Director of Public Affairs
MOUNT VERNON, VA—Visitors can now view George Washington’s Mount Vernon newest additions–the estate recently welcomed 22 lambs to its livestock population! As part of its heritage breed program, Mount Vernon’s livestock team breeds, cares, and maintains its Hog Island sheep population. This breed of sheep give birth once a year, usually with one or two offspring. Mount Vernon has one of the largest flocks of these rare sheep in the country. For more details about planning a trip to Mount Vernon, please go to mountvernon.org/visit.
“Mount Vernon’s new lamb population consists of 14 girls and eight boys,” said Mount Vernon livestock supervisor Lisa Pregent. “We are expecting two more ewes to lamb any day now.”
The sheep population at Mount Vernon soared after the conclusion of the Revolutionary War. In the fall of 1785, George Washington owned 283 sheep, including 19 rams, 167 ewes, 15 lambs, and 82 weathers (neutered males). Fourteen years later in 1799, the flock had grown to 640 sheep.
Mount Vernon’s sheep are descendants of a flock that was established in the mid-1600s on Hog Island near the eastern shore of Virginia. The Hog Island sheep are believed to be of British origin. The bloodline of the breed has survived relatively unchanged due to the near total isolation of the island.