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 About the Lambs 

Our sheep breeds are Suffolk, Rambouillet and Columbia/Rambouillet cross. We run about 1200 head of ewes and yearlings, producing lambs each spring for the dinner table. Our ewes and bucks are also shorn for wool sales each Spring, they also appreciate the haircut & a break from the heat! Our Suffolk ewes are used to raise replacement bucks and fair lambs for our kids. Our bucks are either "purebred" suffolk bucks or a Columbia/Rambouillet cross white face buck. The rest of the herd is a Columbia/Rambouillet/Suffolk cross sheep. The Suffolk breeding makes for a good meat lamb while the Columbia/Rambouillet breeding adds to the quality of the wool.

Here's a tidbit of info on the breeds just for fun taken from www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep!

Columbia sheep were developed by the United States Department of Agriculture as a true breeding type to replace cross breeding on the range. In 1912, rams of the long wool breeds were crossed with high quality Rambouillet ewes to produce large ewes yielding more pounds of wool and more pounds of lamb.

The history of the Rambouillet sheep is a fascinating one that began more than two centuries ago. The Rambouillet breed originated with Spain's famed Merino flocks, which were known from the earliest times as producers of the world's finest wool. The Spanish government was so protective of their Merino flocks that any exportation was forbidden. This policy changed in 1786, however, when the King of Spain granted a request from the government of France and sent 359 carefully selected rams and ewes to help improve the native French stock. The sheep were sent to the Rambouillet farm near Paris where, according to government records, they have been bred since 1801. Other Merino sheep were introduced into Germany during the last quarter of the 18th century, and German breeders made extensive use of Rambouillet sires as the sheep's fame spread throughout Europe. That is why many present day American Rambouillets can trace their ancestry back to either German von Homeyer flocks or the flocks of Rambouillet, France.

The original Suffolks were the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. Apparently the product of this cross was a great improvement over either one of the parents. Although the Suffolk was a recognized breed as early as 1810, the flock book was not closed until much later. In 1930, Southdowns were described as large sheep without horns, dark faces and legs, fine bones and long small necks. They were low set in front with high shoulders and light forequarters; however, their sides were good, rather broad in the loin, and were full in the thigh and twist. Today's Suffolk derives its meatiness and quality of wool from the old original British Southdown.
The Norfolk Horned sheep, now rare, were a wild and hardy breed. They were blackfaced, light, fleeced sheep. Both sexes were horned. The upland regions of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridge on the southeastern coast of England are very rugged and forage is sparse. It was this dry, cold and windy area in which the Norfolk breed adapted itself to traveling great distances for food, thereby developing a superbly muscular body.
It was said at that time of the Norfolk Horned, "their limbs are long and muscular, their bodies are long and their general form betokens activity and strength." This breed and its crosses were valued highly both by farmers and butchers. However, sheepmen of that day did not like the long legs, flat sides, nor wild nature of the Norfolk Horned. They noted that Southdowns crossed with Norfolk produced a progeny that reduced most of the criticisms of both breeds.
In 1886, the English Suffolk Society was organized to provide registry service and to further develop the use of the breed. Through selection and careful breeding by many great English sheepmen, the Suffolks brought to this country retained the qualities for which they were originally mated.

The first Suffolks were brought into this country in 1888 by Mr. G. B. Streeter of Chazy, New York. During a visit to England the previous year, Mr. Streeter had been greatly impressed by Suffolk sheep. These prize breeding animals had belonged to Joseph Smith of Hasketon, and one 21 month old ewe weighed exactly 200 pounds when she came off the ship. A 9 month old ram weighed 195 pounds and in the spring of 1890, a 7 week old twin weighed 85 pounds. That spring Streeter had a 200% lamb crop.
The Suffolk did not make its appearance in the western states until 1919. Three ewes end two rams had been donated by the English Suffolk Sheep Society to the University of Idaho. One of the rams was to be sold at auction at the National Ram Sale in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Several leading sheepmen saw these sheep at the sale and they liked what they saw. After several rounds of bidding, the ram was finally sold to Laidlaw and Brockie (developers of the Panama breed) of Muldoon, Idaho, for $500. These men were so impressed with the offspring from their Suffolk ram that they made several importations and were consistent buyers at the National Ram Sales.

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Keeping Western traditions and an American way of life alive, one family at a time.
Villard Ranch
in Beautiful Northwest Colorado

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