By Carol Mowdy Bond
There’s a new rancher in Canadian County, and she’s going full steam ahead with her Lucky Ewe Sheep Farm and a new breed of sheep. Owner Kim Steagall purchased a herd of Katahdin sheep back in May. At the moment, she’s leasing land for her herd in the southern part of the county. But she’s already hatching plans.
Steagall specifically chose the Katahdin sheep breed.
“I chose this breed because they are super hardy. They’re very fertile, and low maintenance. They don’t have wool. They’re called ‘hair sheep,’ and they shed their hair in the spring so you don’t have to sheer them. They grow it back in the fall. They’re meat sheep,” Steagall said.
A breed of domestic sheep developed in Maine, Katahdin sheep are named after the highest peak in Maine, which is Mount Katahdin. The breed was developed during the latter half of the 20th century, and is a cross between selected St. Croix sheep from the Virgin Islands and various other breeds, including the Suffolk breed. Ewes normally weigh between 120 and 160 pounds, and rams weigh in at 180 to 250 pounds. Katahdins shed their winter coats, and their hair may be any color. They are resistant to parasites. And it’s not unusual for ewes to give birth to twins. The breed is just starting to make its way into the Sooner State.
A native Oklahoman, Steagall started by purchasing a border collie pup. She said the pup, Riley, needed a herd so he would have something to do. So she took Riley to weekly herding classes for a year. “Riley and I learned about sheep together. And I have friends who have been teaching me about sheep,” Steagall said. Now three years old, Riley is already a veteran sheep herder.
“I just got hooked on the sheep herding stuff, and Riley loves it, and I love to watch Riley,” Steagall said. “I enjoy having some kind of team work to do with Riley. He helps me with the sheep. I love having a job to do with my dog. I just like having livestock and being able to be successful when they have their babies, and they survive, and they thrive, so I know I did something right.”
Steagall, a dental assistant, said, “I live in a neighborhood. And I went door to door, asking people if they would lease their land for sheep. After knocking on about a dozen doors, I found someone who leased me about 4 acres. I’m an aspiring full-time sheep rancher. I’m out here seven days a week, at least twice a day, with my sheep.”
Steagall has 11 ewes and one ram. “A couple of weeks before the October ice storm, I had three lambs born,” said Steagall. “Then, less than a week before the storm, I had a set of twins born. They all made it through the storm.”
With her eye set on being a breeder who sells her sheep, Steagall said, “My goal is to have a registered herd.”
“I’m not from a farming family,” Steagall said. “But there’s a sheep rancher deep inside me, and it’s coming out.”
You can connect with Kim Steagall through her Lucky Ewe Sheep Farm Facebook page, or through Facebook Messenger.