Icelandic Sheep Breed Description
Our goal in producing Icelandic Sheep is to produce an excellent, all around, triple purpose sheep for the homestead. We want it to be a useful animal that can provide gourmet level meat, wool and dairy products efficiently on grass. We want our sheep to have natural parasite resistance, and the ability to pass this trait on. We strive for twins, coming from easy births, with the ewe having plenty of milk. We want the sheep to be an economical way to provide a homestead with meat, wool and milk.
Icelandic sheep are one of the oldest and purest breeds of sheep. They are a triple purpose sheep, being used for meat, wool and dairy.
They are hardy and healthy, and are very feed efficient. US flocks are OPP and foot rot free. Many Icelandic sheep have excellent parasite resistance. When we utilize rotational grazing we are deworming very little (2x a year on most animals).
Icelandics are very prolific, twins are normal, triplets are not uncommon. The lambs are raised on pasture alone and are slaughtered around 6 months old. They finish out at 75-80lbs – on just grass! The hanging weights of our lambs are in the 30-40lb range. The meat is gourmet quality, it is not strong tasting and fatty like other types of lamb. The meat is delicate flavored on a lean carcass. Many people that think they don’t like lamb change their minds after trying Icelandic lamb!
Icelandic sheep have a premium fleece. Shearing happens twice a year, the Spring fleece being best suited for felting and the Fall fleece being suitable for spinning. They are dual coated, the soft, insulating undercoat being called the þel (thel over in these parts!) and the strong, waterproofing outer coat being called the tog. Both thel and tog are spun together to create the popular Icelandic Lopi yarn. The thel is easily separated to create soft yarns suitable for next to skin wear.
These hardy sheep thrive in our cool Northern climate, and give many products to market. You can sell breeding stock, lamb meat, wool and wool products, pelts, horns and soaps made from sheep’s milk. Our sheep live outdoors, on pasture and eat grass throughout the entire grazing season. They eat local hay in the winter with the option to stay in or go out as they please. We utilize rotational grazing to keep deworming to a minimum, and only deworm those individual animals that need it. We rely on good nutrition and clean pastures to keep the sheep healthy. All of this combined creates a better life for the animal, a healthier food source for the human and a better environment for us all. Icelandic sheep are a great asset to a small farm. They give so much for so little!