|I have both the Ho+gene (horns in both males and females) and the Ho (hl) gene (horns in males only). I do not have the
modifier scur gene Sc in my flock and none of my sheep carry the polled gene Ho(p) either. For those that want to know
the genetic makeup of the sheep they are interested in, I can usually give the genetic makeup for each. For example, you
could ask for a ram that was E(D)E(D)S(s)S(s) for color and Ho(+)Ho(+) for horns.
|The Hair Sheep of Underwood Farms
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|We are proud of our colorful sheep and you will not find a more colorful flock
anywhere. Sheep are divided into two basic groups. The better known group is
the wool group, but there is also the hair group. The sheep in the second group
of breeds have no wool and never need to be clipped. (The kind we keep). The
domestic hair breeds originated in Africa and then later had some wild species
blood introduced trophy rams for the hunting market. So, the animals that we
have today in the USA are such a complete mixture of breeds and species that
it is impossible to be certain of their genetic makeup. They were primarily
developed for meat production in regions of the world, such as the tropic, where
|ABOUT OUR "PAINTED DESERT" HAIR SHEEP
|the wool was not needed. However; for any one who wants pet sheep and does not want to deal with the great amount of
labor involved in sheering, these breeds are ideal. Hair sheep also make ideal companions to keep with goats as their
needs are the same. Adding them to your operation can increase profitability without additional investment in building and
|WOOL VS HAIR
|Ewe lambs are $200 each and ram lambs $125 each weaned off the mothers. All my ewes give birth in May and June with
lambs ready to go 2 - 3 months later. Leaving them on mothers this long speeds their growth so that most ewe lambs will
breed their first fall. It is rare for a ewe that is at least 2 years old to not give twins, and occasionally produces three.
PLEASE NOTE that I always sell out of lambs every year about 6 months to one year before they are born and require a
50% deposit to hold them. In other words, you will most likely need to place a deposit and wait up to one year for
availability, especially on ewe lambs. I apologize for this but I have never been able to keep up with demand. I have also
stopped allowing one purchaser to reserve the entire lamb crop to allow others a chance to purchase some.
Thanks for your understanding on this matter.
|The pinto or painted desert pattern is produced by a recessive spotting
gene. All my sheep are homozygous for this gene, that is they carry two
copies of the "spotted" gene S(s) and have no gene for "non-spotted
S(+)". So they only produce spotted offspring. On top of this, the brown
color is produced from a recessive brown gene and the black is produced
from a dominate black gene E(D). So all of my brown sheep are
homozygous for brown (and only produce brown and white offspring). All
of my black sheep are either split for brown and black (and produce black
and white offspring as well as brown and white offspring) or are
homozygous for black and only produce black and white offspring.
|It is very important to remember that my line has NO Jacob wool sheep blood in it. While the color patterns look the same
and my hair sheep can look like Jacobs that have been shorn, the similarity ends there.
Wool sheep blood will take at least 5 generations, if ever, to get the wool out completely and it is not the shortcut to color
production in hair sheep it first appears to be. There is also the risk of bringing in the defective gene for split eyelid from the
Jacob line. However the "Jacob-like" color pattern did come into the USA many years ago in some pure African hair sheep,
unrelated to Jacobs. The story is a little sketchy and some of the people involved in the early years are now deceased, but I
have been able to verify a lot of the story.
Around 1950 some sheep went directly to a Texas zoo (Dallas?) with a shipment of other African stock. They were what we
would call "West African Dwarves" or WADs today. The zoo soon realized that they did not make an exciting attraction and
the sheep were sold to a man who used them to train his herding dogs.
Being a dog man and not a sheep man, he did not realize how rare his stock was and kept them for about 15-20 years for
his dogs to work. Then Ed Bissell acquired them. Ed was well known for keeping about 200 unusual hair sheep of many
lines back when hair sheep were not as popular as today. Luke Hardy then purchased the sheep from him and kept them as
pure as he could for about 30 years. My stock came from him and others that have purchased from him.
While few have survived over the years, they have been the basis for this pattern without the use of woolly Jacob blood.
There are probably not any pure blood WADs left in the USA as they have been crossed with other painted desert hair
sheep over the years to keep the vigor up and increase numbers, but we have been able to keep the WAD pattern in a line
that only has hair sheep blood in it. As a result of not having Jacob blood, these sheep tend to not throw the Jacob face
pattern as often as Jacob/hair crosses do and they also tend to throw the Zulu sub-pattern more often.
|See more photos of our Hair Sheep