** We SOLD THE FARM ** as of June 2016 - we no longer have animals for sale -- this web site is here for information ONLY ..
We feel that we DID something great by raising this breed; though not a native of Nebraska these sheep did well here. But due to many changes in our lives we have sold them all and shipped them to a variety of states. Kansas, Colorado, Montana, Iowa and Vermont.
We loved the blues, reds, golds and dark amber colors of wool that they offer. Navajo Churro's are considered by some to be a hair sheep with long stands of hair like fiber mixed in to the wool.
For many years we cherished this breed and we are proud to have been blessed to learn so much about them. "The Navajo Churro sheep are not hair sheep. They have a double coated fleece expressing all 3 fibers any sheep (ovis aries) is capable of expressing.
Navajo churro fleece should be comprised of at least 80% wool (inner coat), with 10-20% of the more hair-like outer coat and less than 5% kemp. The fleece should have a high luster with no crimp.
Every sheep has hair, but very few fall into the classification "hair sheep"." end quote.
Navajo Churros do not shed like a Katahdin, Dorpers and St Crouix so they must be sheared once or twice a year depending on your area and use of the wool.
The Navajo Churro wool is perfect for rugs, heavy outer wear and horse blankets. The wool is also very fun to work with for craft projects such as felting, dryer balls, wool soaps and so much more.
We invite you to get creative and see what you can make from a complete fleece or maybe just a hand full of each color.
Please note that we no longer have a flock - if you are interested in fleece from our sheep, please send me a note that includes what state you are from and I can send you an e-mail to the nearest breeder.
These very proud sheep are a joy to study but unlike most breeds, they are very independent and strong willed and not easy to out smart. Seemingly more intelligent then their down bred distant domesticated cousins that we all see in at the sale barn. Navajo-Churro sheep can survive with or without us in their minds. But that is one of the amazing things about the breed and we love it!
Become a part of the Navajo Churro Sheep Project by starting a flock of your own or get involved with a farm that is doing what they can to restore this Heritage Breed.
We look forward to sharing our hands on knowledge with you and we are so thankful to have the opportunity to place our acreage on the list of those who are working towards preserving this historic breed .
Bred to be in the hot dry climate of the Southwest, they are also designed to endure extreme cold, like what we experience here in Nebraska. Our Navajo Sheep LOVE the winters here, super thick and heavy wool creates a barrier agains the elements and also seerves as a great insolation making them the perfect beast to set out in a snow storm, much like the Highalnd cattle.
I was recently introduced to a web site that has really captivated me. I have searched to option and have always wanted to know what about the traditional side of the use of this breed. So many sites simply talk about the past and now I can see what the future of my flock can be with a bit of hard work, practice, study and determination. I want to make the Navajo Churro Sheep and and the many ways to use the products that this breed can offer a central focus here in Nebraska.
The Navajo Lifeway site is wonderful. There are shows, arts fests, gatherings, and more already planned for the coming year. I wish we could attend all or at least some of the events that are listed. Can you feel the stories and the spirits; I know to close my eyes and work with skilled hands at one of these gatherings would be totally amazing.
If you would like to be placed on a to list for Pure bred or Cross bred lambs in the 2014 season; please send your e-mail address via the "Contact Us" option on this site. I will share with you the e-mails to the buyers who now own our flock.
Don't miss out on owning, raising and tasting the difference that this breed can bring to the table and to your breeding program!
Taste tests between Hair sheep breeds (Katahdin, Dorpers, Navajo for example) and wool breeds (such as Suffolk, Club, Baby Dolls) prove that the Hair sheep meat is milder and more favorable flavor and better textured then the wool breeds, due to the lack of lanolin (or wool wax) in the hide.
Lanolin or wool wax is great for fiber but not flavor, it tends to penetrate the hide and into the meat and that is one of the reason for the not so pleasant taste of commercial lamb found on the market. Making the commercial lamb an "acquired taste". It is unfair that you would have to acquire a taste for something when there is a proven option available to anyone.
Optimum age for butcher is 6 to 8 months of age; I am confident that you will agree with me and the researchers. The meat from a Hair Breed is unmatched!
An Endangered Breed
"As early as 1789, the Spanish controlled the export of ewes from the provinces of New Mexico to maintain breeding stock. But in the 1850's thousands of Churro were trailed west to supply the California Gold Rush. Most of the remaining Churro of the Hispanic ranches were crossed with fine wool rams to supply the demand of garment wool caused by the increased population and the Civil War. Concurrently, in 1863, the U.S. Army decimated the Navajo flocks in retribution for continued Indian depredations. In the 1900's further "improvements" and stock reductions were imposed by U.S. agencies upon the Navajo flocks. True survivors were to be found only in isolated villages in Northern New Mexico and in remote canyons of the Navajo Indian Reservation.
Another view comes from the Everything-Navajo web page:
http://www.everything-navajo.com/navajo-churro-sheep.html which reads
Quote" A Bit Of History
The Spanish introduced the churro sheep back in the 16th century. Don Juan Onate is credited with being the first to bring the sheep to New Spain. Initially, the churro sheep fed and clothed the armies of the Spanish.
Because the Navajo and the Spanish were neighbors it was almost natural for the Navajo to come into possession of the sheep. They acquired sheep through trading and also through raids on the outer Spanish settlements.
As the Navajo got more sheep, the quicker they became a part of everyday life. The Navajo churro sheep also became a major economic asset. They allowed the Navajo to produce clothing, blankets, and rugs which could be traded for other goods.
In 1865, the Navajo were forced on ‘The Long Walk’ to an internment camp in Bosque Redondo, NM. During this 300 mile walk and also during the three year imprisonment, many of the sheep died. The conditions were just too poor to maintain the large herds that had been established.
After the Navajo returned home from Bosque Redondo the herds grew again – to well over 500,000 sheep. Then, in the 1930’s the Southwest was hit with a serious drought. To preserve the water supply, the U.S. Government began ‘population reductions’ on sheep and other livestock.
The livestock reductions resulted in the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of sheep. This ultimately led to the near extinction of the species in America. " end quote.Now back to the Navajo Churro Assoc information:
Restorations of the Breed
In the 1970's several individuals began acquiring Churro phenotypes with the purpose of preserving the breed and revitalizing Navajo and Hispanic flocks. Criteria for the breed had been established from data collected for three decades by the Southwestern Range and Sheep Breeding Laboratory at Fort Wingate, New Mexico. Several flocks have developed, and the Navajo Sheep Project has introduced cooperative breeding programs in some Navajo and Hispanic flocks."
The above information was taken from the Navajo Churro Associations website:
As a descendant of the first domestic breed of sheep introduced to what we know now as the Origin : According to the association Navajo Churro sheep are descended from the Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. Although secondary to the Merino, the Churra (later corrupted to "Churro" by American frontiersmen) was prized by the Spanish for its remarkable hardiness, adaptability and fecundity. The Churra was the very first breed of domesticated sheep in the History By the 17th century the Churro had become the mainstay of Spanish ranches and villages along the upper As early as 1789, the Spanish controlled the export of ewes from the provinces of Restorations of the Breed In the 1970's several individuals began acquiring Churro phenotypes with the purpose of preserving the breed and revitalizing Navajo and Hispanic flocks. Criteria for the breed had been established from data collected for three decades (1936 - 1966) by the (Taken from
Origin : According to the association
Navajo Churro sheep are descended from the Churra, an ancient Iberian breed. Although secondary to the Merino, the Churra (later corrupted to "Churro" by American frontiersmen) was prized by the Spanish for its remarkable hardiness, adaptability and fecundity. The Churra was the very first breed of domesticated sheep in the
By the 17th century the Churro had become the mainstay of Spanish ranches and villages along the upper
As early as 1789, the Spanish controlled the export of ewes from the provinces of
Restorations of the Breed
In the 1970's several individuals began acquiring Churro phenotypes with the purpose of preserving the breed and revitalizing Navajo and Hispanic flocks. Criteria for the breed had been established from data collected for three decades (1936 - 1966) by the
Do Navajo Sheep Shed their wool?
The answer to this is NO. The breed falls under the hair breed category but that does not mean that they shed like the Katahdin. A hair breed is called that because of the hair like fibers mixed into the wool. Your Navajo sheep need to be sheared and in most regions it is recommended twice a year.
What makes them different from other sheep breeds? This ancient and resilient breed is known for being disease resistant, weather tolerant and parasite free in the majority of the
What would I gain from adding one to my herd? The history behind adding Navajo Churro blood in your breeding program you can anticipate an increase in the the strength and growth of your lambs, a better yield of milk and meat, milder tasting and you will not compromise the quality of your current wool production.
Do they eat anything different then market sheep?
Connie Taylor with the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association says they're a small animal, which means you can have more of them per acre and they eat less. "I feed my sheep little to no grain,"
Do they do anything special? The Navajo breed is inelegant. They flock like a normal sheep flock , they are crafty and resourceful when necessary. Most breeds are bred down in order to target a specific trait – either wool or meat. Navajo’s are close enough to wild to be crafty in their daily lives, protective of there flock and young and not as easy to tame as most domesticated breeds but once they accept you as a regular in the flock they will follow your every move.
What do you do with them? Aside from producing a very mild meat, unlike any other sheep in the industry; Navajo Churro sheep are in the Hair Sheep family with wool primarily suited for use in rugs and horse blankets. Some home spinners have been able to blend this heavy wool with softer llama and alpaca wools to create a very durable yet soft tread for knitting a wide variety of products.
The Navajo Indians also used the Navajo Churro sheep for dairy production; so far I have not found a site yet that is producing Navajo Churro Sheep cheese, yogurt of soap products; it is an area that I would like to try to move into since the udders of the Navajo ewes can be very large and support as many as 4 lambs at one time.
What kind of wool do they produce? According to Connie Taylor with the Navajo Churro Association, the centuries-old Navajo-Churro are known for wool. They have a long, grease-less protective top coat and a soft undercoat. The sheep are tones in 14 colors, from white through every hue of brown, black, blue and gray. The wool is used primarily for weaving outer garments, rugs and blankets. Lamb fleece wool makes terrific socks and sweaters.
The high yielding wool is very low grease content. The wool is composed of 3 fibers. The fleece is open with no defined crimp. The inner coat measures 3-5” and the outer coat 6-12” in length. The wool of the Navajo Churro is sought after by traditional rug and blanket weavers.
Are they as tough as they say? Yes.
How big do they get? They should be considered a medium size breed; Mature Ewes seem to average 85 to 120 lbs --- approx 30 to 40 inches to the wither. Mature Rams average 120 to 175 lbs --- approximately 35 to 45 inches to the wither.
What are the breed Standards: You will need to look to the association for breed standards as they are not a common sheep shown in 4-H or local shows in any numbers to my knowledge: http://www.navajo-churrosheep.com/sheep-standards.html
You can find more information at: http://www.bideaweefarm.com/ChurroInfo.htm