I have something very special to write about today.
At the end of this month I’ll be driving to California to pick up a sheep.
Photo by Dave Pape (Creative Commons)
But not just any sheep… a beautiful Mouflon ram.
The Mouflon is believed to be the ‘wild’ ancestor of all domesticated sheep. As I understand it, originally these sheep were found in the mountainous regions of Anatolia and then were introduced to the Greek islands, eventually ending up in continental Europe. Today, wild Moulfon can be found in Iraq and Iran. They’re most distinguishable feature is their large impressive horns. Which unfortunately means these animals are plentiful here in the United States on game ranches, where people pay to go ‘hunt’ one down.
When I decided to raise sheep, I knew I wanted a ram that could bring in a fresh dose of vigor to his babies. Comparing a Mouflon to a domesticated sheep, is like comparing a wolf to a German Shepherd. Most people know that German Shepherds are overbred, which has caused the breed to suffer. The same thing is true with America’s stock bred sheep. But Mouflons are extremely disease resistant with little problems with parasites, in fact they have little health problems at all. They’ve never been farmed industrially and they’ve been allowed to retain their natural vitality.
And it doesn’t hurt that they’re gorgeous, too.
My intentions are to breed Mouflon hybrids. A cross between my purebred Mouflon and domesticated ewes. The resulting babies will retain some of the desirable domesticated qualities of their moms from centuries of farm use, but will also receive a healthy vigorous set of genes courtesy of dad. Some day, I’ll probably get a Mouflon ewe too, but for now these crosses will be very valuable to sheep farmers who want to liven up their livestock.
So why am I driving all the way to California?
Well, that’s the closest place I could find purebred Mouflons! I’m very excited. I reserved my boy months ago and I’ve been receiving pictures of him as he grows. He’s being bottle fed right now, because Mouflon can be very skittish if not handled regularly from a lamb.
Look at this baby picture of him from Feb. 29th! *melts* What a cutie!
His name is Octavian, btw. I didn’t name him, the breeder did. He said I was welcome to change it, but I just think such a regal name suits such a majestic animal.
I don’t have an exact date yet of when I’m leaving, but I’m aiming for the night of June 19th. It should only take me about 7 hours to get there, so not too long of a trip. I’m going to be doing a video blog-style of my adventure, so in a way you’ll get to pick him up with me!
Sooo excited just typing about this! I can’t wait for him to meet Dasher and Edie!