The Katahdin breed was developed by Michael Piel in the late 1950’s. Hair sheep were imported from the Caribbean and bred to his flock of wool sheep in Maine, US. The purpose of this cross was to eliminate the wool while improving the prolificacy, hardiness, meat conformation and rate of growth of the hair sheep. After twenty years of crossing the imported hair sheep to British breeds, mainly Suffolk, the desirable individuals were selected and called Katahdins. In the 1970’s Wiltshire Horn sheep were bred introduced to the flock to improve size and carcass weight.
WHY CHOOSE KATAHDINS?
Katahdin are hardy, adaptable, low maintenance sheep that produce wonderful lamb crops and lean, meaty carcasses. They do not produce a fleece and therefore do not require shearing. They are medium-sized and efficient, bred for utility and for production in a variety of management systems. Ewes have exceptional mothering ability and lamb easily; lambs are born vigorous and alert. The breed is ideal for pasture lambing and grass/forage based management systems.
Ewes and rams exhibit early puberty and generally have a long productive life. Mature ewes usually have twins, occasionally producing triplets or quadruplets. A well-managed and selected flock should produce a 200% lamb crop. Rams are aggressive breeders, generally fertile year round, and can settle a large number of ewes in the first cycle of exposure. With selection a flock can consistently lamb throughout the year. The Katahdin ewe shows a strong, protective mothering instinct, usually lambs without assistance, and has ample milk for her lambs.
Lambs produce a high quality, well-muscled carcass that is naturally lean and consistently offers a very mild flavour. Lambs are comparable to other medium-sized maternal breeds in growth and cutability. Lambs are desirable for specialty markets at a variety of ages and weights.
The hair coat of the Katahdin varies in length and texture among individuals and can be any colour or colour combination. It generally consists of coarse outer hair fibers and an undercoat of fine wooly fibers that becomes very thick and longer if cold weather sets in and day length decreases. This undercoat and some hair naturally sheds as temperature and day length increase seasonally, leaving a shorter, smooth summer coat.
We currently have a mature breeding flock of approximately 100 ewes in addition to 4 Registered rams. It is our goal to continually improve our flock by selecting for: easy keepers, easy lambers, excellent mothering ability, and general hardiness. The Katahdin as a breed is low maintenance in every sense, and we aim to maintain and improve the simple nature of these wonderful animals. As an operation, our primary goal is to provide superior purebred Katahdin breeding stock. If you would like to hear more about our animals or our breeding program, contact us. We love our animals, and you will too!
Welcome to the Harris Family Farm, a family owned and operated farm operation! We are proud to carry on the farming tradition, in which shared knowledge, hard work ethic and love for the land and the animals have been passed down from generation to generation.
It is important for us to provide fresh, healthy, naturally-grown foods of the highest quality - directly to our customers. We are working to maintain a healthy environment, a vibrant community, and a strong and sustainable family farm.