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hair sheep for warm climates

 
Fred Morgan
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Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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I have sheep, perhaps that makes me a shepherd but I have to say I really enjoy working with them. One thing I like about the sheep is they make me more active. I actually like scything grass daily for them which I throw over the fence. It is interesting how they come to expect it, and complain if I am not keep up. 

The lawn needs cut anyway, and they love the short grass that isn't more than two weeks old. Also, areas of the garden that get away from me just get cut and thrown over the fence, before I turn over the soil with a fork to plant again.

Lambs are incredibly cute, and older sheep make great food for our catfish. The catfish are a bit scary. Drop a dead sheep to the bottom, in two days, just bones. The workers won't go in the pond anymore... 

Parasites are a big problem with sheep, but with crop rotation, we seem to have gotten a handle on it, and rotating horses behind the sheep.

Mutton is really our meat of choice, but now I am going to try turkeys with sheep.

And of course, sheep fertilizer is incredible for the garden.
 
Leila Rich
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Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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Fred, what breeds do you have in the tropics? Self-shedding? I hadn't imagined sheep in that climate.
 
Fred Morgan
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Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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Leila Rich wrote:
Fred, what breeds do you have in the tropics? Self-shedding? I hadn't imagined sheep in that climate.


No wool, hair sheep. My dog has more hair than they do. Yes, self shedding. Khatadin and Dorpers are common here, and something called Black Belly.

 
Fred Morgan
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Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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The sheep continue to thrive - sheep are weird in one way down here, easy to kill if you don't give them what they need, but once you figure them out, remarkably easy.

One study said that shepherds as a group are some of the people who live longest - I think I know why. Good, gentle exercise, amusing from the lambs and good food!
 
Leila Rich
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Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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My folks got some  Dorpers, but the things jumped fences like gazelles and had major footrot issues so they got rid of them.
They are in a very wet climate, but I'm assuming yours is pretty damp. Do you have footrot troubles? I've read Dorpers' dry, South African origins make them prone to 'weak feet' in wet climates.
 
Fred Morgan
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Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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We do well because they get to sleep where it is dry, we also put shelters out in the fields. Though we get a lot of rain, we have very good drainage because we are hilly.

We have a mix of katahdin with dorpers, with a little black belly. The black bellies are nearly bullet proof, the Katahdin are very good mothers, and the Dorpers have good size.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
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Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Never heard of short haired sheep - I think those are going to be in my future somewhere for sure!
 
Fred Morgan
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Posts: 979
Location: Northern Zone, Costa Rica - 200 to 300 meters Tropical Humid Rainforest
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:
Never heard of short haired sheep - I think those are going to be in my future somewhere for sure!


One thing too, in Europe, cheese made from sheep milk is really popular. I am going to have to try that someday.
 
Emil Spoerri
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A copper sulfate/vinegar solution kills foot rot almost instantly in my experience.
 
Mike Turner
Posts: 309
Location: Upstate SC
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You can also select for foot rot resistance over a number of generations by culling those with the worst foot rot. 

Sheep hooves do better if they are exposed to rock covered ground on a regular basis (sheep were originally native to mountain regions).  When our sheep get a chance to walk 100 yards down a gravel covered driveway to get to/from their pasture, they have much less hoof rot problems than when they do all of their walking on clay soil and grass.
 
dave johnson
Posts: 3
Location: New Orleans & Central Valley Costa Rica
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What breed is it that the ticos call "Peli-buey" which I traslate to "ox like hair"?
 
Su Ba
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Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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The Pelibuey is a hair sheep based on African hair sheep breeds. My understanding is they are found in Mexico, Cuba, that area.

In my area the common hair sheep breeds and mixes are Barbados Black Belly, St Croix, Katahdin, and Doroer. The Doroers don't seem to be as good with parasite resistance as the other breeds. Plus they tend to leave a mat of unshed wool on their backs, which can be a problem in rainy regions. My own Dorpers have been bottle fed, so it's not a problem combing that mat off.

...Su Ba
 
Consider Paul's rocket stove mass heater.
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