The Navajo Churro Sheep Project
The Navajo Churro Sheep Project was started in September
of 1997 on 80 acres of land south of Bloomfield, NM, to
replenish Churro sheep to the Navajo Reservation.
At present there are 233 ewes and 25 rams.
The project is run by Harley Hatch and his wife, Mary,
who did not want
her picture taken. They have been in the ranching business many years,
and their son, Ben Hatch, is chairman of the board
of the Navajo Sheep Project.
Sheilah likes having her picture taken.
The long greaseless wool comes in the natural
white, gray, brown, and black.
The ewes have strong maternal instincts and the lambs have
a high rate of survival. Twins are common, which the mother
can easily raise, and often there are triplets.
These two are only one day old.
The Churro are bred for the desirable traits of longest
and four horned rams, which the Navajo believe is a sign
from their gods. Careful records are kept to avoid
cross-breeding. Notice the markings.
The young man in the picture is Michael,
3 1/2 years old, who used to be shy.
The Churro are a gentle sheep.
Llamas are raised to guard the Churro sheep, as they
are better guards than dogs and the Churro are not
afraid of them.
There were 50 llamas but 25 have been shipped
to the Navajo Reservation.
Lambing season is March through April and Sheilah was right on time with these photos. Shearing season begins in late March and into April, and Sheilah promises pictures of that
for the summer issue of Four Corners Postcard.
Four Corners Postcard.