Michael Piel of Maine created the Katahdin breed in an attempt to create a meat sheep that did not require shearing. In 1955 Piel began his adventure after seeing photos of West African Hair Sheep in National Geographic Magazine. He imported three from St. Croix in Africa and began his work. Piel was breeding for four things: hair coat, meat-type conformation, high fertility, and flocking instinct.
In the first part of the 70s Piel finally believed he was close to achieving his goal and named his flock "Katahdin" after Mt. Katahdin, the highest peak in Maine.
In 1985 Katahdin Hair Sheep International was incorporated. The first members were accepted in 1987. The Farmstead was accepted under the designation NRT (Nick and Rachael Taylor) in 2012.
Over the years Katahdins have proven themselves to be a a wonderful breed:
- Katahdin are hardy, adaptable, low maintenance sheep that produce superior lamb crops and lean, meaty carcasses.
- They do not produce a fleece and therefore do not require shearing.
- They are medium-sized and efficient.
- Ewes have exceptional mothering ability and lamb easily; lambs are born vigorous and alert.
- The breed is ideal for pasture lambing and grass/forage based management systems. Source.
Katahdins are strictly raised for their lean, mild flavored meat. Although the number one reason we chose Katahdins is due to the fact they don't require shearing we also love that they are good mothers, have a higher than normal (when compared to other sheep) resistance to internal parasites, and do well on pasture.
As an added bonus the breed standard is to not dock their tails so the have these wonderful long tails that wag back and forth. And...they really are beautiful sheep.