Katahdin Sheep in a nutshell

and what I learned from our lovely Charlotte, the sheep raised by goats.

It’s still winter and still cold around here. I spoke to my mother the other day and through others, she mentioned the positive degrees they were experiencing…nope. not here. We still have a couple of months until we see some more sun and some consistency in positive degrees. Anyway….

As you may remember, Charlotte came to us from a lady that had her and a few wether goats (castrated male goats). The lady told us that Charlotte was born on another farm, and when her mother became ill and passed, her owners moved her with a nanny goat to protect her and continue raising her. The lady bought her for her daughter to raise and since they already had some goats, they figured it might work perfectly and it did. They put her up for sale because the daughter was to move away to go to university. Charlotte’s beauty captured us first, but her story is what warmed our hearts and we decided she needed to come with us and spend the rest of her life with our goats. because she loves goats too.

feeding time

The introduction went very well, but the integration went even better! Charlotte and Valentine became best buds – two sisters that get along great, butt heads sometimes, but love each other dearly 🙂 And you would see shortly that I know what I am talking about…

Back to the goats for a few moments. They came as a package: three ladies and a big boy. Well, the breeding season came around and gentle giant Bucky became a big pain in the butt! At the end of September we decided that, for my safety, he had to go. I could not see myself handling an 175+ lbs beast over winter all by myself… Therefore, December 1st was the date he left our farm. breed the best, eat the rest… 

After Bucky was gone, a magical thing happened! Besides that it didn’t look like anybody was missing him much, everyone seemed a bit calmer around the yard… But, that’s not the full magic that happened. Bucky used to protect the goats from the mean dogs and he would butt and chase Annie away every time she pestered the herd. That job position, of the protector, was immediately filled! Right under my eyes, Charlotte stepped up and fulfilled a role that I would never have thought possible. She started charging at Annie, running her away, and rounding the goats to safety… I have to catch it on video for all of you to believe me too! She has this thing she does with her front feet – she stomps one at a time as a warning. I noticed that early on, after her arrival, and I also saw the big dogs noticed it too – they stop in their tracks and they either turn to walk the other way or they go around her. Annie, however, takes this as a playful act and starts the dance of running back and forth to Charlotte, until she pisses her off and Charlotte chases her away. Therefore, Annie is not allowed around the barn for too long because, as she starts to get bored, she starts picking on all the animals and see how much she can get away with.

Katahdin sheep

Charlotte is a Katahdin sheep – a breed that sheds its coat come Spring. That’s right! it doesn’t need to be sheared. It sheds just like our dogs shed their undercoat. She did, however, produce enough wool to keep her warm in our cold, snowy, Canadian winter. The lady before sheared her so that her coat looked even. I might consider that option too since I am planning to learn to shear our alpacas anyway 😀

Katahdins are a medium-sized and lean breed of meat sheep. They were first developed in Maine, USA  and named after Mount Katahdin – the highest peak in Maine. They were originally designed by combining the genetics of the St. Croix hair sheep, the Wiltshire horned sheep, the Suffolk (to add size) and various other breeds. As they do not have to put so much of their energy into wool production, they are more efficient at converting food into the excellent, lean meat that they are famous for. They are also more parasite tolerant than other sheep breeds. This is due to the fact that external parasites, such as keds, do not thrive well in the short hair of the Katahdin sheep.

Katahdin sheep with goats

Most importantly, everyone loves Charlotte back 🙂 The babies play with her and she is always so gentle with them. I can’t wait until she has some of her own.

Fun fact: Katahdins may produce as much milk as some milk sheep breeds such as Friesians – as much as 5 litres a day. I cannot wait to find her a boyfriend to put this to test because all my researched said that sheep only produce 300 and some millilitres of milk per day…

If you would like to read a little more about the Katahdin Sheep, this is a really good article to get your curiosity started 🙂

Now, enjoy this short video of everyone munching on a couple of ‘Christmas trees’ our neighbour brought over back at the beginning of January. This was happening just a couple of days before the kids started arriving.

 

3 Thoughts on “Katahdin Sheep in a nutshell

  1. Love the ducks all lined up on the fence, watching!

  2. Yay, Charlotte! She’s beautiful and the perfect addition to your farm family. Annie had better watch out 😉!

    • Thank you Linda, she is a true treasure. I hope to find more like her (beauty and brains lol). Annie will probably become “good” by next winter – they take forever to fully mature

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