Low input, high output sheep that thrive on pasture, requiring less investment of money, time, & energy while still producing lots of lambs
Hair sheep produce very little wool, & shed the little they produce on their own each year, eliminating the need to sheer or dock
Non-seasonal estrus facilitates year-round breeding, allowing you to time lambing at the season of your choosing
Low lanolin content yields some of the best tasting lamb you can get, satisfying even the pickiest eaters
Slow hoof growth almost eliminates the need for trimming, even on the softest of soils
Horned rams are much easier to handle than their polled counterparts
Parasite resistance significantly decreases need for worming
Atypical diet is ideal for pasture improvement
for more information on this unique breed of hair sheep, visit the BBSAI website
Regal, tough, thrifty, & easy to handle. American Blackbelly rams stand apart from those of other breeds. Their self-sufficient nature decreases the need for shepherd input, and flavorful low-lanolin meat can convert even the most stubborn hold-outs to lamb-enthusiasts. When it comes to looks, you'd be hard-pressed to find a more handsome animal than a mature AB ram, and despite their wild appearance the horns make them easier to handle (as they make great handles when needed). Parasite resistance and thrift keeps these sheep thriving even with poor pasture and low shepherd input, making them a great option for new shepherds, small homesteads, or low-acreage meat operations.
Strong maternal instinct, hardiness, and non-seasonal estrus set American Blackbelly ewes apart from other breeds. Non-seasonal estrus gives you the ability to time lambing and weaning with seasonal market demand, while their hardiness allows you to worry less about harsh weather or supplementation during gestation, lambing, and lactation. Typically producing twins and occasionally triplets, AB ewes rarely require assistance with lambing and in our experience do extremely well rearing their own (we have yet to bottle feed an AB lamb on our farm). Despite their wild reputation, we've found AB ewes (and rams) remarkably docile and easy to work with once they get used to their shepherd.
While we strive to produce American Blackbelly sheep that excel in all of the inherent traits mentioned above, we've learned over the years that focusing on 1 or 2 goals per breeding cycle is more productive. When we started with American Blackbelly, we were enamored with their uniquely exotic appearance, and our breeding efforts were focused on "perfecting" these aesthetics. We even contributed to a project that revised the official BBSAI breed standards, focusing largely on aesthetics and conformation. While we certainly haven't perfected those traits in our sheep, we've now shifted our focus to the more functional goals of parasite resistance and carcass size. When you buy BBSAI registrable sheep from us, we strive to provide animals that rank among the top in parasite resistance, carcass size, conformation, and aestetics. While we do often sell unregistrable sheep, some of which are considered "culls" because they don't meet our registration standards, they are often times superb sheep that simply came out of unregistered dams and are thus unregistrable. Keep in mind though: just because a sheep doesn't meet aesthetic criteria for BBSAI registration, doesn't mean it isn't an extremely functional, parasite resistant, and productive sheep. On the flip side, occasionally we have lambs that technically meet the BBSAI criteria for registration, but don't satisfy our personal criteria. We try to be picky when it comes to registering our stock, as once they're in the BBSAI registry book that sheep is associated with our breeding program forever.
American Blackbelly excel as a multi-functional breed. Whether your looking for breeding stock, meat sheep, lawn mowers, livestock companions, pasture managers, trial dog stock, show sheep, or functional pasture ornaments... we're confident that we can compete with any other American Blackbelly breeder in the country when it comes to meeting your needs. Don't hesitate, reach out to us today to see if we can help you find the right sheep for your flock!
In 2022 the BBSAI updated the American Blackbelly Breed Standards. These guidelines detail the conformation, pattern, and function that sheep must meet to be registered as a BBSAI certified American Blackbelly. We strive to meet or exceed these standards in every regard, and while we can't claim perfection we try to get a little bit closer with every lambing! Follow the link below for access to the full BBSAI AB Breed Standards guide.
We currently have a wait list to buy sheep, with an average waiting time of 1-2 years for registered ewes. Please don't let that timeframe discourage you from adding your name though, as occasionally folks drop off the list or timing just isn't right and they rain-check to the next lambing. Sometimes we make it to the bottom of the list much quicker than expected. At the very least we can try to connect you with another breeder if our wait time is longer than you're willing to wait. Whatever your situation is, if you're interested in purchasing American Blackbelly sheep let us know and we are more than happy to help you find the right sheep for your flock!
Pricing fluctuates with the market, but right now we are selling registerable weaned ewe lambs for $300 each and registerable weaned ram lambs for $200 each. For lambs that do not meet BBSAI registration criteria, we typically knock $50-$100 off the asking price, depending on what factors preclude their registerablitliy. Occasionally we have unregistrable lambs that we feel are worth just as much, or more, as our registerable lambs... and their sale price will reflect that judgement. We try to be transparent when it comes to determining a price point, and our rationale is always up for discussion... so if something doesn't sound right, please ask.
We don't sell bottle babies, though that could certainly change in the future if we ever have a ewe that doesn't make it through child birth or rejects a lamb (there's a first time for everything).
Occasionally we sell older ewes and rams, and the price on those depends on age, conformation, registration status, and past performance. Quality adults may sell for anywhere from $700-$2100, while cull sheep may go for as low as $100.
Lambs are typically ready to leave the farm after weaning at around 3-4 months old. We prefer pickup on the farm, but occasionally can squeeze a delivery into our schedule. Delivery fee is depends on current fuel prices and how busy we are (typically $5 per loaded mile).
We love talking sheep, and are always more than happy to answer questions or discuss management strategies. No matter what your experience level, we'd love to hear from you!
Grateful Akers Farm & Apiary
5480 County Highway 24, Springville, AL 35146
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