Bird Creek Ranch
 
 
                                  
In the 1920's and 30's, Suffolk sheep grazed on Bird Creek Ranch. However, when we began looking at sheep or goats to help us with weed control, we discovered Icelandic sheep which are a triple-purpose breed that can be used for meat, fiber, as well as milk.
Producers of Gourmet Lamb
Because of the grazing opportunities on the ranch and our interest in the health benefits of grass-fed meats, we found Icelandic sheep ideal in the production of gourmet meat.  Centuries of surviving and thriving on grass along has resulted in the breed’s “grass-based” genetics.  At Bird Creek Ranch, lambs are not creep fed, resulting in a meat with an excellent, mild flavor, and less fat than the lamb of other breeds.  Check out The Store for information and prices for our lamb sold by the piece or by the whole carcass.
A Bit of Breed History
Icelandic Sheep may be the oldest and purest domesticated sheep breed still alive today.  Descendents of sheep that dominated the British Isles in the 8th century, they were brought to Iceland between 874-1100 a.d. by early Viking settlers. These sheep came to the U.S. in the 1980s and to Bird Creek Ranch in 1999.
Fine Wool Producers
Icelandic sheep produce soft, dual-coated, ungreasy fleeces. The fine inner coat (called Thel) provides loft
and warmth and is downy and lustrously soft.  The long, coarser outercoat (called Tog) can be as long as
12-16 inches and sheds rain and dirt.  Handspinners seek out the wool which is also one of the best wools
for felting.  The wool varies in color from white through shades of gray, beige, and brown to black.
 
Other Breed Characteristics
    •    Do not flock, instead trailing one behind the other. 
    •    Tend to spread out when grazing, making them good users of  pasture.
    •    Are good browsers and enjoy eating weeds and native grasses.
    •    Are alert and fast, but respond to their owner’s voice.
    •    Are excellent mothers, lambing in the pastures and producing active lambs. 
    •    Are medium-sized, with adults weighing from 120-200 pounds.  
    •    Have open faces, legs, and udders, and can be either polled or horned.
    •    Have naturally short tails, eliminating the need for docking. 
    •    Have a high lambing rate, being reliable twinners and sometimes having triplets.
    •    Are born small, making lambing easy.
    •    Have long life expectancy, up to 12 years old.
 
© 2010 E.L. Kittredge