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Scientific Name:

Ovis Aries

Conservation Status:
The Gulf Coast sheep is a rare breed that is found only in captivity.

Where to see them:
Outback Station Petting Zoo

Fun Facts:

This breed has developed a natural resistance to internal parasites, and the Florida Agriculture Department has maintained a parasite-free herd since 1962 without the use of de-wormers.

Gulf Coast sheep have a natural resistance to hoof rot.

Their low-density wool allows them to tolerate the hot, humid climate of the South. Gulf Coast sheep produce wool at almost half the rate of other merinos and therefore need to be sheared only once a year.
 

 

Gulf Coast Sheep

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Size
Males and females are similar in size. Height is 30 inches; weight is 150 to 200 pounds.

Range
Gulf Coast sheep were developed in the southeastern United States within 100 miles of the Gulf Coast (hence the name). These animals are descendants of Spanish sheep brought to the Americas by explorers in the 1500s. Over the centuries, they were crossed with English white-faced breeds and through natural selection evolved into today’s hardy breed.

Habitat

Grasslands and pasture

Lifestyle
The Gulf Coast sheep is a domesticated breed that is kept for wool and meat. They can be kept on farms or free-ranging on large pasture lands. Sheep prefer to eat plants at ground level as opposed to goats, which are browsers and prefer trees and shrubs.

Food
Sheep are grazers, meaning that they eat grasses at ground level.

Life Cycle
Gulf Coast sheep are active breeders year-round and tend to give birth to twins. Rams can breed as early as 4 months old.

Some of My Neighbors (IN THE WILD)
Gulf Coast sheep are found only in captivity.

Population Status & Threats
Gulf Coast sheep are one of the only sheep breeds native to the U.S. There is a strong desire to keep the breed pure; however, due to their small size and low wool density, they are not a popular sheep for farmers. For this reason, they are considered a rare breed.