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The Columbia was developed at the United States Sheep Experiment Station in Dubois, Idaho as a rangeland sheep in the 1920’s, using the Lincoln for size and the Rambouillet for fine wool. It came to Canada after World War II, and has become a popular commercial breed on Western ranges and feedlots.
It is a large sheep and is bred for both meat and wool. It is extremely hardy, long-lived, with good flocking instinct and very docile. The ewes are average in prolificacy, lamb easily and require little management. The lambs are raised primarily for the heavy market. They have an average rate of gain and produce a lean carcass.
Columbia and Rambouillet crossbred ewes are exposed to either a black face Down ram as a terminal sire or back to a Rambouillet or Columbia ram to produce a white-faced replacement ewe. The wool is in demand among hand spinners and weavers and commands a premium price.