Our sheep business is built around our flock of Katahdin Hair Sheep, an American Heritage Breed. Katahdin Hair Sheep were originally developed on the Piel Farm in north central Maine near Mt. Katahdin. His purpose was to develop a new line of non-wool producing sheep (hair sheep) that would not require shearing, would prove hardy, reliable mothers, with good flocking instincts and high fertility. The perfect sheep to supply fresh lamb to the American table.
For more information - see KHSI - http://www.khsi.org.
Our Katahdin breeding stock comes from breeders emphasizing strong mothering qualities, good fertility, plenty of milk for newborn lambs, and parasite resistance.
We have a commitment to produce healthy animals while minimizing the use of antibiotics and wormers. The cornerstone of our program means providing a healthy environment for our sheep with good pasture rotation, plenty of fresh water, sunshine and fresh air.
We generate performance data on all of our sheep and typically cull the bottom 30 - 40% of our ewe lambs and bottom 90% of our ram lambs. This helps us make breeding decisions using a more scientific method. We only sell premium rams and stratify our ewes according to their performance data into 'average' (40th to 80th percentile) and premium (top 20%).
Performance data have been shown to accurately predict true performance in the field, and allow breeders to make breeding decisions based on something more scientific than just a 'nice looking' animal. We strive for an animal that shows strong performance data in her lambs, great maternal traits, and an A-type coat. Any ewe that shows signs of poor mothering is culled.
One area of interest in our breeding program is improving the parasite resistance of our flock. To further this goal, we use the FAMACHA anemia scoring system in conjunction with fecal egg counts to determine when dewormers are necessary. This allows us to minimize the use of dewormers, whose overuse has led to increasing drug-resistance, while maintaining the health of our flock.
We are also members of the Voluntary Scrapie-Free Certification Program, whose purpose is to eliminate classic scrapie in the United States. This requires a more stringent set of inspections and mandatory post-mortem necropsy to confirm the absence of scrapie in ALL ruminants on the property.
Our ultimate goal is to develop a line of katahdins that rarely require deworming, but maintain all the best qualities that originally attracted us to the Katahdin breed in the first place.