Our flock consists primarily of purebred and cross-bred Corriedale sheep. Corriedales are best known for the high quality wool (fleece) they produce. The fleece is highly prized by handspinners and fiber artists. The Corriedale breed was developed over 100 years ago in an effort to establish a true dual purpose breed, combining the best traits of the wool breeds and the meat breeds. The result is a sheep that excels in total commercial returns, yielding a heavy valuable fleece and a high quality carcass. Additionally, Corriedales are known for their mothering ability and their ability to forage under a variety of climatic conditions. You can learn more about the breed by visiting the American Corriedale Association website.
As shepherds’ our goal is produce a beautiful array of quality white, silver, grey, black and other naturally colored raw fleeces for artists and handspinners. We cross-breed our flock with Romney, Lincoln, CVM and Border Leicester sheep. Cross-breeding allows us to produce amazingly beautiful ranges of color, luster and staple length. Another reason for crossbreeding is that sometimes, heterosis results from breed crossing. Heterosis is also known as hybrid vigor. As an example of this, crossbred baby lambs on the average are more vigorous and have a higher livability than purebred lambs. They also have a higher early growth rate.
The quality and cleanliness of our fleeces are enhanced by rotational grazing to keep the flock on the best pasture and by the wearing of canvass coats for up to nine months of the year. These practices assure not only a clean and burr-free wool and to help keep sun bleaching to a minimum but also a happy and healthy flock.
We shear our flock late winter/early spring just before lambing season begins. Each fleece is carefully wrapped until we can skirt it prior to sale. Skirting is a process of cleaning the fleece of any debris and undesireable parts of the fleece. Our fleeces are heavily skirted so that our customers get only the finest quality raw fleece. The finished fleece can weigh between 5- pounds for lambs up to 9-12 pounds for ewes and rams.
In recent years our annual stock fleeces have been completely sold out the first day of the Shepherd’s Harvest Festival held in Lake Elmo, Minnesota over Mother’s Day weekend. We do enter a few our fleeces in the Festival’s annual competition and have received multiple awards for their high quality.
Check here for a list of our fleeces available. We will update the pdf as the fleeces get cleaned, weighed and packaged for sale. We do take reservations for fleece. We highly recommend resevations to past customers who seek more fleece from a particular ewe that they have purchased from us in the past.