California Red Sheep Characteristics, Uses & Origin

The California Red sheep is a dual-purpose breed of domestic sheep which was developed in the United States in the 1970s. Dr. Glenn Spurlock of Davis, California crossed Tunis sheep and Barbados Blackbelly sheep for developing this breed in the early 1970s.

His aim was to develop a large, wool-free sheep breed. But he didn’t accomplish that goat, and his Tunis-Barbados sheep were attractive and excellent meat producing animals.

Today there are more than 60 breeders of the California Red sheep, and all of whose sheep are descendants of Spurlock’s original flock. Read some more information about this sheep breed below.

California Red Sheep Characteristics

The California Red sheep are medium-sized animals. The lambs are generally reddish-brown in color when they are born, but the color fades to oatmeal or beige as they grow.

Their wool is of high quality and is silky in texture. Their face and legs are reddish-brown in color and free of wool.

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Both rams and ewes are generally polled, that means they have no horns. The ears of the California Red sheep are pendulous and the rams sometimes have a slight mane.

Average live body weight of the mature California Red ewes is around 50 to 64 kg. And average live body weight of the mature rams vary from 91 and 113 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.

Uses

These sheep are dual-purpose animals. They are raised for both meat and wool production.

Special Notes

The California Red sheep are relatively calm and easy-going sheep. They are very responsive to gentle handling.

They are non-seasonal and can be bred for 3 lamb crops in 2 years. Today the breed is raised for both meat and wool production.

Their meat is of very good quality. And the wool is also of high quality and is silky in texture with a Bradford count of 50 to 60 and a staple length of 3 to 6 inches.

The wool is very popular among the hand spinners and weavers. However, review full breed profile of this in the following chart.

Breed NameCalifornia Red
Other NamesNone
Breed PurposeMeat and wool
Special NotesHardy and strong animals, well adapted to their native climates, relatively calm, easy-going, very responsive to gentle handling, good for both quality meat and wool production
Breed SizeMedium
WeightMature rams body weight is between 91 and 113 kg, and average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 50 to 64 kg
HornsNo
Climate ToleranceNative climates
ColorMany
RarityCommon
Country/Place of OriginUnited States

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