Targhee – Year of the Sheep

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History

This story begins nearly a century ago, with researchers at
the Experimental Sheep Station in Dubois, Idaho who had a vision for the ideal
sheep and its wool.  This sheep would
combine the most desirable wool qualities of softness and strength with a sheep
that could survive and thrive in the Western United States range lands. Earlier
attempts to product such a sheep resulted in the Columbia, but it was felt that
a sheep with even finer wool could be produced. So the station started with a
foundation stock of Rambouillet, Lincoln, and Corriedale crossbred ewes that
were bred back to Rambouillet Rams. The sheep were named after the National
Forest in Idaho where the first flocks roamed freely every summer. Targhee were
developed under range conditions with strict selection based on production
performance.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Targhee
are a large sheep, bred to survive the open range. They are hornless with white
faces, white wool and heavy fleeces. They are great mothers and have a high
percentage of twins. Ashland Bay’s Targhee wool has been
purchased from ranches in Western US ensuring that the wool is breed specific
and helping sustain a market for these American wool producers.This is truly a
100% product of the US, from the development of the breed to the rearing,
shearing, and the processing of the wool top.

Fleece Facts

Targhee produce a
heavy, high quality wool fleece. The average fleece size ranges between 10 -22
lbs with  and average yeild of 45-55%.
The average  wool micron count is between
22-25 microns, giving this wool a wonderful next to skin softness and comfort. The
average staple length is between 3-5 inches. It has good white color and takes
dye well. The selective breeding for the wool quality has been focused on
staple strength and not compromise the micron count,  so the wool has excellent elasticity and a
silky feel. The fabric is lively, supple, elegant and strong enough to hold up
to everyday wear.

Originally, Targhee
were raised in Montana, South Dakota and Wyoming. Now due to the increased
popularity of the breed  Targhee sheep
are found  in 38 states and Canada. Ashland
Bay’s Targhee Wool Top
will be on sale from September 14 –
September 28. To download the Targhee Sheep card, click here.