2012 - Volume #36, Issue #4, Page #08[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
She Breeds Hair Sheep As Pets
“We bought three females and a male, but when we discovered their wonderful temperament, we decided to raise them for pets,” says Funkhouser, who also rents her animals out for nativity scenes and petting zoos. “They walk on a leash and eat out of our hands. Sit down in their pasture and even the grown ewes will crawl into your lap. The bucks are docile as well and never try to ram or butt us.”
She says the lack of wool and tails to cut and their relatively small size makes Katahdin hair sheep ideal for pets. Without the heavy wool found on other sheep breeds, she says there is no concern for fly strike (maggots).
“They don’t have that wooly smell, and they are easier to care for,” says Funkhouser. “Their hair gets thicker during the winter, but they shed like a dog in the spring. You just brush them out.”
Funkhouser’s flock has grown to 18 ewes and three rams. Her ideal is a smaller, more feminine body type rather than the stocky types desired for meat production. Her ewes range in size from 50 to 65 lbs. for smaller ones up to 130 lbs. Rams run close to 200 lbs.
“They are very good mothers and about 95 to 98 percent of offspring are twins,” says Funkhouser. “Our first ram was black with a white blaze on his face. Most of his lambs are black and white.”
The hair sheep will breed in either spring or fall, which works well for Funkhouser. With a limited market for pet sheep, she sells out her current crop before rebreeding. In 2011, she had a 10-lamb crop for sale, and by early 2012 she had only four left. She chose not to breed in fall 2011, but will breed her ewes this spring if all the lambs are sold.
Funkhouser recommends buyers take home a pair of lambs as they like company. She prices ewe lambs at $200, wethers at $150 and breeding rams at $300.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Heavenly Heart Farm, P.O. Box 332, Edinburg, Va. 22824 (ph 540 984-3925; email@example.com).
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