Icelandic Sheep

When we first looked into sheep, we wanted a breed that was tri-purpose, tough, and beautiful. The Icelandics fit that picture perfectly, and it's been awesome to see how our flock has grown from ten sheep back in 2018, to over sixty fantastic wooly friends now. They are members of the Northern European Short Tail family of breeds, which includes Finnsheep, Icelandic, Shetland, Gotland, and several other less well known breeds. As the name implies, they have a naturally short tail so don't need to be docked, yeah! Their ancient genetics make them resistant to many of the diseases that plague lots of "improved" breeds.

Icelandics have a unique two layered fleece: their Thel is a fine inner layer, often 20 microns or less, that has tight and corkscrew-like curls; and their Tog is a rough outer layer, generally in the 40 micron range, that is long with distinct curls or waves. The two layers can be separated in order to make fine garment yarns with the Thel and rough/tough yarn with the tog, or they can be spun together to make traditional Icelandic Lopi yarn. All of that lovely fleece comes in a wide variety of stunning color and pattern combinations.

Another interesting trait the Icelandics share with their other Northern Short Tail friends is the ability to shed their wool in the spring. During the late winter, their fleece breaks off at the base and a new coat begins to grow. Once the new coat has a bit of growth, the older fleece begins to shed. At that point the shepherd can "roo" them, which simply means pulling the previous season's fleece off. We find that, though it is more time consuming than shearing, rooing is very rewarding and is actually a great bonding time with the animals. We use that time to trim hooves, check conditioning and get everybody ready for heading out on pasture for the summer.

In addition to all of the great fleece, our girls produce milk that makes the most amazing ice-cream you've ever eaten! They may not produce a ton of milk, but what they lack in quantity they completely make up for in quality!!!

We are selecting for sturdy sheep who demonstrate a good balance between fleece, milkiness, and meat that thrive on native pasture, can the cold winters and hot summers of the inner mountain west and roo well. We're maintaining both horned and polled lines.

If you are interested in purchasing any of our sheep, pay attention to the label on the individual sheep's profile. If they're listed as "retained," please do not inquire about them. If they are listed as "for sale," feel free to contact us for more info and you can also see their listing in the Sale Barn. If an animal catches your eye who isn't labeled either way, reach out and we may be open to selling them to the right home. 

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Breeding time is always an exciting and busy time of year, and it's full of planning.

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The rams obviously have a huge impact on the flock, but that doesn't mean you can be caviler about your ewes. Ewes who throw good lambs and, maybe even more importantly, are excellent mothers are the backbone of the fold. They are the nurturers, the growers, the builders... they teach the lambs how to behave towards you and towards everything else around them. We take a lot of time to make sure we are close to our ewes so that they trust us and are happy for us to interact with their babies and share their tasty milk.

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Our rams are a huge part of our flock's success, and it's imperative that your rams are the best you can get. While a ewe generally has around twenty lambs in her lifetime, rams can have thousands. For that reason, we're really careful about which rams we use for breeding, and are very intentional about which rams we sell as breeder prospects.

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The yearlings are the previous years lambs that are being evaluated for either sale, butcher, or to retain. We don't put anyone on our active flock pages (ewes and rams) until we know if we're retaining them to breed.

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Lambs are by far the most delightful part of being a shepherd! Seeing all of the lambs running around the paddock like little jumping beans and snuggling them close makes all the hard work, ups, and downs worth it! When we put breeding pens together in the fall, we put a lot of effort into picking pairings that maximize the good traits in our ewes and rams, and minimize the faults. Come spring, it's exiting to see how well the pairings did and to see what nifty color patterns pop out.

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Taking care of animals is a richly rewarding experience, but it comes with it's share of heartache. Looking back at the animals that have had an impact on where our fold is today, even though they aren't with us anymore, helps us see and appreciate our present fold more clearly and influences the decisions we make for the future.

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Sale Barn

We are in the process of deciding who to keep and who to sell from this years lamb crop. If you are looking for something specific, please reach out!

  • Frame: We've been selecting for strong, well balanced frames with good muscling and straight legs.
  • Fleece: We select for fleece that has a balanced ratio of thel and tog (much of the balance has been lost in today's Icelandics, so the process is taking a while and not everyone is good yet), has micron tested fine thel, long and lustrous tog, and overall density, luster, and curl. We also select for roing ability, which is becoming quite a strong trait in our younger generations.
  • Dairy Genetics: Popular opinion is that dairy udders should be loose, low, and large, which isn't accurate. That leads to udder longevity issues and can affect the health of the ewe. We have been selecting for high and tight udders with nice hand-milking teats and rounded shape.
  • ​Temperament: We try to humanize our lambs as much as possible, so that none of our sheep bolt away whenever you come near. Not all jump over themselves for attention, but no one if wild.

Sale Barn

We are in the process of deciding who to keep and who to sell from this years lamb crop. If you are looking for something specific, please reach out!

  • Frame: We've been selecting for strong, well balanced frames with good muscling and straight legs.
  • Fleece: We select for fleece that has a balanced ratio of thel and tog (much of the balance has been lost in today's Icelandics, so the process is taking a while and not everyone is good yet), has micron tested fine thel, long and lustrous tog, and overall density, luster, and curl. We also select for roing ability, which is becoming quite a strong trait in our younger generations.
  • Dairy Genetics: Popular opinion is that dairy udders should be loose, low, and large, which isn't accurate. That leads to udder longevity issues and can affect the health of the ewe. We have been selecting for high and tight udders with nice hand-milking teats and rounded shape.
  • ​Temperament: We try to humanize our lambs as much as possible, so that none of our sheep bolt away whenever you come near. Not all jump over themselves for attention, but no one if wild.

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