Smallest Breed of Dairy Sheep

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by protodon, May 24, 2010.

  1. protodon

    protodon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    I swear I asked a similar question on here before but can't find it. Does anyone know what the smallest breed of dairy sheep is and I mean one that is actually worth milking. I've researched all I can about dairy sheep, what little there is. East friesians, awassi or assaf, and lacaunes seem to be best but are also big and hard to find. I think someone posted that shetlands are good for this and also Finnsheep. Anyone know or have any experience with milking sheep for cheese?
  2. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    I think milk sheep are going the way of the DoDo bird. You will be more likely to find some milk goats. Many breeds of goats are bred in miniature. Good luck with your search! Be sure to check out for help.
  3. Sallyschickens

    Sallyschickens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    Puget Sound Baby!
    Hello there!

    Not sure if there are any mini dairy sheep out there, but there are mini sheep..and technically they all can be milked. The milk will taste the same, you just wont get as much if it isn't a "dairy breed". Look up "keyrrey-shee" mini sheep.

    I have dairy sheep! (E. Friesian x Icelandic cross) I understand how hard they are to find! I looked and looked until I stumbled across a "dairy milk yahoo group" in my area. You might want to google one.

    Pros about owning sheep:

    They are dual purpose, you can use their wool, use them for meat and use their milk...unless you get a hair sheep (you can milk those too, look up katahdins, I also have one of those) then you can milk them and/or butcher them for meat.

    Their milk has more total solids, fat and protein than the milk of goats and cows. (It takes a lot less of their milk to make cheese than a cow or a goat's milk.)

    Sheep milk has over twice as much riboflavin B2 as cows and goats, double the Thiamine as cows and goats, more niacin B1, Pantothenic acid, B6, B12, and biotin than cows and goat's milk.

    Even more calcium, phosphorous and magnesium than cow milk or goat's milk.

    You can freeze sheep's milk for up to 6 months and it thaws perfectly, cow or goat's milk doesn't hold up well to freezing.

    The milk makes wonderful soap and delicious cheese b/c of it's high fat content. Plus the milk tastes sweet and delightful w/o any strong "[goaty] essence" lingering. [​IMG]

    They keep my yard perfectly manicured, and they don't need to climb on top of stuff like a goat.

    The only down side to having dairy sheep (IMO) is that you can't make butter out of the milk b/c it is naturally homogenized. [​IMG]

    You would be surprised how they are gaining in popularity these days. ("House cows" they are sometimes called.) The breeder I use says 12 years ago there were no dairy sheep in WA and now there are 5 large sheep dairys.

    Hope this helps!

    disclaimer: I love goats too! Sheep just fit my lifestyle better.
  4. protodon

    protodon Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 3, 2009
    Thanks Sally!

    I do have goats already and just starting getting milk but I don't have anough to have both milk and cheese just yet and dairy sheep really intrigued me but I don't have space for a huge sheep. I only have nigerian goats now and just got rid of my huge wether so I am not about to get any big animals like that again.

    Could you tell me how big your E.friesian/icelandic cross is? Maybe I could just go with an icelandic ewe to try out but then I'd also need to find a ram for service. I wish more people kept dairy sheep.
  5. sodamancer

    sodamancer Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2012
    Question, how much room does a small breed sheep need? I live on just over a quarter arce. THis includes my house too. I am a spinner. I would love to have a sheep or two to go along with my nigerian dwarf goats we plan to get. I am also in wa. What breeds do you reccomend.
  6. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    "Question, how much room does a small breed sheep need?"
    On good pastures you can easily raise 4-6 sheep

    For your sized area, I'd never have more than two, nor LESS than two since they are herd animals.

    The truth is though, there are no really "small" sheep breeds, since even a "small" sheep is about the size of a LARGE goat
  7. cluckcluckluke

    cluckcluckluke Overrun With Chickens

    your best bet would be a goat
    1 person likes this.
  8. sodamancer

    sodamancer Out Of The Brooder

    Jun 2, 2012
    after researching i agree. though there is an acre around the corner that is unused. i wonder if they would lease it
  9. ulriquinho

    ulriquinho New Egg

    May 17, 2014
    Quote: Hi Sally!!! We're in Oregon, and we're thinking of going for an Icelandic-dairy cross! Washington isn't really far, who do you get your sheep from?
    Last edited: May 17, 2014

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