly 100+ Fahrenheit. We are looking to add a ruminant to our farm, preferably sheep, our plan is to have 4 ewes and 1 ram, keep the ewes bred so that we have a constant milk supply, use the lambs for meat, and shear annually/bi-annually for fiber, all for our own personal use. From a practical perspective it seems that we are more suited to goats, but we prefer the taste of lamb and sheep's milk, but it seems like a lot of the sheep breeds that suit our needs would die in our climate, and the sheep that are suited to our climate are hair-sheep that don't milk well. We don't need a ton of meat or fiber because it's just us and we have other sources of meat (tilapia, rabbits, chickens, quail, pheasants, considering adding guineafowl) but these goats will be our sole source of milk, which we consume quite a bit of, so it's important that they're good milk producers whose milk has a high fat content, and that they can survive during the day in desert conditions.
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The most optimized sheep breed I know of for your conditions and needs is Assaf (bred in Israel in the fifties for milk and meat.) Not a specialized wool breed but it does produce wool as well.

The Assaf's ancestor breed, Awassi might be better suited to pasture type management.

I know for a fact Assaf can breed year round. Awassi might be seasonal breeders.
Posts: 154
Location: Henry County Ky Zone 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Navajo Churios may be worth a look too. I had a hair sheep ewe who milked as well as my dairy crosses so it may be a matter of picking and choosing the milkiest individuals.
Anything worth doing well is worth doing poorly first. Just look at this tiny ad:
Dave Burton's Boot Adventures at Wheaton Labs and Basecamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!