Have You Spun Warhill Wool?
Colorado State University recently shared a story about a project in the School of Veterinary Science that is sure to make a spinner’s heart leap: a rangeland “lambulance.” For more than twenty years, professors and students have run a triage for lambs and their dams during the height of lambing season at Warren Livestock Co. in Wyoming. The medical team handles the difficult cases that inevitably arise when a flock of about 4,000 ewes deliver roughly 7,000 lambs. Students gain vital hands-on experience while supporting the historic ranch, which founded the Warhill sheep breed in the 1930s. See a video of the students at work here.
Shepherds and universities in the American west worked together to develop a number of different sheep breeds in the early twentieth century. Some breeds, such as Columbia and Targhee, are now found in healthy numbers throughout the United States. Others, like the Warhill, persist in smaller, localized flocks. The Warhill was developed by John Hill (former College of Agriculture Dean at University of Wyoming) and Fred Warren using Rambouillet, Panama, Columbia, and Targhee genetics. Warhill continues today as a conservation breed. You can see some great images of a Warhill-cross flock on the Triple M Bar Ranch’s website.
Learn more about Warhill wool in The Field Guide to Fleece: 100 Sheep Breeds and How to Use Their Fibers by Deb Robson and Carol Ekarius. Or get your hands on some yourself! It’s currently in stock at The Spinning Loft.