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Home > Upbreeding Programs


So what's an "upbreeding program"? If we can't import a particular sheep breed to the states, for whatever reason (disease, economics, etc), the way we "create" it here is to pick a breed we do have (I'll call it the "stock") that has similar characteristics to the one we want (I'll call it the "rare"), but can't import. Then we import the "rare" breed's semen from its' country of origin and inseminate a "stock" ewe. The first generation is a 50/50 of the "rare" breed and the "stock" breed. The next year, the 5050 ewes of are artifically inseminated with semen sent from the "rare" sheep's homeland, and so on and so on thru the generations until the "rare" breed's genes predominate and it the sheep can now be considered the "rare" breed. That's upbreeding.

I bought a small 75% Gotland/25% Finn fleece at the show that is part of an upbreeding program for Gotlands. The breeder told me it would be considered an American Gotland when the gene pool of Gotland is over 90%.

So if the same standards are true for the Oessants, it will be 4 or 5 more generations before the Shetland/Ouessant cross sheep will be considered American Oessant.