We own a flock of 25-30 registered St. Croix Hair Sheep ewes and have three unrelated rams. We also sell young, registered stock to individuals who want to start their own flocks. Crystal is an elected Director of the Board of St. Croix Hair Sheep Breeders, Inc. and practices good stewardship of the breed by registering only stock worthy of breeding. We are members of the Livestock Conservancy and they awarded us a microgrant for 2021 so that we can continue to improve the quality of our flock. Recently, we joined the National Sheep Improvement Program so we can use data analysis to rank our sheep.
Why St. Croix Hair Sheep?
We chose St. Croix Hair Sheep over larger breeds for several reasons. First, and most importantly, they have the highest resistance to parasites of all the sheep studied by several university and agricultural researchers. In fact, Dr. Scott Bowdridge of West Virginia University calls them “the model” of parasite resistance. As a result, we rarely (if ever) use deworming agents.
Second, they caring for them is easier than many other breeds. They resist hoof rot, so foot care is as simple as periodic trimming. Because St. Croix sheep do not grow wool, shearing them is unnecessary. Instead, they grow thick undercoats during the winter and shed them in the summer. This means less work for us! These sheep have no horns, are quite docile, and are smaller than other meat breeds. Because of this, they are easy to handle; especially for a woman shepherd.
Third, the ewes are excellent mothers! They almost always have twins, which means we get more lambs faster. They produce lots of milk for their lambs, and if we wanted, we could try cheese production.
Finally, they are delicious! A taste test study conducted in 2004 at Utah State University ranked purebred St. Croix in first place over several crosses. We have to agree. We have had the pleasure of introducing many friends and family to lamb and all have loved every bite.