Navajo-Churro sheep are steeped in the history and culture of the Hispanic, Pueblo and Diné communities of the southwestern United States. Don Bixby, DVM & Technical Advisor to the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy has noted that, “The Navajo-Churro is the oldest North American farm animal breed. Almost extinct in the 1970’s the breed has returned through the multi-cultural efforts of Native, Hispanic and Anglo shepherds around the US. They continue to remind us of traditional Native American and Hispanic shepherding, weaving and culinary traditions in the semi-arid Southwest, of a place-based heritage that has endured.” Click here for a short history of Navajo- Churro Sheep (from our non-Navajo perspective).
Most of our flock has passed inspection by the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association for inclusion into the registry.
We continue to upgrade the quality of our flock through careful selection and breeding practices.
Small producers like ourselves have played a critical role in bringing genetic diversity back in the Navajo-Churro Sheep. We are members of the Navajo-Churro Sheep Association, the American Livestock Breed Conservancy and Dine Be Iina. At Arriola Sunshine Farm we consider the success of Navajo producers essential to our success and whole-heartedly contribute to the re-introduction of Navajo-Churro Sheep to our Navajo people.
We offer lambs for breeding stock from our registered sires and dams. Feel free to request more information on our animals and their pedigrees. CURRENTLY AVAILABLE:
We have 6 ewe lambs that are 7 months old as of Decenber 2011, 3 ewe lambs that are 3 months old, and three promisig rams that are also 7 months old.
SPECIAL OFFER: Take advantage of our expertise in farm management and business planning! If you purchase three or more Navajo-Churro sheep for breeding, we will provide you with training and mentoring in Whole Farm Planning with Holistic Management for 25% off our regular tuition for distance learning.
Please let us know if you are interested in our breeding stock. We are happy to work with new breeders to get your flock started.
The meat is "sweet" in flavor compared to commercial breeds. It is tender and captures the flavor of the rangeland or pasture it is raised on. Because Navajo-Churro Sheep put most of their fat around their organs, the meat is more lean than other breeds. They finish well on grass and rangeland. Because they mature slowly they will be classified as lambs well over one-year in age. Our Navajo-Churro meat has been served at a number of Slow Food events with rave reviews.
Availability depends on many factors. Much of our lamb is sold directly via word of mouth. If your are interested in our purchasing lamb in 2011 or 2012, please contact us to be put on our waiting list.
Currently we have skirted raw fleeces available in a variety of colors. We also have quantities of washed and carded wool available, felt and pelts.
Navajo-Churro wool consists of two layers. The outer coat is 4-6 inches long and is medium to course. The inner wool is about 3 inches long and is medium to fine in texture. Lambs fleeces are more fine where as rams fleeces tend to be more coarse.
Some fleeces contain small amounts of kemp which gives it a rugged, tweedy look characteristic of Navajo weavings.
The wool is ideal for spinning, weaving, knitting, wet or dry felting and rope making. It is suited for making rugs, fiber art, craft items, & some outer garment and upholstery applications. We have won several awards over the years in wool judging contests sponsored by Navajo Churro Sheep Association, Best of the Southwest Fiber Festival, and Sheep Is Life celebration.
In the 2011 Sheep is Life wool show we took first, second and third place in both the ewe lamb (hoggot) class and the mature ewe class! We took first place in the mature ram class and second in the ram lamb class. We went on to recieve Reserve Grand Champion in the ewes fleece class and Reserve Grand Champion in the rams fleece class.
have a wide variety of sizes, colors and textures availalbe.
These are made on Mini-Mills wet felting machine. These are great for crafts and art. Finish them as throws, potholders, matts, dog beds, wall art, and more!
These are great for rugs, throws, seat and saddle cover, show chaps and other usese. They are custom processed by Amish and may be long or sheared. They are washable! Please let us know what your interests are.
Click on Photo to enlarge it.
"...when the last individual of a race of living things breathes no more, another Heaven and another Earth must pass before such a one can be again." -William Beebe
Sugar and her ewe lamb, Candy.
This good looking ram lamb was SOLD to a breeder.
Lucas is a registered ram. His color pattern is brown badger and he is polled. He took second place in the mature ram competition at Sheep Is Life in 2007
Rams may be polled like Lucas or have two and four horns. Four horned rams are especially valued by some breeders.
We carefully skirt our raw fleeces.
Distance Learning Programs
We will be at Sheep Is Life, a celebration of Navajo shepherding and weaving traditions at the Dine College, Tsiale AZ, June 20-25th 2011. We will be offering these one-day workshops:
Tuition is $50 per person.
Cindy has been involved in farming her entire life, learning some tricks of the trade from her Grandfather on their farm in Minnesota. She would help him pick raspberries, strawberries and other produce to sell at their roadside stand just off of Highway 101 in Minnetonka. Unfortunately, the old farms are long gone, replaced by freeways, homes, office building and shopping centers.
Cindy continues her farming heritage at Arriola Sunshine Farm in SW Colorado. Over the years she has raised laying hens, grass fed beef and lamb, a market garden, small orchard, and breeds Navajo Churro Sheep and Bourbon Red Turkeys.
She has worked with family farmers and ranchers for 23 years, first as a conservationist with the USDA-NRCS and now as a private consultant. She specializes in whole farm and ranch planning and management and is a Holistic Management Certified Educator.
She is an experienced workshop leader, facilitator and speaker.
This is Sugar, one of our registered ewes.