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Barbados Blackbelly Sheep History

History of Barbados  Blackbelly Sheep The    history    of    the    Barbados    Blackbelly    Sheep    can    be considered   vague   at   best.   The   American   history   of   the Barbados   Blackbelly   Sheep   is   a   complicated   compilation   of stories,   crossbreeding   and   valiant   efforts   to   resurrect   the original island sheep. In   researching   this   breed,   there   are   many   articles   stating that   the   Barbados   Blackbelly   Sheep   is   indigenous   to   the island   of   Barbados   in   the   Caribbean.   However,   there   are just   as   many   articles   stating   that   they   were   brought   to   the island   from   West   Africa.   Obviously,   they   can’t   be   indigenous   and   brought   in   from   West   Africa;   so   for the   sake   of   argument,   let’s   just   say   Barbados   Blackbelly   Sheep   have   become   a   National   Treasure that has been and is carefully cultivated and closely monitored on the island of Barbados. On   to   America,   where   the   one   fact   that   seems   to   be   agreed   upon   by   most.   is   that   the   initial importation   of   Barbados   Blackbelly   Sheep   occurred   in   1904   to   the   USDA   Research   Center   in Beltsville,   MD.   Beyond   that   information,   the   distribution   and   utilization   of   the   imported   bloodlines   is limited   and   incomplete.   It   becomes   obvious   that   the   progeny   of   these   sheep   were   quickly   scattered across the U.S. with no, or at least minimal, recordkeeping by the government. It   is   abundantly   clear,   from   numerous   sources,   that   the   deep   red   and true   black   coloration   of   this   breed   attracted   hunting   enthusiasts   who lamented   the   fact   that   the   rams   did   not   possess   the   trophy   horns   they coveted.   This   brought   about   crossbreeding   with   Mouflon,   Corsican   and Rambouillet   to   fill   the   demand.   Ultimately   creating   a   new   horned   version of   the    Barbados   Blackbelly   which   would   turn   into   what   is   known   today as the American Blackbelly. Information   on   the   polled   animals   is   limited   to   short   references   to   small or   family   farm   operations.   Many   of   these   small   flocks   were   maintained as   training   tools   for   herding   dogs   and   exhibited   nervousness   and   flight responses   when   handled.   For   many   years   the   breed   has   suffered   from   a reputation   of   being   difficult   to   handle.   The   creation   of   a   registry   in   1996 and   the   splitting   of   the   "Barbado"   (a   name   commonly   used   prior   to   the   establishment   of   the Registry)   into   American   Barbados   (horned)   and   Barbados   Blackbelly   (polled)   in   2004,   marked   a   new beginning   for   the   Barbados   Blackbelly   in   American.   With   the   support   of   the   ALBC   (American Livestock   Breed   Conservancy),   and   several   University   Projects,   the   Barbados   Blackbelly   is   enjoying   a comeback.    Conscientious    breeders    are    quickly    re-establishing    numbers    and    building    a    better reputation for the breed.
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