Meet the Herd
A triple-purpose breed, known for its lightly-flavored gourmet meat, soft and sturdy dual-coated fleeces, and milk perfect for cheesemaking, the Icelandic sheep is a heritage breed well-suited to the rugged climate of the Snowbelt Region of Lake Superior. Finishing at just under 100 pounds, and fully growing to 140-200 pounds, the Icelandic sheep thrives on natural grasses and browse, making it an ideal addition to a homestead or farm as a production animal.
Our Breeding Philosophy
As the homesteading lifestyle grows in popularity, so does the availability of heritage breeds of animals such as Icelandic sheep, Berkshire hogs, and Dexter cattle. This is exciting news for the smallholder who is looking to be more self-reliant because it indicates more opportunity. But it also means that there is less care taken in the market to make sure that animals meet breed standards and expectations, and this can be a disappointment.
At Whitney Creek Farm, we are quite unwilling to sell as breeding stock all that we produce. We understand that an exemplary animal possesses several characteristics:
physical correctness and conformation to breed standards
an ability to thrive in the less-than-ideal living conditions of the rugged Upper Peninsula
a calm, gentle disposition and/or appropriate mothering instincts.
We Like Them Strong
Sheep that have to be kept in heated barns to lamb or confined to dry lots and regularly wormed to avoid exposure to parasites are for commercial producers. Sheep that are over-protected and indulged are for pet owners.
We remember our homesteading roots, and we strive to raise animals that are able to thrive with as little of our help as possible. This doesn't mean they are neglected; it means that they are strong. This describes the ewe which consistently births and raises healthy offspring, most commonly twins, on a diet of hay, pasture, and free-choice minerals. It's the ewe that maintains good health, regardless of the stresses placed upon her due to lambing or the weather. It's the lamb that grows quickly, even in a dry year when the pasture is doing poorly. It's the lamb that never finds itself in trouble because its momma is always looking after it, and it stays with the flock. It's the sheep that needs minimal hoof trimming and even less worming. It's the ram that grows fabulous wool and remains healthy, year after year, needing almost no maintenance.