For those interested in breed conservation, Barbados Blackbelly are easy-care sheep, suitable for people with a busy lifestyle, or those who are living “off-grid” and self-sufficiently. You will have more time for other activities while your labor inputs are reduced with Barbados Blackbelly – these sheep almost take care of themselves! They’re self-shearing (shed in spring), self-medicating (high tolerance to internal parasites), they require no disbudding (naturally polled) or tail docking. Ewes are known for lambing unassisted, and caring for triplets or even quad lambs, with little or no help at all.
Barbados Blackbelly enjoy a wide variety of forages, often choosing to browse on bushes and shrubs, rather than eating grasses and forbes. They readily eat scotch broom, thistle, blackberry and even bull nettle – It’s a lot like watching somebody eat hot peppers!
We strive to maintain the genetic integrity of the Barbados Blackbelly. They have a reputation for being easy maintenance and “tough as boot leather.” We want to keep them that way! All of our lambs are born and raised without chemicals of any kind – that means no prophylactic vaccinations or drugs for internal parasite control. We hope this will help to preserve the Barbados Blackbellys’ self-sufficient nature.
However, our purpose is breed conservation. If a member of the breeding flock is genetically important, there may be a time when we give them a life-saving antibiotic.
We maintain 4 distinct bloodlines: a group of Critterhaven sheep, out of Pueblo Colorado, a group of Summer Hill Farm sheep out of Thorndike MA, some from Virginia State University, and a remnant of a line from Bull’s Gap Tennessee.
All of our breeding stock are tagged and registered. Strict records are kept, both manually (each sheep has a folder) and electronically. The method of husbandry we utilize is a conservation breeding plan laid out by Dr. Phillip Sponenberg, in his books, A Conservation Breeding Handbook and Managing Breeds for A Secure Future. I recommend these books for any stockman considering a livestock conservation effort of any species.