The Tunis is one of the oldest indiginous breeds of livestock in the United States, having been highly favored by Thomas Jefferson for their meat and wool producing capabilities. During the Civil War the breed was almost wiped out by Union troops traveling throughout the South. Thanks to a few dedicated individuals Tunis are making a comeback but still remain on The Livestock Conservancy’s “Watch” list.
Tunis lamb is tender and flavorful without a strong mutton taste and is listed on Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. The fleece is 8-12 pounds with a staple length of 3-6 inches and diameter of 24-31 microns. It is suitable for all fiber techniques, knitting, crocheting and weaving.
We currently have a flock of six ewes and a ram. They are raised on pasture only with supplemental hay in winter if needed. We check for parasites using the FAMCHA method and fecal testing, and so far we have not had to worm any of our sheep. We love the Tunis breed for their low input requirement and natural parasite resistance, plus they’re just pretty to look at with their unique red faces. Starting in 2018 we will have freezer lamb available along with (hopefully) wool products and a limited number of breeding stock available.