Our Fiber Sheep
In 2018 we began to diversify our sheep operation to optimize for quality of wool, and also to bring in breeds that are hardier than the East Friesians and tend to have fewer lambs, to make lambing-season a bit easier for us. We settled on Romneys and Corriedales and brought in small pedigreed starter flocks of both breeds in the summer of 2018. The Corriedales are beautiful, large, sheep with relatively open faces. We purchased from an excellent breeder who wins awards for her sheep as well as her fleeces. The Corriedale ewes we bought are all black, but with different degrees of fading in their genetics, so that their fleeces will fade to shades of charcoal grey. We bought a white Corriedale ram (who we named Dale), with champion fleece-producers in his pedigree. Dale is registered with the American Corriedale Association. Our black Corriedale ewes are registered with the Natural Colored Wool Growers Association. Their black color comes from a dominant color gene (Ed), but all of our black ewes are heterozygous (Ed/E+), so when they are crossed with Dale, we get either black or white Corriedale lambs.
Our Romneys are smaller sheep than the Corriedales or East Friesians, with woolier faces and legs. The Romneys come from a breeder who has carefully removed all of the dominant black color genetics from her flock, and bred sheep that express recessive color patterns in different lovely shades of pearly grey. We purchased 5 recessive-colored Romney ewes and one recessive-colored Romney ewe lamb, along with one white ewe lamb, and a recessive colored ram, named Mitt.
Our first purebred Romney and Corriedale lambs were born in 2019.
In 2020 we introduced Cormo genetics to our flock with Perry the Cormo ram, and in 2021 and 2022 we had a nice crop of white Cormo-Corriedale cross lambs with extraordinary fine fleeces that did very well in 2022 wool shows. In 2022 we added three very special rams to our flock: Panama and Cordoba are moorit (brown) Romney rams and will be the founders of our moorit-Romney flock. And Prince is a black Cormo who will contribute color to our fine Cormo-cross fleeces.
Our original move into fiber sheep was followed within a year by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the pausing of most wool shows and competitions. In 2022 I was finally able to enter some of our best fleeces in two wool shows, and was very pleased with how they did. At the Monterey County Fair Wool Show, we won every class we entered except one, Dale got Reserve Champion in the Breed Division, and we got Champion and Reserve Champion in the Market fleece division (see this link for all the Monterey awards). In the California National Wool Show at the Mendocino County Fair, all of our fleeces placed first, second or third. Brownie got Supreme Grand Champion Handspinner Fleece, and Dale got Reserve Champion in the Breed Division (see this link for more on the Mendocino awards).
We are very happy with the fine fleeces of our Cormo-Corriedale cross sheep, and will continue breeding our Cormo to our Corriedales to produce this cross, whose fleeces are nearly as fine as Cormo, but with the longer staple-length of the Corriedale. In addition, the cross-bred sheep are a nice size, not as large as the purebred Corriedales. We have sold Dale and will no longer be breeding purebred Corriedales.
We will also be continuing to breed white, recessive colored, and Moorit purebred Romneys.
We are no longer are breeding high-percentage East Friesians. For more about the history of our dairy sheep this page tells the story of our much-loved dairy sheep, and the wonderful people and dogs who care for all of our sheep.