Meat Sheep have no lanolin, which results in a milder flavor
New markets for lamb meat expand breed options
BaaBaa Black Sheep, Have you any wool? No Sir No Sir! I shed to save you on feed and shearing costs. The next generation of sheep geared to meat production not wool comes in a variety of colors that make shepherding a lot more fun. Each year there seems to be a new pattern theme even from the same ram line.
The real positive of hair sheep as a meat breed is the absence of lanolin which prevents the meat (lamb) from becoming mutton (stronger tasting) that is the meat from older sheep. Most Canadians did not grow up eating lamb (mutton) due to our Fathers & Grandfathers being given cold mutton while in the trenches in the First World War, thus leaving them very negative about eating lamb after returning to Canada.
The new market for lamb being meat and not wool, has opened a whole new set of options for shepherds. No crutching, no shearing, and 1/3 less feed that would have gone into wool growth. There are several breeds of hair sheep and each have different traits but all traits combine to make an easier to care for sheep.
There are many sites on the internet to study the different breeds of sheep and what will work best for any operation depends on how your management system is set up. The real benefit of hair sheep breeds is that they can be added to a cattle operation with only minor adjustments. Adding 2 or 3 electric wires to the bottom of your existing barb-wire or high tensile cattle fencing will allow the addition of sheep to your present grazing rotation. It is a good idea to also add a guardian animal with the sheep. [Livestock Guardian DOG]
Purchasing your sheep directly from the farm will help to ensure that you have quality ewe lambs to start your herd. Visit several operations prior to your purchase as well, to familiarize yourself with as many aspects of shepherding as possible and to learn what to look for in a sheep.