Megaluno Ranch – Saint Croix Hair Sheep

St Croix flock of Megaluno Ranch in spring of 2016

Here at Megaluno Ranch we pride ourselves in producing top quality St. Croix sheep. We were blessed in finding stud rams that not only meet strict conformation guidelines, but also have superior size and muscling as well as great temperaments. The majority of our foundation ewes have come from Grace and Joy Farms in Northern Kentucky. They are well known for their exceptional flock and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to start with such good quality stock.

Read below to find out more about the breed and why we raise St. Croix Hair Sheep at Megaluno Ranch.

History

“The St Croix (Saint ‘Croy’) is a breed of domestic sheep native to the U.S. Virgin Islands and named for the island of Saint Croix. They are often also called Virgin Island White because those that were imported into North America were selected for white coloration. On the Island of St. Croix, they come in shades of brown, white and black.

The breed is believed to be descended from African sheep that were brought to the Caribbean on slave ships, and is a breed of hair sheep which does not grow wool. The St Croix is a hardy tropical breed known for its parasite resistance, and is raised primarily for meat production. Breeders have crossbred the St Croix with other breeds to impart these important traits into their bloodlines. The St Croix breed is the foundation breed for Katahdin and Royal White breeds.”*

St Croix pregnant ewe at Megaluno Ranch
St Croix Billy Bucks Balloo of Megaluno Ranch

Appearance

“Most St. Croix are completely white with others being solid tan, brown, black or white with brown or black spots. Ewes and rams are polled (no horns), and rams have a large throat ruff. Mature ewes weigh 68 kg (150 lbs) and rams weigh 90 kg (200 lbs). Birth weights average 2.7 kg (6 lbs) to 3.1 kg (7 lbs). Tail should not need docking.”*

Why Choose St. Croix?

WHY CHOOSE ST. CROIX? St. Croix are an easy to care for meat producing sheep that does not require sheering and like most heritage breeds will thrive with little maintenance and care. They are as we call it “easy keepers” and the perfect addition to any family homestead.

High Parasite Resistance

Haired sheep were brought over from West Africa to the West Indies by slave traders as a source of food. These haired sheep had a great capacity to withstand heavy parasite loads common in warm wet climates. These sheep were the foundation of the St. Croix Hair Sheep of today. This heritage makes them genetically predisposed to be more parasite resistant than sheep originating from more arid climates. Several recent university studies have confirmed this to be true and placed the St. Croix at the top of the list of breeds in the USA for natural parasite resistance.

Prolific Reproduction

St. Croix are known for their prolificness. Being able to lamb three times in 24 months is not uncommon. They generally give birth to twins with triplets being more common than single births. Ewes are well able to raise their lambs, producing enough milk for all.

Easy Lambing

St. Croix ewes, almost without exception, lamb with ease and without any assistance.

Good Mothering Ability

St. Croix ewes bond easily to their lambs and are well able to produce enough milk for all of their lambs.

Easy Keepers

St. Croix Sheep are able to thrive in almost any conditions and climate.  They do well from Canada to Mexico and from the hot, humid south east USA to the frigid, arid north.  They are browsers much like goats and eat almost anything and can thrive on less than ideal pasture. They have a higher than normal feed conversion rate, requiring less food to reach their potential than most other breeds which makes them easy keepers.

Exceptionally Flavored Meat

The meat of St. Croix Sheep has a mild flavor. This is due to lower levels of lanolin in their system. The meat is tender and aromatic and in our opinion you will be hard pressed to find a better tasting sheep.

No Shearing or Docking Required

St. Croix Hair Sheep are, as their name states, hair sheep. They grow a thick fibrous coat for the winter and shed it naturally in the spring, hence they require no shearing.  Unlike wool breeds they have no problem keeping their tales clean and disease free and have no need of tail docking.

* Content by Wikipedia, sited on the 15th of March, 2017.