Raising New Mexico Dahl Sheep

We recently shared about raising Dall Sheep in the Llano Estacado region. Following that email, we were fortunate to receive a response from Justin Trammell, who has been raising the New Mexico variety of Dahl sheep on his homestead. Read Justin’s response below:
New Mexico Dahl Sheep
“I decided to raise the New Mexico Dahl sheep because of its hardiness and its ability to thrive in a poor environment. This breed of sheep has been on its own in the plains of eastern New Mexico for about 500 years. Given this, these animals are pre-adapted to our environment in the Panhandle of Texas as our climate differs very little from eastern New Mexico. This breed has no trouble with the temperature fluctuations in our area nor the wind that often blows.


They also have an extremely low water input and periods without water do not negatively impact them like it would with cattle or horses. The sheep can also not only consume many common agricultural weeds such as pig weed and khocia weed, they thrive on them and will even choose the dried up dead weeds leftover in winter.


New Mexico Dahls are also a large sheep breed with rams averaging 250 lbs and ewes averaging at 160 lbs. Lambs also finish out at between 100-120 lbs making for more meat per head. While sheep are not a super commonly consumed meat in America, it does have a special place in many cultures. In the future, when we are striving to feed the ever growing population, sheep have a very high potential to become a commonly consumed animal.


Sheep also finish out at 65-70% of the weight they are butchered at which is much higher than cattle (which usually finish at around 40%). These sheep are really a hidden gem that this area has to offer. In order for them to thrive you simply have to let them do what they do best: be sheep!


For anyone who wants to raise these amazing animals I would tell them to just be patient and be open minded. The sheep I bought took about a month and a half to tame down, but now that they have it is wonderful to see them on my farm. I also think that given their affinity for some of the most common and troubling agricultural weeds, these sheep could easily be used as a biological control or to restore degraded pastureland and farmland.”


Do you have an experience with Dahl sheep? We would love to hear about it! For even more information about Dahl sheep, be sure to visit Terra Patre Farms of New Mexico. They offer a wealth of information on the history of Dahl sheep, as well as other important facts about this breed.

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