Yesterday a group of our homeschoolers went on a field trip. We went to Bloomin"Acres Farm, they have Icelandic sheep. Zoe has been doing her research on sheep that she wants to raise. She decided on the Icelandic breed and we found a local farm that raises them so of course we had to go visit. We met Marilyn Miles who showed us around her beautiful farm. The kids(and moms) had a good time learning about this breed of sheep, meeting the guard donkey and Blossom the guard dog, watching the ducks run around and finding eggs in the hen house.
Icelandic sheep are one of the oldest breeds on record, dating back over 1,100 years, and they still account for more than 25% of Iceland’s agricultural output. This makes them one of the oldest and purest breeds in the world today. They are a mid-sized breed and an excellent choice for small or large farm operations. Ewes typically average between 130 and 150 pounds, with rams weighing in between 175 and 200 pounds. They have wonderful conformation and their stocky build makes them a great selection for meat, milk and wool production.
The ewes come into heat in late October and cycle through May, if they are not bred. Rams can begin breeding at 5-6 months of age. Ewes begin breeding at 6-7 months and can lamb before they are a year old! This is a very rapid return on investment.
Gestation ranges from 142-144 days.
Rams are mature by 6 months and can service 20 ewes.
The Icelandic are excellent mothers with lots of milk and will nurse triplets without assistance.
Icelandic have been known to be productive until 12-13 years of age.
They have a good prolifically rate, averaging 175-225%.
Lambs reach market size in 4-5 months on good pasture.
I think this will be a wonderful breed for us to raise along with the other fiber animals we find.
The trip was a great success and I hope to visit again soon(maybe to pick out our own!)