We asked you to tell us about your beloved livestock breeds, and you answered. These shepherds wrote in to tell us what they love about keeping the St. Croix Hair Sheep breed!
We have fallen in love with St. Croix Hair Sheep for the breed’s ease of day-to-day care, parasite resistance and the rarity of needing to trim hooves. They are a little smaller than other breeds of sheep, which makes them easier to manage. If you have never been around livestock, this the perfect breed to start on, regardless of age or experience.
My wife and I were in our mid-50s when we started, with only limited experience with livestock prior to that, and it has proven to be an incredibly enjoyable experience. Their size and ease of management allows hobby farmers to raise an animal with little health care management and no shearing.
You can also set up a very good rotational grazing operation on a small acreage. No need to mow or hay when you can use an income- and fertilizer-producing animal to do it for you.
They also make perfect 4-H projects. We had a couple of bottle feeders last spring that we sold to a family with young kids. They finished raising them and are using them in their activities. A great bonus is that they produce delicious, mild-tasting meat that doesn’t have the gamy flavor that come with the wool breeds.
I highly recommend St. Croix Hair Sheep!
Charles A. Johnson, The Purple Cat Farm, Centerview, Missouri
St. Croix Hair Sheep were the silver lining in our little grey cloud! Frustrated in our attempts to find another breed of sheep, we found a small farm selling a half dozen St. Croix ewes and lambs.
Right from the start, they were a perfect fit for our land.
Rotating between pastures, they search the thin, high-desert vegetation. Browsing as much as grazing, they thrive on green or dry grasses and weeds, leaves and twigs that most sheep breeds can’t or won’t eat. Light on their feet, they leave the roots of perennial grasses unharmed.
The pastures are richer with their manure, and reducing the vegetation reduces the fire danger here in the arid West.
With ancestors left behind on Caribbean islands, meant to supply meat to residents and to future ships exploring the New World, this breed is hardy and healthy, needing little care. Ewes most often present twin lambs. No shepherd’s help required!
Genetics and selection make them heat- and cold-tolerant and parasite-resistant.
For more information, check out The St. Croix Hair Sheep Breeders Inc., the official registry for St Croix Sheep (www.stcroixsheep.org).
Lori Marion, Shasta Ranch, Klamath Falls, Oregon
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2022 issue of Hobby Farms magazine. Email us your thoughts (~250 words) and a photo of you and your livestock to firstname.lastname@example.org (subject line: I Love My Livestock!). We’ll publish our favorites in upcoming issues.