Welcome to Little Hooves Romneys, where Romneys are a part of our diversified farming operation. We have been a farm family for generations, concentrating on dairy and crop production. From the 1980’s through the early 2000’s our lives were filled with running a 400 head Holstein operation in Moorestown, New Jersey, where we also grew corn, rye, soybeans, hay, and developed our own feed rations. In the early 1990’s, the Romney flock was started as a 4-H project with the purchase of one bred ewe and two spring lambs. Not long after the first lambing and show season, we were hooked and the flock started to expand. Due to development pressure, the dairy operation was phased out and sheep, hay and crop production became our new focus.
Our next flock additions came from Pine Ridge Romneys which were rich in Springfield, Barnes and Plum Ridge bloodlines. It was the crossing of these lines that produced our first Maryland Sheep & Wool Champion in 1998. Soon after, we purchased a Weymouth Walk natural colored ewe. She proved to be one of our most prolific ewes ever, raising twins and triplets in alternating years. It was one of her offspring that gave Little Hooves our first North American Livestock Exposition Champion in 2000. “Buick” captured the title Champion Natural Colored Romney Ram as a yearling and also received “Best Fleece”. We were thrilled; finally our breeding had produced a champion.
In 2003, Little Hooves purchased Julian & Moore 309, better known as “Ed”, a natural colored ram lamb. He was what we felt would add size and length of loin to our flock and he didn’t disappoint. “Ed” proved to have the biggest impact on our breeding program. He went on to become Champion Natural Colored Romney Ram at the North American Livestock Expo in 2003 and the Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival in 2004. In 2005, we added a white Romney ram, Julian & Moore J230. The infusion of several Julian & Moore ewes over the years, along with the two rams, proved to be an asset to Little Hooves.
In 2006, Little Hooves purchased a group from Bullock Romneys to add to our foundation flock. We felt that with our already established breeding program, the Bullock bloodlines could produce a strong outcross.
In the spring of 2007, Little Hooves realized that with our ewe expansion, it would be necessary to add more ram power. We then had the opportunity to purchase two rams from the Julian & Moore Sheep Co. The first was a NC yearling ram (J&M 635) and the second was a white ram lamb (J&M 729). Both offer exceptional pedigrees with size, confirmation, fleece and Romney breed character. In June 2007, Little Hooves traveled to Springfield, IL for the National Romney Show & Sale. For the first time, we offered breeding stock in a National Sale. It was a big step for us and we were pleased with the outcome. Our NC yearling ram was reserve champion. The sale offered many romneys from across the United States and we purchased a flashy NC spring ram lamb. He was the Grand Champion NC Ram and was purchased from the Julian & Moore Sheep Co. The addition of these three rams would undoubtedly provide Little Hooves with genetics that would complement our breeding program and produce livestock of the highest quality.
In 2008, Little Hooves was presented with a rare expansion opportunity. For the past few years we had made some small purchases to expand our numbers as well as our genetic base. In late spring, a purchasing agreement was finalized and the entire white Romney flock from Julian and Moore Sheep Co. was moved from Ohio to New Jersey. We are thrilled with the livestock and endless possibilities. Many Champions with their extended pedigrees now resided on the east coast. Included in this purchase was Julian & Moore 350 who was the Supreme Champion Ram at NAILE in 2004. This opportunity offered by Ed and Helen Julian has not been taken lightly, and we appreciated and accepted the challenge. We thoroughly planned to nurture the Julian and Moore breeding program, combining it with our already established base, to promote Romneys to the best of our ability.
The 2009 lambing season was full of excitement. Watching our new genetic program unfold was filled with anticipation. Lambs were sold for breeding stock, many were kept to further our flock expansion. In addition to expanding our flock, we also started selling lamb under our own private label. Little Hooves got USDA approval for labeling and joined a local farmers’ market. Our thoughts were confirmed, when we realized that New Jersey loves lamb on their dinner table. At the same time, we joined forces with a local poultry grower and began selling eggs at the market also. This alternative niche market proved to be a successful marketing tool. Not only was the farmers’ market a financial boost, it was also a fun way to socialize and educate the public.
The next ten years at Little Hooves Romneys passed at breakneck speed. One season ran into the next and somehow 2019 is upon us. Looking back, our accomplishments are many. We expanded the flock by keeping more ewe lambs and once again making a group purchase of ewes from a long time Romney breeder, Southern Oregon Romneys. This addition gave us a new ewe line to broaden our genetic base and coupled with an already well established ram package, we were thrilled with our spring lamb crop. We also increased our direct marketing objectives by continuing to sell lamb through a farmers market and local restaurants, breeding livestock sales remain brisk, hay, crop and egg production remain stable, and fleece sales increased through internet sales. We continue to participate at local and national sheep shows, encourage youth involvement in sheep and agriculture, and present a positive educational experience to all that visit our farm. Our biggest thrill to date was having Supreme Ram at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival for two years in a row, 2017 and 2018, both with NC Romney Rams. We also had Supreme Ewe at BigE in 2014 and 2016 with two NC Romney ewes, and then in 2017 and 2018 at BigE we were honored to receive Supreme Fleece with two white ewes. At NAILE 2018, I was selected to receive the H.C. Besuden Shepherd Award. I am always surprised with awards, as I know how many good shepherds are amongst us and for me to receive this honorable award, well, words just can’t express my true appreciation but suffice to say, we were thrilled beyond belief. Little Hooves Romneys strives to continue to promote Romneys, agriculture and our youth through positive thoughts and actions.
With the start of each lambing season, we look forward to another productive and successful year. Please consider Little Hooves for your next Romney purchase.