These two new stars at Leafhopper Farm are Salt and Pepper, Katahdin sheep from the east side of Washington. They are a hair sheep, meaning the fleece will naturally shed off without the need for shearing. They are also used to colder wet weather and have a great health record, with low susceptibility to parasites, something you find in most older world breeds. Old world to me means shedding sheep- a trait left over from before human domestication and sheering for wool weight was desirable. It also means better genetics and low maintenance care, both highly desirable traits for animals that inhabit Leafhopper Farm.
Old world sheep are also adept at browsing a diversity of forage in the field, unlike moderns breeds which prefer grass alone. These rugged animals wander the pastures with great energy, hopping across the swales and confidently moving around the landscape without the typical fear and panic you see in many modern breeds. Salt and Pepper were hand raised by a young girl who fed them grain every day and handled them often. This has lead to very gentle behavior form the sheep, and they are a pleasure to work with here on the farm. An extra special thanks to Alice and her Mom for raising such wonderful sheep.
Our plan at Leafhopper is to acquire more of this breed for the farm next Spring. As we slowly shift towards sheep, the farm hopes to utilize more electric mesh netted pastures, opening up more grazing and better access to the fields at the farm for grazing livestock. We’ve has sheep before, and are happy to have a breed that is calm and docile, unlike the wild soay and black bellied barbs we tried in the past. With luck, the Katahdin will be the farm breed of choice, and we’ll work towards building a herd of 8-10 animals for pasture management and meat. It’s great to have sheep back in the pastures of Leafhopper Farm.