Shadow Ridge Farm`s Sheep

New Girl!

We welcomed our newest outside bred ewe lamb to our farm on December 7th, 2010. I am so excited to be adding the Katahdin bloodline into our herd (she is only 3/4 Katahdin but is bred to a pure Katahdin ram). I have been educating myself on this breed for a few years now and have been wanting to add this bloodline in but had to wait until I had cut back on the number of rams here. We are now down to just 4 rams (2 poly/ABB calico cross and 2 American BlackBelly at this writing). Our newest girl is dubbed Hakuna Katahdin :) The Katahdin ram she is bred to for spring was owned by the same man I purchased her from but is unrelated to her. I added pics of her and the ram she is bred to and her mother on my 2010 purchased lambs page. She is a 2010 lamb herself. Her mother is 1/2 American Black Belly 1/2 Katahdin and her father is a full Katahdin. Our girl is pictured above just 2 days after she arrived here. We are just so excited to welcome this new girl into our herd...Thank you Dean Johnston for allowing us to purchase her! Below is a bit on Breed origin and links to good sites on other breeds used to create our Katahdin today...

 

Breed Origin

The development of the breed began in the late 1950's with the importation of a small number of haired sheep from the Caribbean by Michael Piel of Maine. The Piel Farm had several thousand sheep at the time and Piel felt that "progress in selection for traits important to the production of meat would be greatly enhanced by the elimination of wool as a major factor for selection." His goal was to combine the hair coat, prolificacy, and hardiness of the Virgin Island sheep with the meat conformation and rate of growth of wool breeds. He began to experiment with crosses between the hair sheep and various British breeds, especially Suffolk. After almost 20 years of crossing the resulting hybrids "in every conceivable combination" and selecting the individuals with the desired combination of traits, Piel eventually collected a flock of ewes he called KATAHDINS, named after Mt. Katahdin in Maine. During the mid 1970's the Wiltshire Horn, a shedding breed from England, was incorporated into the flock to add size and improve carcass quality. (from http://www.katahdins.org/)

http://www.wiltshirehorn.org.uk/home/  for info on the Wiltshire Horn shedding sheep

http://www.stcroixsheep.org/  for info on the St. Croix hair sheep

Both the above breeds (as well as others) were used in the "creation" of the original Katahdin breed (Mr. Piel's flock).   This breeds' registry (Katahdin Hair Sheep International) allows for upgrading (cross-breeding) with other breeds of sheep.  Depending on the breeder, Katahdins can be a composition of almost any breed and thus, have a great deal of variety.  After proper upgrading and recordation, the resulting sheep can be registered Katahdins.  According to the Katahdin breed registry - a Katahdin sheep can be any color (from solid black, brown, red, white to spotted and/or speckled  versions of  any color) or combination of colors.  They can be horned or polled.  Katahdins can have A, B or C coats (graded on how well they shed). 

According to the breed registry,  breeders are to strive for  a low maintenance, hair(shedding) sheep that produces market (meat) lambs.  Upgrading (cross-breeding) is permitted to introduce desirable traits into the genome.  Of course, what is desirable varies by breeder, so the breed registry establishes guidelines.  Depending on the varieties of sheep that are predominate in any given Katahdin, you will have those breeds influence the appearance, size, carcass traits, temperament, parasite tolerance, prolificacy, etc.    If you have heard a lot about Katahdin sheep and want to know the facts about this breed, visit www.katahdins.org and click on breed standards.