Florida Cracker Sheep
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About Florida Cracker SheepAbout Florida Cracker Sheep

Image: www.floridacrackersheep.com


Florida Crackers are one of thernoldest breeds of sheep in North America. It is believed that they were developedrnfrom sheep that the Spanish first brought to the southeastern United States inrnthe 1500's. They developed largely through natural selection under humidrnsemitropical range conditions in Florida. Prior to the end of open range inrn1949, they were allowed to free range. rnrn 

rnrnIn the middle of the lastrncentury, the emphasis on high input agriculture caused the sheep industry tornturn to breeds of sheep, which were larger in size and produced more wool andrnmeat. This caused the numbers of Florida Cracker sheep to decline dramaticallyrnendangering its very existence. Now, with renewed interest in low-inputrnsustainable agriculture, interest in Florida Cracker sheep is increasing oncernagain.rnrn 

rnrnFlorida Cracker sheep are bothrnactive and vigorous without any tendency to be wild. They demonstrate greaterrnresistance to internal parasites than do both wool sheep and most other hairrnsheep breeds. The ewes can breed back one month after lambing, and ewes canrnproduce two lamb crops per year. Ewes usually bear twins, with some singles,rnfrequent triplets, and occasional quadruplets; lambing rates vary fromrn150-200%.rnrn 

rnrnEwes can weigh 100 lbs while ramsrnreach weights of 150 lbs. The size of the sheep depends primarily on how wellrnit is fed. The sheep are able to handle harsh conditions and low-grade forages.rnWith their strong parasite resistance, high lamb survivability, heat tolerance,rnexcellent mothering instincts and good flocking, the Florida Cracker has muchrnto offer shepherds in the U.S.

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