Selecting and Raising Sheep for Wool

Sandy Hevener shares her knowledge of selecting and raising sheep for wool, includes information on wool grades, a wool glossary, selecting breeds, protecting sheep from predators and how to shear a sheep.

| August/September 2000

Learn the country skills you need to know when raising sheep for wool. 

It was Mary Child's first visit to West Virginia from Philadelphia — a short journey some 20 years ago to see a friend — and she was stunned. There they stood, lined up against a fence, shimmering in pastel light: a bunch of lambs. It was love at first sight. 

"I was fascinated, drawn to them," she recalls.

Shortly after moving to the place where lambs beckoned her, Child obtained seven or eight Suffolk-based ewes for her plan of raising sheep for wool. The sheep produced sparse, white, medium-weight wool, typical of mutton-type breeds in the region. It wasn't quite what Child had in mind.

Determined to produce dense, soft, naturally colored fleeces, she added to her flock a black, mostly Corriedale ram and a purebred Lincoln ram to improve the wool on future lambs.

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