THE ORIGIN OF SHEEP (Ovis aries)
Despite many theories about the origin of sheep, most sources agree that they originated from “Mouflon” The two wild populations consist of the Asiatic mouflon found in the mountains of Asia Minor and southern Iran and the European mouflon of which the only existing members are on the islands of Sardinia and Corsica.
A statuette of a woolly sheep was found at an archeological site in Iran which suggests domesticated sheep over 6,000 years ago. Sheep are also pictured in Mesopotamian and Babylonian art by 3000 BC.
There are more than 200 distinct sheep breeds worldwide. Breeding schemes were based on selection for wool type, flocking instinct and other economically important traits.
WHAT IS A TARGHEE?
Some facts about one of the breeds we have at the farm. Review these points, you never know when we will offer a trivia contest !
· One of America’s youngest sheep breeds, developed in 1926 in Dubois Idaho.
· Got their name from the Targhee National Forest (named after a chief of the Bannock Indians)
· Known for a heavy fleece of high quality wool.
· Mature body weight in the rams is 200 lbs to 300 lbs.
· Ewes weigh slightly less at 125 lbs to 200 lbs.
· Each ewe will average a 10 to 14 pound fleece.
WHAT IS A SUFFOLK?
More interesting facts about the second breed of sheep at Ramblin Vewe Farm!
· Breed originated almost 200 years ago on the rugged southeastern coast of England.
· By far the most popular pure breed of sheep
· the result of crossing Southdown rams and Norfolk Horn ewes
· Originally, they were called Southdown Norfolks or just “Black faces.”
· large breed with a distinctive all-black head and legs that are free of wool.
· Suffolk lambs grow faster than any other breed
· Mature weights for Suffolk rams range from 250 to 350 pounds
· ewe weights vary from 180 to 250 pounds
Fleece weights from mature ewe are between five and eight pounds
The forest habitat found at Ramblin’ Vewe Farm is known as a semi-rich mesic forest (a habitat with a moderate or well-balanced supply of moisture). This forest provides an abundance of seeds and nuts to support various birds including grosbeaks, finches, ruffed grouse, sparrows and wild turkeys and herbivorous mammals including squirrels, chipmunks, voles, mice, and porcupine. Large herbivores occurring in these woods include white-tailed deer and the occasional moose.
The development of a thick mat of leaf litter material on the forest floor supports a diverse community of litter invertebrates. This litter invertebrate community provides food to insectivorous birds including robins, thrushes and woodcock; other insectivores include shrews, moles, snakes, and frogs.
Top predators in this habitat include red fox, coyote, bobcat, fisher, owls, and hawks. Black bear are large omnivorous mammals that also are found in this area occasionally.
Wetland and pond habitats within these woods support amphibians including salamanders and frogs as well as the aquatic-foraging birds and mammals that prey on them such as the belted kingfisher, water shrew and mink.
Some of the species found here include:
American beech, birches (white, gray and black), maples (red, sugar and striped), oak, white ash, hophornbeam, eastern hemlock, red pine and white pine.
Chickadee, ovenbird, American robin, wild turkey, ruffed grouse, wood thrush, veery, crow, white-breasted nuthatch, tree swallow, piliated woodpecker, red-tailed hawk and barred owl.
Red squirrel, porcupine, raccoon, chipmunk, striped skunk, fisher, meadow vole, northern flying squirrel, deer mouse, white-footed mouse, white-tailed deer, bobcat, red fox, coyote, black bear and moose.
Amphibians & Reptiles:
Common garter snake, milk snake, eastern newt, northern two-lined salamander, spotted salamander, northern leopard frog, wood frog and spring peeper.