True Barbados Blackbelly sheep though are now recovering have had a bumpy road. This is a Caribbean breed of sheep developed on the Island of Barbados. These sheep are hair sheep (used for meat not wool) and an excellent choice for warm climate farmers. These island sheep are know for producing a delicious mild flavored lamb. While meat from many breeds of sheep is said to become very strong and over powering as it ages Blackbelly Barbados sheep is said to have such a delicious mild flavor that you can butcher a seasoned ewe and be pleased with the results. Even people who don't like lamb usually like blackbelly lamb! These sheep are very small with average ewe weight not usually totaling over 100 lbs. Their much smaller frame has caused many farmers to cross breed these sheep with other domestic breeds of sheep to create other breeds much like its close relative the American Blackbelly sheep.
What's the difference between Barbados Blackbelly and American Blackbelly sheep you ask? True Barbados Blackbelly sheep though very similar to their American counter part foremost do NOT have horns. Both ewes and rams in the Barbados Blackbelly breed are naturally polled! American Blackbelly rams HAVE horns. American Blackbellies are derived from the Barbados. In an effort to create large sheep and prized game sheep, farmers bred the Barbados with feral horned sheep and created crosses that give the American Blackbelly their large curved horns today. These sheep were used for game hunts for many years. Throughout this time the true Barbados Blackbelly almost went extinct. With so little pure genetics left Dr. Lemmuel Goode of the North Carolina State University imported a small herd of true Barbados Blackbelly sheep to preserve. Together NCSU's flock and several other breeders rallied and have been working toward saving the breed ever since.
We joined the preservation effort and our journey started on a whim with the purchase of a small flock becoming one of the first breeders in Tennessee. Our sheep are of the highest quality and contain lineage traceable directly to the NCSU flock. All of our sheep are registered with the BBSAI and are true Barbados Blackbelly sheep. Our flock is small by design in order to maintain genetic quality. Our main focus is the accurate preservation of the breed so we believe in heavy culling practices to ensure the integrity of our flock. Our secondary focus is on meat production in which we strive to produce the highest quality mild flavored grass fed lamb we possibly can.
ST. ISIDORE FARM