Katahdins are hardy, adaptable, low maintenance sheep that produce superior lamb crops and lean, meaty carcasses. They do not produce a fleece and therefore do not require shearing. They are medium sized and efficient, bred for utility and for production in a variety of management systems. Ewes have exceptional mothering ability and lamb easily; lambs are born vigorous and alert. The breed is ideal for pasture lambing and grass/forage-based management systems.
The Katahdin is a hair sheep breed that was developed at Piel Farm in Maine beginning in the 1950s. The goal was to produce a hardy meat sheep that did not require shearing. Virgin Islands hair sheep contributed the hair coat, as well as hardiness and prolificacy. The Suffolk and other wooled breeds were used to improve size and carcass quality. During the 1970s, the Wiltshire Horn, a hair sheep from England, was also incorporated to a limited degree in order to increase size and improve carcass quality. The resulting breed was named for Maine’s Mt. Katahdin.
Dorsets are best known for their ability to produce a lamb crop any time during the year. History tells us that centuries ago when Spain wished to conquer England, Merino sheep were brought into southwest England and crossed with the Horned Sheep of Wales. The result was a desirable, all-purpose sheep that spread over Dorset, Somerset, Devon and most of Wales.
The first Horned Dorsets were brought to the United States in 1885. In 1948, a dominant gene for polledness occurred resulting in Polled Dorsets which are now popular in the farm flock states. Dorset ewes are prolific, heavy milkers that produce lambs with moderate growth and maturity that yield heavy muscled carcasses.
The first Dorsets on the East Coast were brought from England in 1885 and exhibited at the American Fat Stock Show in Chicago. Other early importers between 1887 and 1891 were: William Daley, Lockport, NY; E. F. Bowditch, Framingham, MA; T. S. Cooper, Coopersburg, PA; J, L. Henderson & Son, Washington, PA, and Tranquility Farms, Allamuchy, NJ.
The Suffolk is a truly pure and unique breed that has been proven for over 200 years. The Suffolk, an original English breed, was the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. The uniformity and hardiness of this breed maximizes the hybrid vigour of the progeny. The Suffolk breed is the most recognized breed worldwide. It is unsurpassed in eating quality and is considered the breed for the table.
Suffolks are considered a large breed of sheep, their size and coloring originates from their Southdown heritage. Their large frame and muscular bodies make them an ideal breed for meat production, however; they are also good for wool production as well. They are hardy sheep, a trait originating from their Norfolk Horn heritage.
Suffolk rams are commonly used as a terminal sire on cross-bred ewes due to their ability to produce off-spring with excellent growth and carcass traits.
The first Suffolks were brought to this country in 1888 by Mr. G.B. Streeter of Chazy, New York
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