Here at Hope Springs Farm we raise mostly Gulf Coast Native sheep. They
are the oldest sheep breed in America, having descended from the sheep that
came with the first Spanish settlers to the New World. Those that survived
the very inhospitable climate of the southeast for four hundred years have
become the most parasite resistant breed in the world. This fact allows us to
not use any wormers in our GC sheep. Most sheep breeders in the South
must use chemical wormers frequently to prevent the death of their animals.
We are experimenting with some crossbred animals in hopes of producing
larger market lambs. These lambs will need some de-worming treatments
after they are weaned. We hope that the ewes will not need continued
treatment after they reach maturity. The lambs that are sold for meat at
weaning would not need treatment either. We will report our results as we
follow this experiment.
We strive to produce only the finest lamb in the European tradition. If you
have experienced European lamb you will recognize the difference. Our lambs
are never old or grain fed as is typical of American lambs generally. The
combination of older, larger animals (up to 120 lbs.) is what causes the
objectionable greasy after taste that turns many Americans off to lamb. We
harvest our lambs at 12 to 16 weeks of age at weights of 60-70 lbs. They are
raised exclusively on mother’s milk and grass. This produces in an absolutely
superb eating experience.
Our sheep are shorn annually and produce nice fleeces that can be purchased
for hand spinning or other crafts. Since the GCN are a heritage breed some
spinners are attracted by the fact that they can use wool with characteristics
like that they find in southern woolen products from the Revolutionary and
Civil war periods. This year we sent 80 pounds of wool to a woolen mill in
Prince Edwards Island. They make blankets from wool sent by small
producers. Our wool was mixed with other wool and made into beautiful all
wool blankets. We have 5 of these blankets for sale. They are all queen size
and we have 5 different colors. We will get a picture on the web site soon.
In addition to their parasite resistance our GCN sheep have greater foot rot
resistance and heat adaptation than other breeds. This is the breed for
South! Breeding stock, both rams and ewes are available. We have sold one
of our mature rams and the other two are spoken for. We will have a few
mature ewes for sale this spring as well as ram lambs and ewe lambs.
For photos of our new blankets, please scroll to the bottom. More info with
For more info on GCN sheep, please visit www.gulfcoastsheepbreeders.org
A view of the flock.
This photo shows some of our many fine GCN sheep and lambs.
A nice, plump, grass-finished lamb.
The boys: Eros, Doran, and Sam.
Wool blankets made with our own sheep wool.
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