Friday, January 10, 2014

Katahdin Hair Sheep Ram Cross

Rams, male sheep, are sexually mature at five months of age.  They are not physically mature for another six to twelve months, as some sheep breeds grow faster than others.

Katahdins are relatively slow growing sheep, the rams mature slowly in terms of their physical size and appearance.  By the time they are a year they are pretty impressive, but at the age of two they can be quite stunning.  I remember at one auction a 4 year old Katahdin ram entered the ring and people gasped as so few had seen anything like it, he looked like a miniature cow, wide nose, strong appearance, and he was brown too. 

6 month old Katadhin cross ram. 

This (photo above) is a young Katahdin cross ram, he is not purebred, his mother is a Barbado hair sheep cross.   Hair sheep have many advantages and they are becoming more and more popular in the United States and Canada, where wool is generally not as valuable as it was even 20 years ago.  The photo gives you a good idea of how hair sheep look in the winter - as he does have a thicker coat.  He is only 6 months old in this picture and will get a longer mane as he gets older.

You can see his tail is a bit shorter than the natural tail of a wool sheep breed. Hair sheep do have shorter tails, and they are less likely to become dirty with feces.

Hair sheep do not need their tails docked, do not need to be sheared, are more parasite resistant and there are claims that their meat tastes superior, even in older animals.  I personally do not eat lamb or mutton, this is just what I have heard and read.

I try not to treat the rams as "pets" as I find if they are too friendly they can also become dangerous.   I like my ewes to be tame and friendly, but if a ram is a little bit scared of me that is okay!