WHY ST. CROIX?


Value of St. Croix Hair Sheep

Caribbean hair sheep, such as the St. Croix, are prolific and breed throughout the year and thus are of value to the U.S. sheep industry. With no shearing costs, strong parasite resistance, no fly strike, high lamb survivability, good mothering instincts and good flocking, the St. Croix Sheep has a lot to offer shepherds in the US .

St. Croix Characteristics:

Mild, fine-grained and low-fat meat
Rated first in internal parasite resistance
Crossbreeding with St. Croix increases parasite tolerance in other breeds
Hoof rot tolerant
No shearing
Adaptable in variety of climates: tolerate heat and humidity as well as cold weather
No tail docking necessary
Mild dispositions
Naturally polled (no horns)
Valued for crossbreeding for commercial butcher lamb production
Good flocking tendencies make them valuable for training herding dogs
Grazing habits make St. Croix good for weed control

St. Croix Hair Sheep Reproductive Benefits:

Early puberty and long reproductive life
Ewes can breed at any time during year
Few birthing problems
Ewes can have 3 lamb crops in two years
50-75% multiple birth rate
Lambing rate of 195-200%
Ewes are outstanding mothers

St. Croix Hair Sheep Description

St. Croix hair sheep have a unique appearance that attracts the eye. Medium in size, their white coat is smooth and thin in summer, becoming thick in winter. This combination of coats allows St. Croix sheep to thrive in most climates in the United States, from the warm and humid parts of the south to more northern areas. Rams grow a distinctive, lion-like mane that often reaches below their knees. Adult St. Croix ewes weigh an average of 150 pounds, with ram weights averaging 200 pounds. The mature size of St. Croix hair sheep is somewhat dependent upon the amount and quality of feed they receive.

Quality Sheep Meat

St. Croix hair sheep offer a variety of desirable characteristics that make them attractive to breeders with widely different goals. Because they do not produce wool, they are characterized as a hair sheep and are kept primarily as a meat breed. Although their carcass composition is similar to the Rambouillet, St. Croix sheep produce a 23% higher carcass yield due to smaller bones and less fat accumulation. Their meat is characterized as mild, tender and naturally lean. Their carcass size, meat qualities and year-round availability make them highly desired by many ethnic markets.
St. Croix sheep have been described as "sexually precocious" with year-round breeding capability and the ability to produce three sets of lambs in two years. Multiple births are the norm, with twins being most common but triplets and even quads happening frequently. Lambs are early breeders and can produce the first lamb crop by one year.
All of the above translates to this: St. Croix sheep provide excellent quality meat without many of the physical and financial expenditures attached to other breeds. Additionally, St. Croix hair sheep are a pleasure to live and work with. Enthusiastic breeders across the nation would echo this sentiment.

More Info:

St. Croix Hair Sheep Breeders, Inc.