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Tamarack Farm is a small farm in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. During the spring of 2010, we obtained seven crossbred Gotland ewes, in varying percentages, with the goal of breeding up the Gotland percentage, inorder to obtain the true Gotland breed of sheep that is found in Sweden. Then in the fall of 2010, we bought three more ewes and one back up ram. We decided that all the ewes would be Artificialy Insemenated with 100% Gotland semen. However, we have a backup ram named Axel who would help us if the A.I. was not successful! Axel is 87.5% Gotland. It is a family project that keeps on growing.
Ada is our Border Collie in training here at Tamarack Farm Gotlands.
The picture of the Gotland sheep below was taken during our family's trip to Sweden in 2009.
Information on the breed:
The breed was first established on the Swedish island of Gotland by the Vikings with Karakul and Romanov sheep brought back from expeditions deep into Russia and crossed with the native landrace sheep. The Vikings were great seafarers as well as sheep farmers and took these animals on their extensive voyages to provide meat and skins along the route. Hence the spread of these Northern short-tailed sheep and the development into related breeds such as Gute sheep, Icelandic, Finnsheep, Shetland, North Ronaldsay and Manx. Primitive horned Gotland sheep (still called Gute) still exist on the island of Gotland today. The Gotland Peltsheep (pälsfår) or modern Gotland has been developed in Sweden since the 1920's through controlled breeding and intensive selection, producing a true multipurpose long wool sheep, yielding good flavored close-grained meat, furskins and soft, silky, lustrous fleece.
In 2003 the process of Laparoscopic Artificial Insemination was carried out for the first time for the Gotland sheep in the US. Interest has been quick as breeders discover the beautiful, lustrous fleece and the ease of care of a medium sized sheep.
Gotland sheep are fine-boned and of medium size. Hornless black head. Bold eyes, alert medium sized ears. Small neat muzzle with even jaw and teeth set squarely on the pad. Slender neck and shoulders set smoothly into a level back with generous length, good depth and reasonable breadth of body. Slender black legs well spaced and upright. Short hair tipped tail. Dense, long, lustrous grey fleece. Clearly defined even curl and staple, soft to the touch. Calm, friendly disposition. A bright, active and friendly sheep full of curiosity.
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