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Katahdin Sheep

Our flock of fifteen Katahdin sheep were purchased from master shepherd Tom Settlemire, who works with Crystal Spring Farm’s Katahdin’s. This breed of sheep is wooless, easy care, naturally tolerant of climatic extremes and known for their superior meat. We will be breeding our sheep to grow our flock, selling their meat to local restaurants, natural food stores, and farmers markets.

According to Katahdin Hair Sheep International, the development of the breed began in the late 1950's with the importation of a small number of haired sheep from the Caribbean by Michael Piel of Maine. The Piel Farm had several thousand sheep at the time and Piel felt that "progress in selection for traits important to the production of meat would be greatly enhanced by the elimination of wool as a major factor for selection." His goal was to combine the hair coat, prolificacy, and hardiness of the Virgin Island sheep with the meat conformation and rate of growth of wool breeds. He began to experiment with crosses between the hair sheep and various British breeds, especially Suffolk. After almost 20 years of crossing the resulting hybrids "in every conceivable combination" and selecting the individuals with the desired combination of traits, Piel eventually collected a flock of ewes he called KATAHDINS, named after Mt. Katahdin in Maine. During the mid 1970's the Wiltshire Horn, a shedding breed from England, was incorporated into the flock to add size and improve carcass quality.

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