Gulf Coast Sheep

What is the history of Gulf Coast Sheep?

The Gulf Coast Native is a breed of sheep native to the U.S. states bordering the Gulf Coast. Also occasionally known as the Louisiana Scrub, Pineywoods Native or simply Gulf Coast sheep, the breed is a mix of many of the sheep varieties which populated the Southern United States during the European colonization of the region.

It is now an exceedingly rare breed, but one valuable for its ability to adapt to the hot humid climate of the Gulf Coast. Gulf Coast Native sheep are listed "critical" on the conservation priority list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

The bloodlines of Gulf Coast Native sheep can be traced back to the original proliferation of Churra sheep in the 15th century by the Spanish.

Later, these Criollo-type sheep mixed intermittently with British and French breeds. Some strains may also show Tunis influence.

What are the characteristics of Gulf Coast Sheep?

  • The Gulf Coast sheep is a domesticated breed that is kept for wool and meat.
  • They can be kept on farms or free-ranging on large pasture lands.
  • Sheep prefer to eat plants at ground level as opposed to goats, which are browsers and prefer trees and shrubs.
  • Gulf Coast sheep are active breeders year-round and tend to give birth to twins.
  • Rams can breed as early as 4 months old.
  • They may be polled or horned in both sexes.
  • Gulf Coast Sheep has developed a natural resistance to internal parasites, and natural resistance to hoof rot.
  • Their low-density wool allows them to tolerate the hot, humid climate of the South, It is usually white, but may be brown, black, or spotted occasionally.
  • Gulf Coast sheep produce wool at almost half the rate of other merinos and therefore need to be sheared only once a year.

What is the weight of mature Gulf Coast Sheep?

Gulf Coast ram is in the range of 70–85 kg and a mature ewe 50–60 kg.

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