Each breed of meat has characteristics which make it an ideal choice for some shepherds. Some are big and meaty, while others produce meat that is particularly delicious. While some meat does not lose flavour with age, others grow very quickly, saving you time and money. The best breed for you will depend on the objectives you have for your farm or homestead.
Generally, farmers want to preserve exotic breeds for crossbreeding. In order to start new farms, the best practise is to raise pure-bred rams and crossbreed ewes. Crossbred lambs grow faster than purebred lambs, which is why sheep raisers select separately for breeding purposes to retain pure-bred sheep.
The Suffolk is a popular breed that participates in 4-H and other youth shows for meat, milk and baby.
Compared to most other sheep, these sheep are quiet, docile and different in appearance. They have black faces, ears and legs, all of which are wool-free.
Suffolk has an outstanding feed-conversion feature and is one of the highest rates of growth for any breed of sheep.
Meat has a strong texture, flavour, distinctive flavour, good moisture, and less fat than many other breeds.
Three lambs a year are born by Ewes and the lambs grow quickly. As a terminal breed with other breeds, Suffolk can be used to grow heavier lambs faster for marketing at about three months of age or a typical weight of 100 pounds. There is less medical cost, less feeding and less effort because you can sell lamb at an early age.
The only downside to Suffolk will be that they do well but usually benefit from supplementation on a very good pasture. But, when pastures are not top-notch, supplementation is a must. Some Suffolk raisers complain that they eat a lot, but considering the lambs’ growth rate, I think it is natural.
- From Cheviot
The Cheviot breed, native to the Cheviot Hills between Scotland and England, began as a mountain breed. These sheep are highly resistant and can survive difficult winters. They have a tiny head covered with white, fine hair that covers their legs as well. With no wool on the face or thighs, the fleece is thick and firm.
These sheep rank at the top of this list and are suitable for farming for two reasons.
The lambs are robust and have good quality meat, although they are short. Ewes have good instincts for mothering and are renowned for problem-free lambing.
Cheviots do well and may require little to no supplementation on low quality pasture.
- Charollais Charollais
One of the newly recognised domestic sheep breeds is the Charollais. It has its roots in France’s Burgundy region. These sheep are medium to large-sized, well-muscled with fine to medium wool covering the body and pink-grey faces and legs. They are usually used to improve the muscle and growth rate of lambs as a terminal sire.
They are heavily muscled and, perfect for the meat trade, yield lean carcasses. Quick production, lean meat quality, high yield, easy lambing and carcass quality make Charollais desirable among sheep farmers. These sheep are bad foragers, however. For these sheep lacking which they may need supplementation, a good pasture is important.
- Katahdin Katahdin
This breed of sheep, named after Katahdin Mountain, first appeared in Maine.
With a high fertility rate and adaptability, they are robust.
These sheep fall under the classification of some of the breeds with low maintenance. They need minimal care and can grow alone on pasture.
Every year, Katahdins shed and so do not need shearing.
It takes longer for the lambs to hit market weight, but they still yield lean, mild-tasting and meaty carcasses.
- Sheep Icelandic
More than 9000 years ago, Icelandic sheep were first brought to Iceland by Viking settlers. As it has not been crossbred with other imported sheep breeds, it is considered to be one of the purest breeds in the world today. Icelandic sheep meat is valued for its organic purity and mild flavour throughout the world.
This are another breed of sheep with low maintenance that can bring great income. The sheep do well even with little to no supplementation on bad pasture or range. Icelandic lamb meat is smooth and has a fine texture. At four to five months, lambs hit advertising weight.
- Barbari Tunis
Tunis is believed to have arisen in Tunisia nearly 3000 years ago. These are among the fat-tailed sheep that frequent lamb eaters love. Excellent foragers and grazers are Tunis. Typically, they don’t need extra supplementation and are very profitable.
While Tunis is a dual-purpose breed, they are currently being grown for the production of meat on the market. In a hot and dry climate, the sheep are very hardy and able to survive.
- Blackbelly Blackbelly (American and Barbados)
The Blackbelly Barbados is a dark-haired breed of sheep that originated in the West Indies from Barbados. By crossing the naturally polled Barbados with mouflon sheep, Dorsets and Merinos, American Blackbellly, on the other hand, was derived.
They are pretty similar to both breeds and both have small carcasses. They make up for what they lack in size in terms of meat quality and taste. Blackbelly sheep are not typically popular among farmers who market sheep meat, unlike the other sheep breeds on this list.
Blackbellies show excellent resistance to heat stress and internal parasites. These sheep are also fairly easy-going about the needs for pasture and feed. Twice a year, the ewes give birth and have about 1.5 and 2.3 lambs per lamb.
- Mountain Welsh Sheep
A small and highly hardy breed that originated in South Wales is the Welsh Mountain.
For easy lambing, high fertility, and good milk production, ewes are desirable.
The longevity of these sheep is good; they are busy and hard to hold in a fence.
The sheep produce meat and fibre of exceptional quality. Welsh meat is flavorful and has an elevated ratio of meat to bone.
- From Shropshire
The exact origins of Shropshire Down are uncertain, but are suspected to be a result of the improvement of indigenous sheep in England in the border areas of Staffordshire and Shropshire.
It is a long-lived, medium-sized sheep that is traditionally common for meat and wool. Shropshire meat is succulent, tender and full of flavour.
A common concern sheep raisers have about Shropshire is that Shropshire sheep need ample feed.
Uh. 10. Texel-Texel
Texels are a hardy breed that can adapt to many aspects of the climate.
As a foraging breed, they do well, although the percentage in farm flocks of lambing twins and triplets is higher.
Texel is medium-sized and has a high muscle-to-bone ratio.
Meat among chefs is lean, delicate, tasty and quite a hit.
A white fleece of medium wool is produced by the sheep. On the face or legs, there is no wool, and the nose is distinctively black.
- Horn of Dorset
The Dorset Horn is a British breed that in many countries is currently at risk. Although its origins are uncertain, it is thought that by crossbreeding Merinos with native, horned Welsh sheep, the Dorset Horn was produced. The rams’ spiral horns make the breed identifiable straight away.
The meat has a consistent, succulent, very tender and mild taste. It’s succulent and has a taste of sheep muttony. On good grass, the sheep do well and sometimes do not need additional supplementation.
Three lambs a year are born to the Dorset ewes, which is desirable to farmers who are interested in selling lambs for meat. They make perfect foragers and rarely need supplementation.
- Down Hampshire
The Hampshire is a true-sense heritage breed. It is the result of the amalgamation of many heritage breeds, born over several generations, of British descent. Hampshire’s got big heads.
While wool is more common, meat is another commodity they cherish. Hampshire meat is lean and tasty, fragrant and sweet tasting.
Hampshires tend to be poor foragers and will require good quality pasture to meet their feed needs or extra supplementation.
- Rambouillet Rambouillet
A French variant of the Merino breed is The Rambouillet. They are a dual-purpose breed, having good quality of carcass and development of wool.
The Rambouillet is rugged and wide with a tough frame.
Lambs in boneless, trimmed meat cuts offer remarkable meat yield.
Except with less shrinks, the fleece of the Rambouillet is equivalent to that of a Merino’s.
Rambouillets feed on fodder of all kinds and do not require supplementation.
Uh. 14. Dorper a Dorper
The Dorper was raised by crossing Blackhead Persian sheep with Dorset Horns in South Africa. They have a solid white body with a black head, but white or red-headed strains are also available. Dorper’s meat is juicy and tasty.
With excellent breeding ability, these sheep are stout and docile. With excellent milk production that helps them to raise fast-growing healthy lambs, ewes’ maternal instinct is substantial. Lambs are four to five months old before they hit market age.
In cold climates, the Dorper sheep put on wool and shed it in warm weather. For shepherds looking to prevent shearing for meat production, this skill of sheep is beneficial. Dorpers’ three major drawbacks are poor parasite resistance, high feed requirements and cold sensitivity.
A fifteen. Romney Romney
Known by the name given to the original version of Romney Marsh, Romney is an English sheep breed.
They are quiet, caring and low maintenance. These sheep live happily in big flocks.
Romneys, for their meat quality and long, lustrous fur, may be considered dual-purpose sheep.
Meat, also in older lambs, is of high quality and has a delicate taste.
For hand-spinning, the fleece is excellent.
On pasture alone, the Romney sheep do well.
They are especially suitable for the climate of New Zealand and do not do well in hot or dry climates.