Introduction to Hair Sheep Production


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Introduction to Hair Sheep Production

  1. 1. SUSAN SCHOENIAN (Shāy-ne-ŭn)Extension Sheep & Goat SpecialistWestern Maryland Research & Education -
  2. 2. 1) Breeds2) Production systems3) Marketing
  3. 3. Breed - a group of usually domesticated animals or plants presumably related by descentfrom common ancestors and visibly similar in most characters . (Merriam-Webster)
  4. 4. Mouflon Rambouillet
  5. 5.  Sheep Production Handbook: “Sheep whose coats consist of hair, more like that of cattle and goats, rather than wool.”Some other definitions A sheep that does not require annual shearing. A sheep that sheds its coat annually. A sheep whose coat has more hair than wool.
  6. 6. PROS CONS Ease of management  Smaller carcasses  No shearing  No crutching  Slower growth  No docking  Less carcass muscling  More internal fat Environmental adaptation  Resistance to internal parasites  More heat tolerant  Low maintenance (forage) Reproductive efficiency  Early puberty  Good mothering ability  Out-of-season breeding  Prolificacy
  7. 7.  Lower fat meat No scientific evidence to support claim Leaner carcasses More internal fat at same finish (back fat) as wooled breeds. Milder flavor meat Only anecdotal evidence Affected more by diet (grain vs. grass) Less hoof problems Foot rot bacteria does not differentiate between breed. Easier lambers Affected more by nutrition and management. Resistant to scrapie Resistance affected by genotype not breed.
  8. 8. Ways to evaluate breed diversity Origin  Tropical (West Africa)  Hot, dry (East/South Africa) Genetics  Landrace (pure)  Composites (crossbreds) Coat type  Hair  Shedding  Double-coated
  9. 9. WEST AFRICA EAST/ SOUTH AFRICA Thin-tailed sheep that  Fat-tail sheep that evolved in evolved in tropical or sub- hot, dry, desert climates. tropical climates.
  10. 10. LANDRACE COMPOSITES Adapted to local climate  Crosses between landrace Indigenous (unimproved) breeds and European “Pure” hair sheep (wooled) breeds.
  12. 12. LANDRACE COMPOSITES DUAL-COATED St. Croix  Katahdin  Romanov Barbados Blackbelly  Dorper American Blackbelly  Royal White® OTHER Wiltshire Horn  California Red  “Exotics”
  13. 13. Origin Originated in Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. Exact origins unknown. Imported to USA in 1975. Unique to North America. Classified as a rare breed.Appearance Both sexes polled Usually white Small to medium size  Rams - up to 200 lbs. (avg. 163 #)  Ewes - up to 150 lbs. (avg. 119#) St. Croix ewes in British Virgin Islands
  14. 14. PROS CONS Exceptional parasite  Small carcass size < most wooled breeds resistance (#1) < composite hair x wool Exceptional reproductive  Slower growth < most wooled breeds qualities < composite hair x wool  Early puberty  Less carcass muscling  Good mothering ability < most wooled breeds  Out-of-season breeding < composite hair x wool  Prolificacy  More internal carcass fat > most wooled breeds Outstanding maternal breed! > composite hair x wool
  15. 15. Barbados Blackbelly lambs in BarbadosOrigin Originated in Barbados in the Caribbean. Exact origins unknown Imported to USA in 1904. Few “true” Barbados Blackbellies in USA.Appearance Both sexes polled. Distinct markings that include various shades of brown, with black under parts and points and a badger face. Small breed: rams average 100-130#; ewes average 85-100#
  16. 16.  The “American Blackbelly is a cross between the Barbados Blackbelly and various European breeds (Mouflon and Rambouillet), resulting in a horned animal. Historically, the American Blackbelly was used for trophy hunting and training herding dogs. Image source: Oklahoma State University
  17. 17. PROS CONS Internal parasite resistance  Small carcass size < most wooled breeds < composite hair x wool Reproductive efficiency  Slower growth  Early puberty < most wooled breeds < composite hair x wool  Out-of-season breeding  Prolificacy  Less carcass muscling < most wooled breeds < composite hair x wool  More internal carcass fatOutstanding maternal breed > most wooled breeds > composite hair x wool  Disposition (American Blackbelly)
  18. 18. Origin Developed in 1950’s in USA (Maine) by crossing Caribbean hair sheep (St. Croix) with various British breeds (e.g. Suffolk); Wiltshire Horn later introduced. One of most popular breeds in US.Appearance Both sexes usually polled Multi colors and patterns Variable coat types Medium size breed  Rams - 180 to 250 #  Ewes - 120 to 160 #
  19. 19. PROS CONS Internal parasite resistance  Smaller carcass size  Intermediate between hair < most wooled breeds breeds and wooled breeds > hair breeds Reproductive efficiency  Slower growth  Early puberty < many wooled breeds > hair breeds  Out-of-season breeding  Prolificacy  Less carcass muscling  Milking ability < meat-type wooled breeds > hair breeds “Best” all-around hair sheep  More Internal carcass fat  Intermediate between hair > most wooled breeds and wool sheep in most traits < hair breeds  Excellent maternal breed.
  20. 20. Origin Developed in South Africa in 1930’s by crossing Dorset Horn with Persian Blackhead (desert, fat-rump sheep) Imported to USA in 1995. One of the most popular breeds in USA.Appearance Both sexes usually polled Short coat of wool and hair Two types 1. Dorper - white body with black head 2. White Dorper - all white Medium size Rams average 225# Ewes average 180-210#
  21. 21. PROS CONS Superior growth and carcass  Lighter finish weight than muscling as compared to conventional wooled other hair sheep. breeds. Less internal fat than other  Less adapted to warm, hair sheep. moist weather than other Good reproduction hair sheep breeds.  Early puberty  No documented resistance  Out-of-season breeding  Prolificacy to internal parasites. Only dual-purpose hair sheep  More variable in their (sire or dam) shedding ability
  22. 22. “EXOTIC” HAIR SHEEPROYAL WHITE® HORNED HAIR SHEEP Newest hair breed  Mouflon Developed in 1990’s by  Barbado William Hoag.  Black Hawaiian Cross between St. Croix and  Corsican White Dorper.  Desert Sand Previously called Dorpcroix.  Painted Desert  Texas Dall
  23. 23. ROMANOV Russian in origin. Dual coated with dark guard hairs. Outstanding reproductive qualities. Used a lot for crossing. WILTSHIRE HORN  Ancient British breed.  Sheds its short fleece.  Used to create Katahdin.  Both sexes horned.  Classified as a rare breed.
  24. 24. Why? With wool sheep to eliminate the need for shearing subsequent generations. Produce superior crossbred market lambs (terminal cross). Produce crossbred ewes of a specific type. Lambs are ¾ Katahdin x ¼ Lacaune
  25. 25. 1. Hybrid vigor  The performance of crossbred offspring is superior to the average performance of the two parent breeds. ▪ Crossbred lamb (offspring) ▪ Crossbred ewe (maternal) ▪ Crossbred ram (?) 2. Breed complementarity  Balancing the strengths and weakness of different½ Katahdin x ¼ Hampshire x ¼ Suffolk breeds.
  26. 26.  It takes anywhere from 1 to 3 generations of crossing to eliminate the need of shearing the crossbred offspring. Do not take the fleeces from hair x wool sheep to a wool pool. The fleeces could be used for insulation or something similar. 5/8 Lacaune x 3/8 Katahdin
  27. 27.  According to research recently conducted in the United Kingdom.  A single gene switches on the ability to shed.  Within shedders, there are genetic differences in the speed and extent of shedding.  Not all lambs shed, even though they may shed as adults.
  28. 28.  There is no best Land production system or way to Climate Buildings raise sheep. PRODUCTION Fit production SYSTEM system to Markets Machinery resources instead of the other way Labor around.
  29. 29.  Lambing period(s) Lambing environment Lambing frequency Lamb finishing system Marketing system
  30. 30.  Early winter (Dec-Jan) Late winter (Feb-Mar) Spring (Apr-May) Fall (Sept-Nov) Accelerated (multiple lambing periods)
  31. 31.  Indoor lambing Creep feeding Early weaning < 90 days Sell hot house lambs (for Orth. Easter) or finish lambs in dry lot for sale during first half of year.
  32. 32. PROS CONS Produces best quality lamb  Need good facilities for Highest prices for lambs lambing and feeding lambs Labor availability  Higher labor and Less predator risk management Parasites not usually a requirements. problem.  Higher non-pasture Less pasture needed feed costs.  Least profitable “on paper”
  33. 33.  Indoor lambing Graze ewes and lambs on lush spring pastures. Creep feeding and early weaning common. Can wean lambs and finish in dry lot or finish lambs on pasture.
  34. 34. PROS CONS Utilize lush spring forage  Need good facilities for growth lambing. Market lambs before peak  Higher labor and parasite challenge. management requirements Market lambs before onset than spring and fall lambing. of hot weather.  Higher non-pasture feed Market lambs before usual costs than spring or fall summer price slump. lambing. Higher lambing percentage  Some predator risk. than winter and fall  Some parasite challenge. lambing.  Price volatility.
  35. 35.  Indoor or pasture lambing. Graze ewes and lambs together through spring, winter, and fall. Later weaning Need to castrate rams Sell feeder lambs or light weight slaughter lambs or feed lambs and sell after first of year.
  36. 36. PROS CONS Minimal facilities required;  Competition for labor can lamb on pasture.  Weather risk during Less labor required at lambing lambing.  Highest predator risk Maximize forage use.  Highest parasite challenge Match seasonal nature of  Depressed weight gains in sheep reproduction to summer achieve higher fertility and  More pasture required to prolificacy. graze lambs More profitable “on paper”
  37. 37.  Indoor or pasture lambing. Graze ewes and lambs on high quality fall forage. Can utilize stockpiled forage for winter grazing. Sell lambs at Christmas or feed them and sell after first of year.
  38. 38. PROS CONS Market lambs in winter and  Success is limited by spring when lamb prices seasonal nature of sheep are usually the highest. reproduction. Minimal facilities required;  May require second can lamb on pasture. lambing period. Less labor required at  Usually lower lambing lambing. percentage with fall Less predator risk. lambing. Less parasite challenge.
  39. 39.  Twice a year Every six months Cornell STAR® system 5 times in 3 years Three times in two years e.g. Jan - May - Sept Continuous Leave ram(s) in
  40. 40. PROS CONS Market flexibility  More labor-intensive Year-round marketing  More management Out-of-season lambs intensive to sell  Higher feed costs Reduced overhead costs  Higher input costs Improved ewe efficiency  Longevity of ewes  Limited by success of out- of-season breeding.
  41. 41.  All sheep production systems require good management and an infusion of inputs.
  42. 42.  Most hair sheep fatten similarly to a goat, from the inside out. They will deposit fat around their internal organs (kidney and heart) before depositing subcutaneous fat over their ribs, backbone, and loin. As compared to carcasses from most wooled sheep, hair sheep carcasses will have a higher percentage of carcass fat at an equivalent amount of back fat. internal fat in a goat carcass
  43. 43. MOSTLY PASTURE MOSTLY CONCENTRATE Slower growth  Faster growth Longer feeding period  Shorter feeding period Leaner, lighter carcass  Better live grade Stronger flavor  Heavier, fatter carcass More healthful meat (?)  Milder flavor More economical (?)  Less healthful meat (?)  More economical (?)
  44. 44.  Full-feeding is likely to result in lambs that get too fat. Feeding lambs on higher roughage diets will allow lambs to achieve heavier finish weights, without depositing as much internal and subcutaneous fat.
  45. 45.  Breed or breed cross affects market suitability. Hair sheep are not suitable for all markets. If your lambs aren’t suitable for a particular market, they will sell at a discounted price and/or your customer will be dissatisfied.
  46. 46.  Pure hair sheep are not suitable for the commodity or mainstream market.  Poor carcass quality Katahdin and Dorper lambs should be able to meet the lower end of the weight range for commodity lambs without getting too fat (90-110 lbs.) Crosses between the composite breeds and meat- type, wooled breeds (e.g. Suffolk) should be suitable for the commodity markets in the Eastern USA. ½ Katahdin x ¼ Hampshire x ¼ Suffolk
  47. 47.  The “ethnic” market is composed of many different markets, each having differing preferences and requirements. Hair sheep and their composites and crosses are suitable for some of these markets, but maybe not all.
  48. 48.  Hair sheep lack the carcass quality favored by buyers and consumers of hothouse lambs. The composite breeds may or may not be suitable for the hot house market.  Purebred Katahdin Probably not  Dorper or Dorper x Probably  Katahdin x Dorper Probably  Katahdin x Southdown or Dorset Probably
  49. 49.  This is the market that hair sheep are probably best-suited for. The composite breeds are also well suited to this market. Ethnic markets often prefer tailed, intact lambs. Some ethnic customers prefer hair sheep lambs.
  50. 50.  Any breed can be suitable for direct marketing, so long as you are producing the type of lamb that your consumer desires and is willing to pay a premium price for.  Local  Grass-fed  Pasture-raised  Naturally-raised  Organic  Grain-fed  Light weight  Mild flavor Hair sheep may be uniquely suited to grass-fed and organic production systems because of their resistance to internal parasites.
  51. 51.  An Introduction to Hair Sheep Production Hair Sheep Primer from Sheep 201 Proceedings 2005 Hair Sheep Workshop at VSU
  52. 52. Thank ewe for your attention.
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