About Gotlands

Gotlands were introduced to the United States when Laproscopic AI became possible. Semen was imported from the UK and a "breeding up program" began.  Nine foundation breeds were identified for this purpose (Shetland Sheep, Icelandic Sheep, Finnsheep, Wensleydale , Lincoln, Cotswold, English Leicester, Border Leicester, and Bluefaced Leicesters). LAI rams are reviewed by an advisory committee pf the American Gotland Sheep Society (AGSS) and are accepted into the registry only if they meet AGSS breed standards.

Our flock consists of 6 females.  Four are "registered" (meaning that they are at least 75% Gotland) and two are "recorded" (at least 50% Gotland).  The ram is also registered (87.5 % Gotland) and was We picked up four Gotland ewes and a ram from Martin and Joy Dally.  Three of the ewes are Registered Gotlands (meaning that they are at least 75% Gotland breeding.  The third is a Recorded Gotland ( 50% Gotland). 

The ram is also registered (87.5%) and a winner at the First National Gotland Show in Huntingdon County New Jersey.

We are excited to have taken advantage of Martin's skills.  Ewes were "LAI's"  in early October to two different sires and then placed with a third ram for clean-up.  With luck we will end up with lambs from three different sires giving up a set of genetics that is as diverse as it can possibly be.  The two lambs that we purchased from SuDan Farms in Canby will be bred to the registered ram that we bought from Martin.  It is a very solid beginning for establishing a new breed in Canada.

 Gotlands are a unique breed with some very desirable qualities:
  • Gotlands are quiet, friendly and very inquisitive sheep. They are ideal for a small flock management system.
  • Gotlands are small sheep in relationship to most American breeds. The mature weight of Gotland rams is between 165 to 187 pounds (75-85 kg) and they are approximately 26 inches (65 cm) tall at the withers. Ewes weigh between 110 to 154 pounds (55-70 kg).
  • Gotlands are known for being very hardy and therefore are referred to as the "Gotlandic Outside Sheep."
  • They are a prolific breed and on average they produce a 180% lamb crop and are excellent mothers.
  • At birth the lambs are normally very vigorous and are up nursing within minutes of birth.
  • The lambs are born black but normally turn various shades of gray/silver as they mature.
  • Lambs reach slaughter weight at about 4-5 months of age.
Fleeces are very desirable for handspinning, felting and as "furskins" or pelts.  Martin Dally described the characteristics of Gotland fleeces as follows in an article published in Sheep online magazine.

" It is the luxurious fleece and pelt of the Gotland that sets them apart from other breeds. Gotland pelts are world-renowned for their superior quality. The pelts sell for a premium, due to their smooth silky locks and soft handle. It is the very high luster and well-defined crimp, along with the array of silver and gray shades that make the fleeces highly desirable to hand spinners, knitters and weavers.

Gotland wool ranges from 29 to 33 microns and [with respect to scoured weight] they are very high yielding.  Lamb fleeces are finer (20 microns). Gotland fleeces are similar to Wensleydale in luster but are not quite as soft.

The average Gotland fleece weighs between 5.5 and 7.5 pounds."