Finding a good sheep breed for milk production is an important decision.
If you plan on selling sheep milk, you need breeds capable of providing the necessary milk per day.
It also helps to pick a hardy breed with low maintenance but still capable of producing delicious and rich milk in large quantities.
Let’s look at the best sheep breeds for milk production.
Awassi is an excellent breed of dairy sheep.
They produce great sheep milk and are a popular choice.
They produce 400 liters of milk per lactation period which usually lasts about 150 days.
Awassi sheep have a docile and easy-going demeanor.
They are a very hardy breed with natural resistance to parasites and disease.
Rams have been known to be aggressive, especially around mating time, so it’s important to consider this.
The Awassi breed is native to Saudi Arabia.
This makes them an excellent breed of sheep for arid climates and very suitable for desert-like conditions.
Laucaune Sheep are very popular in the home country of France.
They produce about 265 liters of milk per lactation period which usually lasts about 165 days.
They produce wool naturally but also shed on their own, which takes the added maintenance of shearing out of the way.
Related: Do sheep shed their wool naturally?
Laucaune sheep are very docile and friendly in their temperament.
This makes the breed very easy to handle and keep, and they do well as barn mates with other types of farm animals and livestock.
Laucaune Sheep originated in France.
They are hardy sheep who are highly adaptable to many different climates and do well in most parts of the United States.
They have a high amount of fat globules content in their milk, making this a desirable breed of sheep.
Katahdin is one of the more popular breeds of sheep for meat production, but they also produce milk.
Those keeping Katahdin sheep for milk will enjoy a pint or quart of milk per day from each ewe.
They don’t produce as much or as high-quality milk as others, but they make a good dual-purpose breed for a small family.
While Katahdin sheep are mostly kept as meat sheep, they make excellent livestock nonetheless.
They are hardy and adaptable.
A Katahdin flock of sheep is low maintenance and does well in hot and cool climates.
The Katahdin breed of sheep originated in Maine in the United States.
The breed of sheep is named after the highest mountain in the state.
The Assaf sheep is a cross-breed between Friesian Sheep and Awassi sheep.
The two breeds were chosen for their superior milk production resulting in the Assaf.
They are prolific regarding dairy products, with an average of 460 liters per lactation cycle.
This makes them excellent for both milk and cheese production.
In addition to their excellent milk production, Assaf sheep are also active yet docile sheep.
They are also prolific breeders capable.
The mix of Awassi and Fresian sheep breeds makes them one of the best-mixed breeds for milk production.
The Assaf Sheep was originally domesticated in Israel.
They do well in warm and dry environments in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern climates.
The selective breeding used to achieve this adaptable sheep breed makes them an excellent choice.
Finnsheeps are an excellent multi-purpose breed.
They are not the most popular breeds of dairy sheep, but they produce milk well.
They are particularly known for their high incidence of multiple births.
This means it’s not uncommon for Finnsheep to give birth to twins or triplets.
The Finnsheep breed is known to be calm, docile, and alert.
This gives them an advantage in areas where there are predators.
Another name for Finnsheep is the Finnish Landrace.
They are domesticated sheep from Finland.
They are one of the many short-tailed sheep breeds from Northern Europe.
British Milk Sheep
As the name indicates, the British Milk Sheep is an excellent source of dairy production breeds.
They make excellent dual-purpose milk and meat breeds but are primarily kept for milking.
British Milk Sheep is a robust and active breed.
This often leads to rams getting a little aggressive around breeding season.
The breed of British Milk Sheep dates back to the 1970s when they were domesticated in England.
Lawrence Alderson is credited with the development of this breed of dairy sheep.
Icelandic Sheep are kept as a primary source of wool and fiber.
Other than wool, they are commonly kept for meat production.
They also produce a significant amount of milk per lactation period.
The quality isn’t particularly impressive, and milk from Icelandic Sheep has been referred to as the “poor man’s milk” in Iceland for nearly 1,000 years.
While most sheep are docile and calm, Icelandic Sheep do not fall under the relaxed category.
They are jumpy, active, and quick on their feet.
They are also very independent.
As the name suggests, this breed of sheep was domesticated in Iceland.
This makes them a hardy breed capable of withstanding cold temperatures and harsh climates.
Their thick wool keeps them warm in winters but does not make them excellent choices for very hot temperatures.
The East Friesian breed of sheep is one of the most prolific milk producers available.
The sheep produce 500-600 liters of milk per lactation period.
Their lactation lasts 200-300 days, providing a consistent and prolific milk supply for their keepers.
East Friesian sheep are docile but require a good bit of attention.
They are strong sheep and do well in most climates but better in cold temperatures.
This is attributed to their thick and bountiful wool.
East Friesian sheep are from Holland and Germany.
They were selectively bred for their milk production, which explains their high-quality milk and the mass amounts this breed produces.
Rideau Arcott Sheep
The Rideau Arcott sheep breed is known for excellent milk production and breeding abilities.
They will lamb every 8 months, which makes them excellent for those looking to build a large flock of sheep.
Despite their frequent and easy breeding, the Rideau Arcott breed of sheep is generally docile and calm.
This makes them easy to handle for keepers and a joy to have on the farm.
The Rideau Arcott Sheep is native to Canada.
It is one of the few native breeds of livestock in the country.
Due to where it originates from, the breed does best in colder climates.