Dairy sheep need a nutritious diet in order to produce milk and maintain their health and bodyweight. The majority of the ewes’ diet is alfalfa with a small amount of corn or other grains for energy. We are actively working on sourcing as much organic and non-GMO feed as is economically possible. However, currently, we cannot guarantee that our ewes feed is always GMO-free.
Typically dairy sheep are shorn twice a year – usually about a month before they lamb and then another time when it is convenient later in the year. A dairy sheep can produce over 10lb of wool each year and it is heavy, particularly if it gets wet. Due to this weight dairy sheep are never allowed to grow 12 months of wool, meaning it is not long enough for premium wool sales. Wool of this type is usually sold to cooperatives that market it for carpeting and other industrial purposes.
On average about 1/2 gallon per day (milking twice a day) from each ewe. This amount is less than a goat and much less than a cow — some breeds can average over 12 gallons a day! This is the main reason sheep milk products are among the most expensive.
In the US dairy sheep have all been brought from Europe with the most common breeds being the East Friesian (from the Netherlands), Lacaune (from France), and the Assaf (from Spain). Dairy sheep typically have twins or triplets so lambing time (typically in the Winter) can be a very busy time of year!