Because of our management techniques, our sheep are friendly, independent, and people oriented. We go on walks with our whole flock in the spring and fall to extend grazing time and know each sheep by name. We provide run-in style shelters so our animals have constant access to pasture, which makes for very content sheep. Even our adult sheep can be seen running, jumping, and playing year-round in their field.
We make sure that our sheep have access to pasture, water, and minerals at all times and they do the rest. Navajo-Churro are extremely hardy and do not need a lot of coddling. They do well on marginal land and are not prone to parasites or foot rot. We regularly trim hooves, check for good body condition, and monitor parasite load. We strive to raise our flock in as organic and natural way as possible, deworming and vaccinating only when we feel it is necessary.
Heritage breeds of all species have been kept for centuries because they are hardy and well adapted to small farm production. They have not been bred for one specific trait like so many of today’s production animals and so can fill many niches on a farm while thriving on non-factory-farm management conditions – like pasture! They also help to sustain the genetic diversity of a species. Navajo-Churros are part of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as well as Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste.
Navajo-Churro sheep are a desirable breed, having many distinguishing advantages. Practically speaking, they are extremely hardy, browse as well as graze, lamb on range with very few problems, and are considered a tri-purpose breed (able to produce wool, meat, and dairy). They are one of few North American sheep breeds as well as America’s first domestic sheep and have a rich cultural history, having been bred, raised, and developed by the Diné (Navajo), Pueblo, and Hispanic communities in the southwest U.S. for centuries. This breed of sheep has been the focus of a revitalization movement that became necessary after the U.S. government systematically slaughtered the Navajo’s flocks, first in the 1860’s as an attack on the Navajo people and culture and again in the 1930’s as an attempt to control erosion. While the breed has rebounded, it is still considered a Rare Breed. This breed is an integral part of Navajo culture and way of life and is mostly raised in the Southwest; however its many desirable traits have led to a small number of flocks being kept in the Eastern U.S. also. Today’s local and slow food movements, as well as excitement over heritage breeds, have created enthusiasm for Navajo-Churro sheep as well as other North American heritage breeds such as Hog Island, Jacob, and Karakul.