Amelia will talk about Turkish Spindles
Some photos from Forest Home Farms Shearing Day, 4/23/22
TREADLES TO THREADS GUILD
10:00 A.M. SATURDAY, MARCH 26, 2022
President Vickie M. opened the meeting to welcome our speaker, Dr. Sabine Schroeder-Gravendyck, DVM, speaking from Germany. She enjoys researching the history and uses of the many rare breeds of sheep. The Valois Black Nose from Switzerland is one example that herds easily and can eat low calorie food. They survive well at high altitudes There are breeds that survive well lower down the mountains in the wet and rain and the Valois would not. The Coberger Fox sheep will walk long distances foraging for food. In the 1930's, legislation almost wiped out the Fox Sheep. Otto Stritzel bred 30-40 sheep looking for a wool type. He and two others convinced the herd book to recognize them.
Sabine asked “why sheep?” The animals eat grass, leaves and branches for food. From thisl, we get wool, meat, bones, milk and fertilizer. Sheep do not compete with humans for food sources. There are some sheep that are high performance, like the Merino. That breed needs grain and parasite management for maximum performance This competes with humans.
There are 1592 sheep breeds, some that have both hair and wool. 160 breeds are extinct already, 788 have unknown numbers of members, 191 are at some level of risk through low numbers and 400 are not at risk. After 12,000 years of domestication, there is a sheep breed for every land type bt the Arctic. Examples are the Targhee which was developed for the area of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming with durable, fairly soft wool. The Kathaden is a good meat producer with great parasite resistance, but has no wool to shear.
At risk sheep need people to work to keep them pure to breed. In Germany, the is an area called the Arch Warder, like a zoo. It is the largest center in Europe protecting rare sheep and other animals. Some breeds, like the Houtland with 120 sheep, may be so far apart geographically that it is not reasonable to try to increase the numbers. The Ark helps with conservation efforts and education. Pomeranian sheep which has a rough wool, can walk on wet ground 24/7 without foot rot. Landraces have a variety that keeps them alive and going. Fleeces can give a variety of yarn options all in one fleece, that can give a variety of yarn options, definitely not like a Merino fleece.
Sabine sent a survey, asking the breeds that our members have used. She showed a spread sheet showing that we have been exposed to 46 breeds. She was impressed. She showed her collection of “wooley baskets”, each done from a single sheep breed from the same pattern. It is a great way to compare characteristics. This is the pattern we will use with the Coberg Fox sheep sample project. Sabine also gave us a sneak peek at her fleece collection. Sabine parting words were “Keep using rare breed fleece/fibers. Support shepherds that care for the soil.”