The sheep flock is housed on the 40 acre Sheep Research Facility located at the southeast corner of the St. Croix campus of UVI. The research flock consists of approximately 100 breeding ewes, 20-25 rams, and depending on the time of year, there may be as many as 90 lambs present. The breeds of sheep in the flock are St. Croix White and Dorper x St. Croix White hair sheep. Each breed is managed as a purebred flock with breeding lines within each breed. Replacement animals are selected based on their birth status (i.e., twins), weaning weight, breed characteristics and conformation (selection criteria). Due to the lack of a major change in length of daylight throughout the year on St. Croix the sheep are able to breed at all times of the year (lambing/breeding cycle). The flocks are managed in an accelerated lambing system on 8 month cycles to produce 3 lamb crops every 2 years. Ewes graze pastures at all times and are managed in a rotational system. Forages consist primarily of guineagrass (Panicum maximum) and luecana, aka tan-tan, (Lucaena leucocephala) with some hurricane grass (Bothriochloa pertusa).

Lambs are dewormed and vaccinated at 7 and 11 weeks of age, and then dewormed as needed. Ewes are dewormed twice during lactation. Rams are dewormed twice a year, or as needed. Breeding takes place in a 35-d season using single sires at ram:ewe ratio of up to 1:20. Ewes lamb unassisted on pasture, and lambs are weighed ad tagged at birth.

Newborn lamb   Breeding group

Lambing and breeding cycle