Mark Loffhagen shears a Romeldale CVM ewe
Courtesy of Michael Bowie
BLACK PINES SHEEP
Black Pines is situated in Weld County in Northern
Colorado, where the Great Plains meet the majestic Rockies. With
a strong agricultural background, Weld County has more livestock
than any county in the USA. The ranch, now consisting of 80 acres,
began as a registered Black Angus and Quarter Horse ranch in 1962.
For the past 23 years, it has been run as the
ultimate handspinning flock, consisting of 90 head of ewes, recently
scaled down from 150 with 8 different breeds, ranging from the finest
(Merino & Rambouillet) to the coarsest (Karakul). Being a very labor-intensive
business, the operation has been tailored over the years to minimize
time and physical labor.
Marie Schmidt picking up fleeces
Courtesy of Michael Bowie
Being very particular, Roy has done most of our
shearing until two years ago. Now, World Champion Kiwi shearers
have taken over this strenuous task. Roy still likes to keep in
practice. Our wide range of fleece types with different growth rates,
means four to five shearing days a year. There are always fresh
As the results of Father Time and our Wensleydale
and Teeswater upgrade program, Black Pines is in a transition period.
As well as scaling down the flock size, the plan is to reduce our
existing eight breeds to five. The ewes from the other three breeds
will be retained for fleece, but will no longer be bred for purebred
Years of careful crossbreeding experiments have
produced a variety of premium fleeces in some unusual colors, one
of which is a "moorit" longwool type fleece.
87% Wensleydale ram lamb
Black Pines has always set high standards for
its sheep and wool by maintaining these goals:
- To raise the finest
examples of each of its breeds with uniform fleece, size, conformation,
prolificy, lambing ease, and mothering ability for each breed
given top priority.
- To produce the cleanest, best skirted
and most unique fleeces possible. (To help meet this goal all
of the sheep, except the Karakuls, have worn covers from shearing
- Complete customer satisfaction.
Today our emphasis is centered on our upgrading
program of the Wensleydale and Teeswater sheep, which is entering
its seventh year. The program has had its triumphs and heartbreaks,
but this year we saw our first 87% Wensleydale lambs on the ground
and find ourselves more enthusiastic than ever. They are everything
we had hoped for and are producing vigorous growth lambs with lustrous
curly fleece. The opportunity to raise these magnificent sheep is
the culmination of a twenty-year dream.
Romeldale/CVM ewe lambs
Raising strong healthy lambs and producing premium
quality fleeces requires a healthy flock. Black Pines has been enrolled
in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program, since 1997,
which meant closing the flock. Random tests for OPP have been run
over the years with no positive results to date. All lambs are vaccinated
at birth for soremouth (a must if you show) and the flock is foot
rot and pinkeye free. Parasite control is given high priority.
Since 1983, Black Pines has maintained a show
string of from one to three different breeds and exhibited both
sheep and fleeces at 8 to 10 shows a year, ranging from coast to
coast. Show results have been very positive, as sales of both fleece
and sheep will attest. Visitors are always welcome at Black Pines.
Please check ahead of arrival.
Look for us each year at the Estes
Park Wool Market and the Wool
Festival at Taos, as well as the Black