Selecting the Best Sheep Breed for Your Homestead
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When selecting a sheep breed for your homestead, it is important to consider what you want sheep for. Are you looking for them to fill your freezer or cloth your family, or both? Keep reading for the favorite breeds for each category.
First, keep in mind that sheep are browsers. This means they are going to naturally select the broadleaf weeds above the grass and woody plants. If you have a weedy area, sheep will love it. 
Meat breeds of sheep are sheep that do not have high quality wool. They still grow wool, but the wool tends to be coarse and not soft. These breeds are good at growing muscle and tend to be bigger boned. Popular breeds for this are the Suffolk (my personal favorite), Hampshire, Katahdin, and Doper. Suffolk and Hampshire will produce a bigger carcass. Katahdin and Doper breeds are smaller, but more popular because of their easy care and smaller frame. Katahdin’s are famous for their ability to shed their wool coat in the spring.
Wool breeds of sheep may not have the best growing meat, but have outstanding soft, and fine wool coats. The most popular breed for wool is the Merino. Other popular breeds are the Romanoff, Romney, Lincoln, and Leicester Longwool. These breeds will grow a long wool fleece every year and need sheered. That fleece will be soft and great for spinning and making cloths with. 
Dual purpose breeds have a little bit of both categories. They may not be the best in either category, but they tend to have the best blend of both. Top breeds for dual purpose, are the Rambouillet, Dorset, and Corriedale. These breeds tend to grow a good amount of muscle, but still have a decently soft fleece. 
Some breeds are more prone to multiple lambs, some are more resistant to parasites, some have a reputation for being smarter or more hardy, some more tolerant to heat or cold. Every breed has its perks and downfalls. It is important to research each breed to make sure they will match your environment and needs. 
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