Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The German East Friesian Milk Sheep

The other day when I was writing about Milk Sheep Fiber, I wanted to give you a bit more information about German dairy sheep. I was having a little trouble accessing and translating a German website I wanted to reference, but I've worked out my issues and I'm back with more about milk sheep.

The German East Friesian Milk Sheep is the best known of the Friesian breeds. As you may well guess by the name, they are originally from East Friesland. This is a territory in the northeast of Germany along the coast of the Netherlands and extending south to the Schelde River.

The East Friesian dairy sheep reach maturity early and can have their first offspring as young as 12 months. Multiple births are also common with the average being 2.25 lambs. They also have the highest recorded diary yield of any sheep breed at 500-700 kg per lactation. They are most commonly a white wool sheep and while it is not primarily what they're bred for, they produce a good amount of wool.

The East Friesian milk sheep can be found throughout Germany and are commonly used on family farms as the milk supply. In general, milk sheep products are rising in popularity. Many who have trouble tolerating cow's milk are finding sheep's milk to be a good alternative. It's even been known to have other health benefits such as a calming effect on eczema.

I've enjoyed learning about the German East Friesian milk sheep. If my husband hadn't come back from Germany with the world's largest batt of milk sheep fiber, I might never have done this research. I do love to learn and so I am glad to add this information to what I know about sheep!

1 comment:

Cook familyfarmMo said...

Hi, I was hoping you could stop by a group on facebook called " The Sheep Flock". Andy Karras stops by on occasion and I'm sure you will like what you see. I would really like to talk more about the milk sheep fiber industry with you and I'm sure the other folks would too. Thank you, Jeff Cook.