Gallant Farm recently acquired a starter flock of Tunis Sheep as part of a new partnership with Stratford Ecological Center. The stock that became Tunis sheep were first imported from Northern Africa during the late 18th century, with early flocks being owned by George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. The breed as it is today was one of the early breeds developed completely in the United States. Prior to the Civil War Tunis were the most common sheep in the south due to their heat tolerance. After the war a few remaining flocks were driven North and The Great Lakes Region became their stronghold. Tunis is a hardy breed that produces fine lamb and wool. The lamb from the Tunis breed is in fact recognized by the Slow Food Ark of Taste, “a list of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.”
The flock includes a ewe and her two spring lambs, one ewe and one ram. Stratford Ecological Center donated the sheep and the partnership will include the sharing of breeding rams to perpetuate and improve this breed, which is on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy watch list.