Gulf Coast Sheep are mostly parasite and hoof rot resistant. We do not vaccinate and we worm only if a lamb does not pass the Famacha test. No ewe lambs that have to be wormed twice will be in the breeding program. Ewes that produce multiple lambs that have to be wormed twice will be culled. No ram lamb that ever has to be wormed will be sold or used as breeding stock.
We had 60 inches of rain in two months in the spring of 2015 and 2016 and 50 inches in two days during hurricane Harvey and had no cases of hoof rot and one hoof abscess case even though they were grazing in puddles of water as much as two inches deep at times.
The wet, warm weather is breeding ground for barber pole worm. Out of 29 lambs, we had to deworm 2 lambs in 2019.
We only had one ewe not get pregnant in 2018 and she is old had the foot abscess for a few months. All lambs are born on pasture. We do not have a barn or indoor livestock area. We average 1.25 lambs per birth. Gulf Coast Sheep tend to be smaller, reaching processing weight at about 10 to 12 months and yielding about 25 to 30 pounds of meat. The meat is exceptional and is listed on the Slow Food Arc of Taste. They are fed grass, hay and alfalfa. The wool is fairly course with stable lengths varying from two to five inches.
Ours are raised on pasture with a variety of grasses, clovers, forbs, trees and brush. We supplement with hay in the winter. They are tolerant of our heat and humidity, but need access to shade when it is hot and sunny.
As parasites become resistant to dewormers, and warming temperatures move those parasites further north, parasite resistant sheep are becoming more popular.
These sheep are registered with the Gulf Coast Sheep Breeders Association. This breed is listed as “critical” by the Livestock Conservancy. Preserving this breed with its’ ability to adapt to the humid southern climate without chemical/medical inputs is important.
If you are spending lots of your time taking care of sheep and are loosing sheep to illness or at birth you might consider the Gulf Coast Native Sheep.
Sheep going out of state might require a healthy certificate and an additional fee of $100 per flock would be added for this.