In some regions of the United States, ewes are being milked for cheese production. A large sheep breed, rams often reach more than 190 lbs. Read more: Learn more about how sheep experience the world. In 1975, Warren Foote, a professor at Utah State University, imported 22 bred Virgin Island White ewes and three rams to study from the island of St. Croix. They are not selective eaters. Tail should not need docking. Their coat sheds water. In 2012, Langston University in Oklahoma began a three-year study which included a flock of Persimmon Creek St. Croix Dorper crosses that had not been wormed for several years and had been selectively culled for parasite resistance. St. Croix sheep are easily managed. Ewes and rams are polled (no horns), and rams have a large throat ruff. St. Croix sheep have a high lamb survivability and the ewes are instinctive mothers, usually not requiring much help. In 2019, St. Croix Hair Sheep moved from Threatened status to Watch status on The Livestock Conservancy’s Conservation Priority List. Their hair coat lets them tolerate the heat, and they grow a thick wool coat in cold winter temperatures. The St Croix (Saint 'Croy') is a breed of domestic sheep native to the U.S. Virgin Islands and named for the island of Saint Croix. The St Croix is a hardy tropical breed known for its parasite resistance, and is raised primarily for meat production. Required fields are marked *. For more information, contact St. Croix Hair Sheep Breeders Inc. University personnel realized the Virgin Island sheep had useful characteristics: Soon, experimental flocks popped up at several other colleges and field stations. Thank you for choosing this service. The professor selected the sheep on physical attributes he considered desirable: a white hair coat to reflect the Middle Eastern sun, the strongest parasite-resistance of any sheep breed in the U.S. (the breed’s most notable trait). They are well adapted to the hot humid climate of the tropics and can survive in cold temperatures. Funding cutbacks, staff turnovers and changes in research focus saw many university St. Croix flocks dispersed from 1998 to 2006. Average birth weight of the St. Croix sheep is around 2.7 to 3.1 kg. This article originally appeared in the March/April 2020 issue of Hobby Farms magazine. Birth weights for twins average 7 lbs. Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. [3], St. Croix sheep are both grazers and browsers. Larger flocks focused on meat production have also begun to look at using St. Croix-influenced ewes and rams in their breeding flocks. Recipe: Cinnamon & Sugar Brioche Is A Rich, Tender Treat, “The No-Till Organic Vegetable Farm” Is A Comprehensive Guide For No-Till Farmers, Goat Glamping & Miniature Donkeys Star At Honey Blom Farms, Replace Traditional ‘Clean-Up’ Practices for Healthier (and Livelier!) [2], St. Croix ewes produce ample quantities of milk high in butterfat. St. Croix sheep are also known for their resistance to parasites. When St. Croix are crossed with a heavier, faster growing breed of sheep, the offspring generally take on the market characteristics of the other breed but maintain the excellent maternal traits and a good degree of the parasite-resistance of the St. Croix. [2], St. Croix sheep can live in a wide variety of climates. People looking for purebred and crossbred sheep are noticing the useful qualities of the St. Croix sheep. Ewes can lamb at 12 months of age. Gardens. [3] The other group sought to register purebred St. Croix, even if they had color caused by the genetic characteristics that always existed in the sheep since before importation. ewes and three rams to study from the island of St. Croix. Most of the St. Croix went to private flocks, and the owners continued the recordkeeping of the registry. Hair sheep breeds in the Caribbean islands developed from stock that early European explorers left behind on their ventures to the New World in the 1500s. Sheep are, quite possibly, the ultimate small-farm ruminant. At the age of 7–8 months, ewe lambs should have their first estrus cycle. In 2019, St. Croix Hair Sheep moved from Threatened st, the offspring generally take on the market characteristics. All rights reserved. Ewes and rams are polled (no horns), and rams have a large throat ruff. Mature ewes weigh 68 kg (150 lbs) and rams weigh 90 kg (200 lbs). There is error while submitting your request. [2], St Croix Hair Sheep International Association, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=St._Croix_sheep&oldid=929527045, Sheep breeds originating in the United States, Articles with unsourced statements from December 2016, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 6 December 2019, at 11:31. Flavor and aroma is described as mild. One sheep breed was called the Virgin Island White, even though not all of the sheep were white. Ewes also produce plenty of milk for their lambs. Copyright © 2020 EG Media Investments LLC. Qualities that attracted us to the St Croix is their legendary resistance to parasites, browsing abilities, high reproduction rate and ruggedness. Birth weights average 2.7 kg (6 lbs) to 3.1 kg (7 lbs). People looking for purebred and crossbred sheep are noticing the useful qualities of the St. Croix sheep. Lambs should be separated from their mother after 60 days to prevent impregnation of the ewe. The Breed of Hair Sheep that we decided to start with is the St Croix. Please let us know a convenient time to call you on, (*All time slots are available in CDT zone.). One to four lambs in one lamb crop are possible, with twins being most common. Size of St. Croix Mature rams sport a lion-like mane that may fall down to the knees. Meat is judged as having good flavor, juiciness, and tenderness. The other group sought to register purebred St. Croix, even if they had color caused by the genetic characteristics that always existed in the sheep since before importation. Mature rams weigh up to 200 lbs and ewes up to 150 lbs. The size of the ewes in the U.S. averages 119 pounds, while the rams average 163 pounds. Small farms continue to enjoy St. Croix for their ease of care. Charging and head butting is a less common behavior in rams. And the mature ewes on average weight around 68 kg. Your email address will not be published. Most St. Croix are completely white with others being solid tan, brown, black or white with brown or black spots. Your email address will not be published. Tail should not need docking. Ewes can have two lamb crops in a year, sometimes three in two years.