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New breed of Russian sheep called Romanov
Four years ago we were sheep herders looking for the perfect ewe. We tried different breeds of sheep, including Dorset, Columbia, Finn, Rambouillet, Polypay and Suffolk, but we always fell short of our goal of a 200 percent lamb crop. After hearing rumors about a new breed of Russian sheep called Romanov that had made their way to Canada by way of France in 1980, and were being tested at an experiment station in Lethbridge, Alberta, we made several trips to the station to confirm for ourselves whether the astounding stories we had been hearing were true. We liked what we saw and when Lethbridge had their first sale of crossbred (1988) and purebred (1989) Romanovs, we were fortunate to purchase several of their top animals.
Although each of our previous breeds had their own special qualities, we've found the Romanov to be far superior. They're in a class of their own. Romanov ewes breed when they're 70 days old, compared to regular lambs that mature sexually at 6 to 7 months. And unlike most breeds, with not quite 1 lamb born per ewe per year and less than that making it to market each year, Romanovs have phenomenal multiple births. Quads and quints are common and there have been many recorded births of 7 to 9 live lambs. Regular sheep ovulate and breed only in the fall of the year while Romanov ewes breed naturally any month of the year so we can easily raise two lamb crops a year per ewe averaging six lambs per ewe. That's a 600 percent lamb crop! And one of the most striking characteristics of the Romanov is the aggressiveness of the newborns. Due to a tremendous will to live, they'll survive conditions where traditional breeds of sheep would perish.
We've been placing Romanov sheep across Canada and the U.S., using international truckers or flying them to their destinations in crates. It's definitely the hottest livestock breed on the market today and will cause an impact equal to that caused by the introduction of exotic cattle breeds in the 60's. We have gone from "rags to riches" on the coattails of our Russian sheep and they've been the adventure of a lifetime. (Lyle & Delorse Bowles, Box 591, Maple Creek, Sask. SON 1NO Canada ph 306 662-2916)

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1991 - Volume #15, Issue #2