The St Croix sheep breed hails from the island of St Croix, one of the Virgin Islands and may be found on most of the islands. Originally used to breed their white colour into other breeds, they are considered a meat breed. They are known, however, to be black or brown as well. They are said to have migrated to the islands on slave ships from Africa, where one may assume they were brought along for nourishment. So they at one point were an African sheep that must have developed form a cross of some manner. As many other African sheep they are a hair sheep. Meaning they do not grow wool. The hair falls off throughout the summer and returns in time for winter. One attribute that you hear most often about the St Croix breed is that it has great parasite resistance. Making it an excellent breed for tropical settings where warm rainy weather is widespread. This breed is also polled, meaning they naturally have no horns. Solving the problem of damage or needing to use a hot iron to burn out the horns while young.
While the majority of St. Croix sheep are white, a few are brown, brown, tan, black, or white with brown or black patches. The most common experiences with rearing St Croix sheep are as follows: Ewes weigh an average of 150 pounds, whereas Rams weigh an average of 200 pounds. Lambs typically weigh about 6-7 pounds at birth. Another advantage of this breed of sheep is its rapid recovery time following lambing, which is only one month. That is, in excellent years, you may anticipate two lamb births. Each lambing season, one can anticipate between two and three lambs. Occasionally, more lambs are born.
The meat of St Croix has a mild flavor and a larger carcass weight than typical, which is owing to the lower bone to flesh ratio of the animal. As a result of not having undergone the selective breeding procedures that many other breeds of sheep have undergone, they tend to take longer to attain average slaughter weights than other sheep breeds.
Approximately 10% of the world’s total sheep population is classified as belonging to the hair sheep categorization. Most sheep are bred for both meat and wool production, with the exception of a few exceptions. Sheep are produced for their meat, wool, and milk, and there are many different breeds. These are extremely rare, yet they are a homesteader’s dream come true. A farm animal that can produce a variety of different products. Until recently, these sheep were not easily available in the United States. The majority of them reside in Europe, and the milk produced by these sheep is highly prized. Since the cancellation of the wool subsidy, there has been a significant increase in interest in raising hair sheep.
The ALBC has the St Croix categorized as an endangered breed. A categorization intended for those sheep who have fewer than one thousand registered in any given year. I would predict that the combination of the subsidy lapse and the rising focus on self sufficiency, this breed with all its excellent attributes will be more prominent in coming years.