You probably wonder why the heck I would cross a pure bred with another pure bred. It’s not because we get cute babies. Or, because we have lost our minds. Crosses can serve us well when we don’t have access to all types of wool. For instance, the Dorper has Horned Dorset genetics. This means that the Dorper carries the wool gene but has been bred down to be self-shedding and for meat. When I brought home Gus and Walter, my first discovery was that I could brush their wool off and use it. Some of our Dorpers actually need to be sheared before the Summer heat kicks in. The wool genetic is ever present. By crossing the Dorper with the Leicester, we draw out the best qualities of both breeds. Now we have multi-purpose wool. Pancho has waxy locks with loads of crimp while his Sister Villia has long, lustrous locks that are multi-colored.
Our pure bred Leicesters are a pride and joy thing as well. Honeysuckle was a product of a difficult birth and born prematurely. I worried some about breeding her, but she is so dang beautiful that I couldn’t resist trying. To our excitement she brought us two handsome boys, Clegg and Compo. Both were tiny to start but have bounced back in amazing ways.
Finally, came the Luffolks. Two girls!!!! We love girls because we don’t have to factor in the issues that we get with rams. We will not cross these girls again because the idea is to enjoy the wool of the initial cross. Suffolks are not known for long staple but are by far one of the most durable wool breeds out there. They are on the finer side of the medium breeds which will soften the Leicester wool. We will most likely be blessed with two different fleeces that can serve many purposes from knit to weave to felt.