California Red Sheep Advantages, Disadvantages, Facts, Origin, Uses

The California Red is a regional sheep breed that originated in the United States. It obtains its name from the fact that its lambs are born completely red and keep that color in their faces and limbs until they reach adolescence.

Dr. Glenn Spurlock of Davis, California, bred Tunis sheep and Barbados Blackbelly sheep in the early 1970s, and the California Red is a dual–intent breed with several attributes of its ancestors, including the Tunis's off-season reproductive abilities and its quality wool and the Blackbelly's temperature endurance and meat quality.

Spurlock intended to establish a new type of hair sheep similar to the Barbados Blackbelly, but despite his failure — California Reds have reddish tan hairs intermixed with white fleece — he and other breeders continued to build up the strain. The California Red is capable of lambing out of season, allowing for the production of multiple lamb crops per year.

    California Red Sheep Advantages

    California Red breed has many advantages over other regional breeds due to its characteristics inherited from its ancestors. This breed acquired the ability of breeding off-season and good quality fleece from one of its parents, Tunis sheep, and resilience against hot weather and higher meat quality from Barbados Blackbelly sheep.

    California Red Sheep Advantages, Disadvantages, Facts, Origin, Uses

    California Red Sheep Disadvantages

    There are no major disadvantages of the California Red Sheep breed due to its bloodline. Only minor disadvantages like handling issues in small framing areas, maintenance of breed, and an extra supply of food and water.

    California Red Sheep Facts

    The California Red sheep is a medium-sized sheep with males ranging180 to 250 lbs (82 to 113 kg) and ewes measuring 130 to 140 lbs (59 and 64 kg). They have a chiseled muzzle and long, distended ears, and they have a provocative, powerful expression.  They are naturally polled.

    Wool is absent from the legs and face, and the hair that covers them varies in color from golden to dark cinnamon. When lambs are born, their fleece is reddish-brown, but it starts to fade as they mature. The wool has a velvety softness and is of exceptional quality, with a Bradford count of 50–60 and a staple length of 3–6 in (8 to 15 cm). 

    California Red Sheep Origin

    In the beginning 1970s, Dr. Glenn Spurlock of Davis, California created a large-framed, wool-free sheep using a cross between Tunisia and Barbados breeds.  While his efforts were unsuccessful, he did create a red-colored sheep, which ultimately ended up in the hands of Aime and Paulette Soulier of Winters, California. The Souliers were ready to expand and establish the breed with the assistance of other sheep breeders, and over 2,200 sheep have since been recorded.

    California Red Sheep Uses

    California Red sheep is a dual-purpose breed that is mainly developed for meat and wool. It produces great quality wool and yields a higher amount of meat.

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