Today we took a drive down to George Washington's Mount Vernon to pick up the newest addition to our farm, three Hog Island Ewes. Mila, Sedona and Topanga will be the foundation Ewes for our breeding program to help increase the population of this breed. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy characterizes the status of Hog Island sheep as critical, meaning that less then 200 Hog Island Sheep are registered in the USA and only concentrated and sustained effort can save them from extinction.
During the 1700's colonist brought a flock of sheep to Hog Island, a barrier island off the coast of the Delmarva Peninsula. Over time the sheep of Hog Island evolved in response to the island’s natural selection for hardiness, foraging ability, and reproductive efficiency shaping the sheep of Hog Island into a distinct breed.
During the 1930’s a string of hurricanes washed across the island destroying much of the island. By 1945 all of the residents had left Hog Island leaving the flock of sheep behind. The sheep that were left behind continued to thrive on the island.
During the 1970's the Nature Conservancy purchased the island and relocated the sheep to Mount Vernon and Colonial Williamsburg.
We will be shearing the sheep during the spring and offering wool products at that time. The wool is medium-fine to medium-coarse. The wool is easily carded and can be felted or spun. With the variety of wool color this wool is great for hand spinners.
We will offer a limited amount of frozen lamb each year. All ewes born will be added to the breeding flock to help increase the population. Ram lambs that are not needed for breeding stock will be finished and sold as frozen lamb. Hog Island lamb is a real treat, it's tender and flavorful with a cleaner taste then most lamb. It has a sweet grassy finish.