Barbados Blackbelly Sheep

IMG_5392

 

Barbados Blackbelly Sheep were originally developed on the Caribbean island of  Barbados from hair sheep brought in by the slave traders during the 1600s. USDA introduced the breed into the US in 1904 by importing one ram and four ewes. There was a notable importation by NCSU in 1970 by Professor Lemuel Goode to establish a purebred flock at the University.  In 2004 the US census recorded less than 200 Barbados Blackbelly sheep left in the United States. Currently most of the sheep are held  in research flocks at Virginia State University and by a small number of private breeders around the Country. While the population is now growing the sheep are still considered endangered in the US.

Barbados Blackbellys are a hair breed that does not need shearing. They are good mothers and most often have twins or even triplets. The ewes typically weigh about 100 pounds with rams weighing about 125 pounds. They are known for being parasite resistant and adaptive to varying climates. The meat is very mild and lean.

The pictures above are the 5 ewe lambs and ram lamb that I purchased from Dr. Stephan Wildeus at VSU. Two ewe lambs are from the Bracken Brae line which was purchased indirectly from the NCSU flock when it was sold. Three ewe lambs are from the UVI-1 line and the ram is from the UVI-2 line.