Hampshire sheep

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Hampshire sheep

The Hampshire or Hampshire Down is a breed of sheep which originated around 1829 from a cross of Southdowns with the Old Hampshire breed, the Wiltshire Horn, and the Berkshire Nott, all horned, white-faced sheep — these were native to the open, untilled, hilly stretch of land known as the Hampshire Downs.

Classifications

  • Breed Name: Hampshire
  • Other Name: Also known as Hampshire Down Sheep
  • Breed Purpose: Primarily raised for meat production
  • Breed Size: Large
  • Weight: Mature rams weight is around 120 kg, and ewe’s body weight is around 91 kg.
  • Horns: No
  • Climate Tolerance: Almost all climates
  • Color: White
  • Rarity: Common
  • Country/Place of Origin: United Kingdom

History

The Hampshire sheep acquired its name from the agriculture county of Hampshire in Southern England where they were developed. The Hampshire-Down evolved from the mingling of different strains of kindred blood from sheep in co-existence along the borders of Hampshire County. The Old Hampshire, Berkshire Knot, Willshire Horn and Southdown sheep were believed by most writers to be the original broods found in and along the borders of Hampshire County. Mr. John Twynam made a valuable contribution to the Hampshire Down through the use of an improved Cotswold ram and Mr. William Humphrey by the introduction of two of the largest and most outstanding Southdown rams.

Facts

Originating in the county of Hampshire in the south of England, Hampshire sheep are a combination of the Berkshire Knot, Southdown, Old Hampshire and Wiltshire Horn sheep breeds.

In 1860 Hampshire sheep were introduced to the United States, but the breed disappeared during the Civil War and were not reintroduced until the 1880’s.

As one of the larger breeds, the Hampshire is easy to distinguish from Suffolks by their black legs and faces. Unlike the Suffolk, Hampshire sheep have some wool on their heads and legs and this breed should display a solid topknot of unbroken wool.

Size

Mature rams should weigh 300 pounds or more and mature ewes should weigh 200 pounds or more in breeding condition.[1] Mature ewes yield on average 6 lbs(2.7 kg) to 10 lbs (4.5 kg) fleece that is 25.0 to 33.0 microns and a spinning count of 46 to 58. The fleece staple length is 2.0 to 3.5 in (5-9 cm) with a yield of 50% to 62%.

Characteristics

The Hampshire sheep are large sized animals with strong muscling and deep, blocky bodies. Their look is like the oxen of the sheep world. They are mainly white in coloration. They have dark face with moderately long and slightly dropped ears. Their legs are also usually dark, with some wool present below the knees. Both rams and ewes are usually polled, that means they have no horns.

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