Farmstead products

are products that are made on the farm, where the animals live.

weirauch farm & creamery
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The East friesian dairy sheep originated in northern germany and the province of friesland in the netherlands.

Imported as purebreds into the U.S. from Canada in 1994, this breed has the highest milk production of the improved dairy sheep breeds. They are a docile, large size, open white faced, polled breed with a coarse grade staple length wool. Their most distinctive physical feature is a "rat-tail", thin and free of wool. A high percentage of ewes will lamb at 12 months of age and mature ewes are highly prolific. Litter size in the East Friesian is reported as averaging 2.25 lambs with a milk yield per ewe of 500-700 kg per lactation testing 6-7% milk fat, the highest average dairy milk yield recorded for any breed of sheep.

The East Friesian is considered to be the worlds highest producing dairy sheep. They are highly specialized animals and do poorly under extensive and large flock husbandry conditions. It is perhaps no mere coincidence that the region of Friesland is also the origin of the Friesian cattle breed, including the Holstein which has the highest milk yield of any breed of livestock. Friesian cattle and East Friesian sheep are alike in other important regards. Neither fares well in harsh hot environments but both have produced excellent crossbreeds with adapted local breeds.


Breed definition as defined by the American Diary Sheep Association

Additional information by Wesley Combs, Canada, Consultant in International Livestock Development


 

We have been slowly developing our flock of dairy sheep since 2004. We initially bred two high quality Friesian ewes to a Friesian/Targhee cross ram that was a direct descendant of Blue 40 from New Zealand. To diversify the genetics of our small flock, in 2011, we introduced a Friesian/Lacaune ram as well as 20 young ewes that are a hardy cross of Friesian/Polypay/Columbian and Lacaune. We currently have a flock of  67 adult ewes and 3 rams.


We are members of DSANA, the Dairy Sheep Association of North America. DSANAs annual Dairy Sheep Symposium offers workshops, seminars and an established internet community all of which have proven to be an invaluable source of information and inspiration.  www.dsana.org







Our flock and all of their products are “humane” certified, through the Animal Welfare Institute, and carry the Animal Welfare Approved seal. This program audits and certifies family farms raising their animals humanely, outdoors on pasture or range. Farmers who earn the AWA seal benefit from having a third-party verification of their high-welfare practices and consumers benefit by knowing that the humane label means what it says.

our flock

Grazing pregnant ewes with plenty of wool for the winter. We shear the flock once a year, around the first of June.

Above: This is not a ewe and note the tail...The pure bred East Friesian dairy sheep does not grow wool on their tails (often referred to as a “rat” tail) or on the inside of their legs; therefore it is not customary to dock the tails.

sheep have  tails

Matriarch, Alice is a pure bred East Friesian ewe. She was one of two young lambs gifted to us as a wedding present. Alice is never in a hurry.  She is now 9 years young and tends to linger behind the rest of the flock. She is an exceptional mother, docile yet very attentive and by far the most prolific milker we have had so far. She has been known to give as much as a gallon a day. Year round she can be identified by her very large mature udder with excellent teat formation. She is mother to Coretta (from our infamous farm postcard). She loves to rub on the scratching post in the barn and is not shy about requesting deep wool massage from our visitors. Alice is an ideal dairy sheep companion and although she is now retired we look forward to sharing our lives with her for years to come as our flock nanny.


 
sheep bio