The preservation of the landrace Churro sheep is imperative because it represents a keystone livestock species completely adapted to the extremes of the desert southwest. The Churro sheep is not a breed but considered a land race. They are the only livestock species that are tough enough to survive extreme desert conditions. Rio Milagro is dedicated to preserving the cultural significance through breeding the old style genetics seen before the US government intervention. You can learn more about their ability to help us in climate mitigation at Rio Milagro Foundation.
This small rangy sheep with superior fleece is the only livestock in the US completely adapted to life in the southwest deserts of Arizona, New Mexico and southern Utah and Colorado. It was the main livestock in the Southwest for centuries brought to the Americas by the Spanish. Because of it's size, hardiness and adaption to extreme weather conditions, the Churro thrived along the Camino De Real trail which connected the Americas and went up the RIo Grande. Hundreds of thousands of these sheep supported the spanish settlers and Navajos.
Even though there has been effort to save the Churros from extinction, the genetics have been watered down and without good animal husbandry, this little scruffy sheep with superior coarse fleece will be wiped out entirely by a more modern looking, bigger bodied and bigger boned finer wooled Churro.
But there are a handful of breeders that are breeding the traditional genetics. Every year we have sheep and lambs that are for sale. We breed specifically for old style genetics like good mothering, parasite resistance, tall rangy body with long legs. Our fleeces have high luster and a good ratio of long to inner fiber very typical of a good Churro fleece.
If you are interested in our lambs or what we might have for sale, please give us a call. We are always happy to assist anyone interested in breeding these sheep. We are interested in sharing the knowledge obtained from mentoring through the years with others that know these sheep and are dedicated to saving them not as a museum piece but as a viable important livestock breed. You can also go to our foundation web site for more information on the landrace TrueChurro™ sheep. www.riomilagro.org