Tunis: ALBC Status: “Watch”
Ark of Taste
The name Tunis describes this American breed’s connections to foundation stock from Tunisia in North Africa. North African sheep, variously described as “fat tailed,” “broad tailed,” and “Barbary” sheep, were imported to the United States as a gift by the Bey of Tunis to George Washington in the late 1700s.
Tunis are striking in appearance, with red faces and legs and ivory colored fleeces. Their clean heads and lop ears are distinctive, and the breed gives the impression of activity and intelligence. The sheep weigh 150–275 pounds and both sexes are polled. Lambs are born with a double coat of red fiber on their bodies to protect them from the elements. They gain a lighter fleece with maturity, but retain red legs, heads, and ears.
The Tunis is a very docile dual purpose breed that has been selected primarily for meat production. Market lambs are economical to raise and produce high quality carcasses with excellent meat to bone ratios. The fleece is medium-grade wool which turns white during processing. Fleeces weigh seven to twelve pounds and have a staple length of three to five inches. Ewes are prolific, fertile, and consistently produce twins. They are heavy milkers and make attentive mothers. Tunis sheep are good grazers and easy keepers, allowing them to thrive in forage based production systems.
For more info: http://www.tunissheep.org/
Black Welsh Mountain: ALBC Status: “Recovering”
Black Welsh Mountain Sheep are a small dual purpose breed that provides excellent mild mutton and a completely black, dense, durable fleece. Mature ewes average 100 lbs while mature rams can range from 132-143 pounds. There is no restriction on breed height but most purebred animals are relatively short, typically measuring between 20-30 inches at the shoulders. The ewes are polled and the rams have an impressive set of horns. The tails must be kept long and undocked in purebred animals.
The fleece is a dark black or sunbleached to reddish black called cuchddu. Black Welsh produces a superior meat retaining a mild flavor even in the older mutton. The yields are good with a favorable retail cuts to live weight ratio. They are particularly noted for their ability to produce high quality wool and meat on a forage based system with little or no grain inputs.
For more info: http://www.blackwelsh.org/