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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hello everyone, long time no see :D

Fair warning, this might get a little rambley lol.

So I'm starting to do some research on maybe getting into sheep and was curious if anyone here has Katahdins..?

I had thought once we got out of goats, that we were done with smaller livestock but I've been starting to entertain the idea again. I just need to get all my facts straight first, before I present my case to my wife. (rofl)

So we got out of the goats for several reasons... worms, them wrecking all of our stuff, and escaping mainly. They were turning into a lot of work for little return both for pleasure and financially. It seemed like we were never able to leave, due to the afore mentioned reasons. So we now have two cows instead.

But one thing that we really miss about the goats, was that they kept our pasture's looking amazing! Our pasture's looked like a well manicured lawn but shaggy-er...not a weed in sight. Well, in the 2...3? years since they've been gone, the pastures quickly turned into a weed nightmare.

So I was wondering, those of you with Katahdins, if you could help with a couple questions?

1: Are they escape artists like goats? I'm not that familiar with sheep in general, like if they too will turn themselves into liquid to get out or if they are mostly content to just stay put.

Most of our pasture fencing is still woven wire with two bards on top. But we are planning on possibly replacing some of it and was curious what to keep in mind, if we decided to move forward with this idea someday. I've been toying around with 4 barb's and an electric wire in between each but could make the woven wire with some electric wires work too.

2: Is their parasite resistance as good as they say? Towards the end with the goats, we were really struggling with barber pole worms. We just couldn't get ahead of it it seemed, year after year, no matter how much culling we did. I'm not sure how long those stay in the soil but it's possible it would come up again I think.

3: Are they good mothers and have vigorous kids in your experience? If we decided to keep a few ewes, we would try and breed for early summer lambing. None of the mid March stuff we had done with the goats lol, and all the intense baby sitting that came with newborn kids and cold weather.

4: Good weed control in your experience?

5: Are they cuter in person than on the internet lol? Joke question...mostly. :lolgoat: Going to be honest, they kind of turned me off the first time I seen pictures of them. But after a while I've started to accept that they are just different than a wool sheep or a goat and I could see myself liking them. It really helped to see pictures from the breeders I've been scoping out.

This is all mostly just research at this point and wouldn't happen for a year or two probably. I think we are first going to start off with buying some lambs this late spring/summer and then sell again before winter. We don't have the setup anymore to keep ewes during the winter anymore. We have a lean-to shelter in our pasture, for the lambs we plan on getting this summer. I would add on a lean-to to our barn if we ever decided to get ewes.

I just wanted to start doing my research now because our weed problem is out of control at this point lol we're going to have to do something. I've been considering even maybe going into goats again, if the katahdins don't end up being a good fit. I would probably look into Spanish or Kikko's. Wool sheep i.e. shearing, other than buying lambs for the summer, are not something I'm interested in.

In summary we are looking for low maintenance weed whackers that help pay for their fuel. :happygoat:

Thanks for your knowledge!
 

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We used to raise dorper and Barbados..
Kadahidin sheep are hair sheep..nice not to have to sheer them..they are good mothers..sheep generally do not test fences. And will definitely keep the ground clear of weeds.
Hair sheep tend to be more parasite resistant.
Sheep by nature are not very friendly like goats can be...trimming hooves are pretty similar to goats except instead of putting them on a table..we sat them back on my son's lap and I trimmed. Once laid back they are super calm.
In Texas Dorpers are the big business. Barbados are more wild but we liked the cross of the two. They sell well at market.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I haven't seen @minibarn post in a while but they had the most slammin Katahdin flock I've seen.
Ok thanks, I'll go creep on their posts :D

We used to raise dorper and Barbados..
Kadahidin sheep are hair sheep..nice not to have to sheer them..they are good mothers..sheep generally do not test fences. And will definitely keep the ground clear of weeds.
Hair sheep tend to be more parasite resistant.
Sheep by nature are not very friendly like goats can be...trimming hooves are pretty similar to goats except instead of putting them on a table..we sat them back on my son's lap and I trimmed. Once laid back they are super calm.
In Texas Dorpers are the big business. Barbados are more wild but we liked the cross of the two. They sell well at market.
Thanks, this is the info I was looking for. It confirms what I've been reading. Them challenging the fencing was my greatest concern really. We have a newer neighbor that is ....not the greatest and doesn't tolerate animals getting into his pasture (even though his crappy fence is the problem). Which was happening with our goats, another reason we had to sell them.

Off-topic, that is so great your wrote a book on goat health. Congratulations! I remember referring to your website a lot and your posts/replies, especially on bottle babies.
 

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I haven't seen @minibarn post in a while but they had the most slammin Katahdin flock I've seen.
Hey thanks! I haven't been on this site in ages! Our life changed over the past few years and we are no longer on the farm. When I miss the farm life I go back creeping on all my old stomping grounds online....the goat spot was my favourite !
Oh good, they have adorable pictures of their lambs. This is the ammo I need to get my wife on board! :great:
I absolutely loved my katahdins and would highly recommend! And the newborn lambs were definitely cuter than newborn wool sheep, almost like goat kids. Agree with everything happybleats said about their behaviour. They were less trouble than the goats as far as fencing but I did love the individual friendly personalities of the goats so I had both.
Good luck in your ventures!
 

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Did you decide?

1. No way! We keep ours in with minimal woven wire, electric net, or electric wire. They got out once; I don't recall why but I'm sure it was a fencing mishap, not their jumping. Most of our fence is 4" woven, barbed at the bottom to deter diggers, and a hot wire above.

2: Totes. We have low pressure and lots to graze, and use some herbal boosters, but have only had to treat one lamb once for parasites. I just did FAMACHA's on our ewes (only 9) about 3 weeks ago and everyone looked amazing. Last year's ram is going to make it even better, if that's even possible. Chickens following behind can help, too.

3: OMG yes. Our average birth weight is about 10lb. I have had to pull one in three lambing seasons due to size. He was over 13#, single. We have a couple ewes that are flock midwives, helping others clean up babies and will nurse anyone that tries. Sometimes it's a problem. Haven't had a lamb rejected by mom yet (well, one, but again that might have been sharp teeth and our fault bc the baby escaped the jug and bonded with a midwife-ewe). We turn in the ram T-giving weekend for early May lambing and it works quite well in SC WI. Our nicest looking ewe just had triplets- two under 5# and one 10- quite an anomaly, but they are all nursing and growing.

4: yup. We're thistle-prone here and they do great. We do have goats too but they don't graze together as much as we anticipated due to presence of intact males, babies, milking, etc. Last year we had goats in a wood lot with poison ivy and a sea garlic mustard about to bloom. Goats ate all the leaves off the GM, sheep followed soon after and nipped off all the flowers. :) They browse the weed trees well but don't girdle our younger desirables like goats. If you rotate them in your smaller sections of pasture with some electric fencing you'll encourage them to eat more of the weeds along the way, otherwise they'll cherry pick some. We graze them through asparagus fields for weed control.

5: Well, I think they are adorbs. Our ewes are definitely in your pocket. Most have names (easier to remember than numbers). One is a wild stallion and acts like she hates us but she's looks AMAZING and does everything 110%. We like their quiet and calm temperaments, and their independence. When we're traveling, the sheep are the last thing I worry about, and our farm-sitter's favorite. They are sweet and easy.

We trim hooves once a year. If you have the infrastructure, I'd go for it. Get the best you can afford and start small. We LOVE the meat too, it's mild and not the least bit muttony. We harvested two ewes last year that were under-perfoming and turned them to sausage but I think they'd have been just as good as cuts.

We have a sweet deal with our breeder to prove their ram and host a small breeding group of their ewes each year. Then the ram goes on to fetch thousands of dollars at the big annual summer show. Everybody wins.

Where are you located?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 · (Edited)
I think we are going to hold off for this year, but we'll see. We are possibly going to be pasturing a few of a friends goats for the summer and will work on updating our fencing. Hopefully we get some rain soon but if not, it's going to be a for sure pass for this year.

I'd personally like to start with a few lambs this year and have them bred next year, when we have some sheep friendly infrastructure in place.

I'm in North Dakota :)
 
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