Updated: Jan 29, 2020
When we began to decide if we wanted sheep or goats, we began with lots of research and classes. We attended some wonderful classes presented by our state agricultural college and our local extension agency. We read everything we could find on rotational grazing and the value of multispecies grazing. We attended Mother Earth News Fairs to listen to what others were doing.
Once we learned how parasites were such a problem in goats in our area, we knew that we could not raise goats without using wormers. We had friends that were raising goats naturally, but we knew that would be harder for us on our acreage. At that point we ruled out goats as our dairy animal.
Our next research was to study sheep. I really wanted wool sheep, but not for meat. After traveling to New Zealand and Australia years ago, I knew there had to be sheep that we could raise in America that would taste as wonderful as it did in those countries. We had tried several different cuts of meat, but just did not like the lamb we tried. Over and over again, research on the internet said that Katadin sheep was delicious meat. Yes on this you can believe what the internet tells you. We now like our Katadin lamb better than beef.
We have never had to worm our sheep. We do rotationally graze them and run them in the same pasture with the cows. One of our first sheep died right after we bought it and we have lost one to a predator. Those are the only sheep we have lost. Katadin sheep seem to be an incredibly hardy breed that works well with our pasture and where we are located. They give birth on our pasture and do beautifully.
We are a homestead and only sell our excess. One of the reasons we wanted Katadin sheep was because we could process them ourselves for our own use. For us, they were the perfect breed and we are extremely satisfied with the taste.
Finally, they were cheap to maintain. We feed them grass, grass, and grass and have minerals available. Occasionally we must feed hay when the pasture does not last until the spring. Last year was one of those years. Hay has started in late January. Two years ago, we did not need to feed hay until March.
The dog in the pictures is Ellie. She is one of our Great Pyrenees guardian livestock dogs and keeps us and the sheep safe.