Icelandic Sheep at Mountain Valley View Farm!

posted by Dr. James G. Hood
Thursday, September 8, 2011

Author: biologyfishman
Source: Wikimedia Commons

Mountain Valley View Farm is excited to announce the arrival of Icelandic sheep at our farm! We have added five of these beautiful animals to our growing flock of sheep, which also includes Babydoll Southdowns. In the future, we will also add East Friesians to our flock, but for now we are tickled pink to welcome the Icelandic breed to our family farm.

Icelandic sheep are one of the oldest and purest breeds in the world today. The Vikings brought them to Iceland 1100 years ago, where they became into a hardy breed known for their ability to endure cold, harsh temperatures and forage efficiently for food even in difficult conditions. Icelandic sheep are unique in that a small portion of the population developed a keener intelligence. These leader-sheep are actually able to help farmers manage their flock by remaining highly alert to predators and other dangers, guiding the other sheep to and from pasture, and even sensing the onset of bad weather.

Although most sheep in Iceland are raised only for their meat today, the breed has a long and excellent milking history. Ewes typically produce 1 liter of milk each day for 8 weeks following the birth of a lamb, but quite a few have been known to produce 2-3 liters per day, making them wonderful milk producers. Mountain Valley View Farm is raising Icelandic sheep principally for their milk, which is rich, creamy, and sweet as well as high in nutrients.

Icelandic sheep have a thick, dual coat of fleece to keep them warm during the harsh winters. The long outer coat is called tog and the fine inner coat is called thel, and both are used to make wool products. Tog is classified as a medium wool and is used primarily for weaving and making durable products like rugs, while thel is softer and finer, making it ideal for clothing. Tog and thel can also be used together to create a knitting wool known as lopi. The Icelandic sheep is the only animal that can produce the distinctive lopi yarn. Starting in October, Mountain Valley View Farm will begin selling the colorful, warm wool produced by our Icelandic sheep.



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