Suffolk sheep

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Suffolk sheep

The Suffolk sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United Kingdom. It was originally developed in England as the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. The result of this cross was an improvement over both parent sheep breeds. It is a black faced, and open faced breed and it is raised mainly for meat production.

The Suffolk sheep was a recognized breed as early as 1810, and the flock book was not closed until much later. The English Suffolk Society was organized in 1886 for providing registry service and for further developing the use of the breed.

Suffolk sheep are a black-faced, open-faced breed of domestic sheep raised primarily for meat.

  • Origin: England
  • Scientific name: Ovis aries
  • Higher classification: Sheep
  • Rank: Breed

Facts

Suffolk sheep can be found around the world and are a popular choice in countries which value commercial sheep production.

The Suffolk sheep breed is perhaps the most commonly used purebred sheep breed in the United States and are a frequent choice for commercial shepherds as terminal sires in crossbreeding programs. This breed was introduced to the U.S. in  1888, but it originated in England as a product of crossing Norfolk and Southdown sheep.

  • show an immunity to foot diseases
  • resistant to fly strike due to clean faces, crutch and points
  • rams are renowned for their great libido and increased activity
  • The lamb carcass is a choice lean meat with a sweet taste.
  • narrow head and smooth shoulders result in easy lambing
  • lambs are very strong at birth
  • Suffolk ewes are very good mothers and the narrow head and smooth shoulders result in easy lambing.
  • The lambs are very strong at birth

Origin

Suffolks at a U.S. fair: Suffolks from show lines look markedly different from traditional production-type animals.

Suffolks were originally developed in England as the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. The product of this cross was an improvement over both parent breeds. 45995 U.S.A

Characteristics

They are a large breed of sheep. Mature weights for rams range from 250 to 350 lb (110 to 160 kg), ewe weights vary from 180 to 350 lb (80 to 160 kg). Fleece weights from mature ewes are between 5 and 8 lb (2.3 and 3.6 kg), with a yield of 50% to 62%. The fleeces are considered medium wool in type, with a fiber diameter of 25.5 to 33 microns and a spinning count of 48 to 58. They have black faces and legs, a large frame, and are highly muscular. The staple length of ranges from 2.0 to 3.5 in (51 to 89 mm).

Habitat

The Norfolk Horned sheep, now rare, were a wild and hardy breed. They were blackfaced, light, fleeced sheep. Both sexes were horned. The upland regions of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridge on the southeastern coast of England are very rugged and forage is sparse.

History

The original Suffolks were the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. Apparently the product of this cross was a great improvement over either one of the parents. Although the Suffolk was a recognized breed as early as 1810, the flock book was not closed until much later.

In 1930, Southdowns were described as large sheep without horns, dark faces and legs, fine bones and long small necks. They were low set in front with high shoulders and light forequarters; however, their sides were good, rather broad in the loin, and were full in the thigh and twist. Today’s Suffolk derives its meatiness and quality of wool from the old original British Southdown.

Suffolk sheep images

Image by Alicia Rädler from Pixabay

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