Ingimundur is from Iceland where sheep sustained the nation for a thousand years, ever since Iceland was settled. Ingimundur has spent over 30 years breeding for a healthy and self reliant flock – he bred out any traits which threatened the flock’s overall wellness.
The flock of sheep at Spring Lake Farm, now a result from 5 well-known breeds, is vigorous (meaning healthy and can withstand cold Catskill winters), meaty, fertile, and with propensity for twinning along with a strong mothering instinct. A unique aspect of the flock is that they were also bred for a special type of coat that is suited to the New York State climate. The sheep grow a thick coat that sheds in the summer, meaning that they do not have to be shorn*. We believe this natural shedding during the hotter summer months leads to a noticeable lack of a ‘wooly’ taste in our meat. Ingimundur bred for good lamb coats; lambs born with healthy full coat have a higher survival rate.
A point of interest, our flock here in the Catskills has a strong herding instinct. They graze together in a tight flock and this actually protects them somewhat from the coyotes. In Iceland where the vegetation is very sparse, they can not afford to be in a flock. With such a vast area to cover in order to get its fill, every sheep has to graze by them self. The sheep in Iceland do not have this herd instinct. This shows how the same species adapts to different environments. There are no coyotes or wolves in Iceland.
Romanov. They originate from Russia and were only imported to the US in 1986. They are known for their fertility, twinning , vigorous health, good lambs coats, and a high survival rate for lambing in the New York State climate.
Katahdin were created Maine in the 1950s from crosses of St. Croix (a hair breed from West Africa that were introduced into the Caribbean in the 1500s) and Wilt-shire Horn (a British breed that sheds its wool), they are know for their shedding hair coat. They also have lambs with thick healthy coats at birth.
Suffolk originated in England although they were introduced to America in 1888 and was chosen for its meaty frame. Primarily a meat, but have to be shorn.
Dorset is also an English dual purpose breed, both meat and wool.
Finnsheep originated in Finland and is a relatively new import, only coming to North America in 1966. It was added to the breed for its prolific multiple births.
Sheering*: Sheering a flock is a labor intensive job, stressful both for the farmer and the sheep. Whilst this does produce wool, in our farms’ existence the price was such a pittance (due to the Australian wool market) that after days of sheering (a full-family exercise) we would bag the wool and leave it to rot. This of course was also due to the flock having a mix of coats resulting in below standard wool product. Also, growing wool puts nutrition requirements on the sheep, nursing lamb and growing wool at the same time may not be a good idea. Especially when the sheep grazed without supplemental grain feeding.
how they are raised: Our lamb is 100% grassfed – they spend their days out on pasture (season permitting*) and are housed every evening in open air enclosures to protect them from Catskill predators. During winter (and early spring lambing season), the sheep are housed in the open air enclosures and fed our own hay.
how we sell the lamb: because of the size of lambs, we usually sell them only whole or half.