Karakul Sheep

Heritage Breed of Registered Karakul Sheep

The Karakul may be the oldest breed of domesticated sheep. Archeological evidence indicates the existence of the Persian lambskin as early as 1400 B.C. and carvings of a distinct Karakul type have been found on ancient Babylonian temples. Although known as the "fur" sheep, the Karakul provided more than the beautifully patterned silky pelts of the young lambs. They were also a source of milk, meat, tallow, and wool, a strong fiber that was felted into fabric or woven into carpeting.

The Karakul is native to Central Asia and is named after a village called Karakul which lies in the valley of the Amu Darja River in the former emirate of Bokhara, West Turkestan. This region is one of high altitude with scant desert vegetation and a limited water supply. A hard life imparted to the breed a hardiness and ability to thrive under adverse conditions, which is distinctive of the Karakul sheep to this day.

 
 

Karakul lambs are the most beautiful lambs in the world. 
They have a primary black gene but they will also be born, red, brown, silver, white and spotted. Newborns have tight curls to wavy moire curls. Sheen to dull wool-and textures that are fine to coarse.

Lamb Pelts are unique and sought after.
Their pelts are sought after because they are rare to find and beautiful.

Fewer than 1000 live in the U.S.
Karakuls are a rare breed listed by “The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.” We want to raise registered karakuls for breeding to guarantee their existence for future generations to raise and enjoy.  Kathy Donovan, Letty Klein, and Dr Christine Camen have been instrumental in helping me development all of my management  protocols, assisted with my struggles and offered agricultural encouragement that my first flock of sheep have provided I would need.  Our farm will offer annual sheep shearing demonstrations as well as animal care assistance participation for guests to the farm. 

Manageable size!

They are a medium sized sheep. Shannon searched for a flock of sheep so that the her small children could aide in managing the sheep. They are size that can manage health care by herself alongside the children.

Karakuls unique conformation and elegant appearance.
The Karakuls are called the “fat tailed sheep.” In middle eastern deserts, the tail provided nourishment during drought and low foliage seasons. Since they are one of the oldest breeds in the world, their tails enabled them to survive since BC. Many cultures use the tail fat for cooking.

Ewes are wonderful mothers.
They are easy lambers, good mothers, great milkers. Some sheep breeds have larger heads which can make lambing difficult. The Karakuls slim nose reduces the chance of a difficult deliveries. 

Karakul fleeces are stunning colors and textures.
Karakuls offer a wide variety of fleece colors. Their fleece has been woven into persian rugs for thousands of years. Now there is renewed interest to create braided roving rugs. Thanks to Letty Klein and Ann Brown, authors of the book called “The Shepherd’s Rug.” Anyone can follow their instructions to braid a beautiful and practical rug. 

Fleece is easy to felt!
Their long coarse fibers are terrific for felt projects and knit to felt projects. Felt hats, outwear coats, vests, boots and mittens helped mankind survive harsh weather for many years. Now spinners seek their fleece for their yarn projects.

Dual Purpose sheep.
Karakuls lamb and mutton is very mild. Ethnic markets desire custom lamb cuts and many ethnic groups are very familiar with the “fat tailed” breed.  The “fat tail” is often used in cooking for many people. 

 

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