Raising Exotic Sheep


Life and Adventures at Diamond W RanchThis story starts off with our realization that Silas, our Anatolian Shepherd (a.k.a. super-hero livestock guardian dog), is getting old. Granted, eight years doesn’t sound old, but in dog years, he’s getting pretty close to over-the-hill. So we decided it was time to get another LGD (livestock guardian dog) puppy that Silas could help us raise and train.

Brina cuddles with Doug during a truck ride. 

Meet Brina (her name means “Guardian" or "Defender” in the Celtic language), the newest member of our farm! She is full-blood Anatolian Shepherd and a sweetheart to boot! Her frame is large, so we expect her to be a big dog. She is doing well with the poultry and Silas will help teach her the ropes.

Well, OK, Brina isn’t actually the newest member of our farm. Since Silas has been guarding just ducks and chickens, we thought it would be a good idea to get something larger for Brina to learn and grow up with. I ended up stumbling across an ad for a pair of bottle baby lambs. I grew up raising and showing sheep in 4-H, so I pounced on the chance to have sheep again!

Stella relaxes in the background while Star inquires about more milk. 

So, meet Stella and Star! Stella (white with red patches) is a red Painted Desert sheep, and Star (chocolate brown with a white star) is a European Mouflon. I had never heard of European Mouflon sheep, so I did some research. Turns out this breed is an “exotic” breed, and is thought to be the breed most of our domestic sheep breeds descended from. She looks and acts more like a deer, with her big, dark eyes and gazelle-like movements. Both breeds are hair sheep, so they will not grow fleece that needs to be shorn.

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