St Croix Hair Sheep

ST CROIX

Michael Piel of Maine first brought one ram and two ewe “Virgin Island White” sheep into the U.S. in the 1960s, for use in the formation of the Katahdin breed. A second importation from the Island of St. Croix (US Virgin Islands) of 22 bred ewes and 3 rams was initiated by Dr. Warren Foote of Utah State University (USU), Logan UT in 1975. This second group of sheep provided the foundation animals for the modern St Croix breed. Selection criteria for these foundation animals included: white coats, average to above-average conformation, average to above-average body size, and lack of horns in both sexes. Small experimental flocks derived from the USU population were established at Florida State University, Clemson University in South Carolina, Cal Poly in Pomona, CA, and several USDA field stations. USU personnel realized the sheep had useful characteristics, and Dr. Foote founded a breed registry in the 1980s.

The St Croix Sheep is classified as THREATENED by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (categories include: Critical / Threatened / Watch / Recovering).

(Info taken from the St Croix Hair Sheep International website www.stcroixsheep.org)

ADVANTAGES OF ST CROIX/ST THOMAS HAIR SHEEP

  • No Shearing
  • Both Sexes Polled
  • Parasite Resistant
  • Reduced Foot-rot
  • Fine-grained, low-fat meat
  • Non-selective grazers
  • Heat and Cold Tolerant
  • Good Flocking Instinct
  • Good Temperament
  • Excellent Lamb Production
  • Early Puberty
  • High Lambing Percentage
  • Year-round Breeding
  • Lamb at 12 months
  • Good mothers
  • Good milk production
  • High survivability
  • Cross-breds produce more pounds of lamb

(List courtesy of the St Croix Hair Sheep International website.)