East Friesian Sheep Facts and Breed Information

East Friesian sheep are among the top dairy sheep in the world. The breed of sheep has some of the top amazing and unique features that make them stand out from other breeds.

Although the demand for sheep milk is low, the research shows that they are highly nutritious and healthy for human bodies.

The ingredients from the milk make human bodies to be highly resistant to common health diseases since it makes the antibodies to have strong ability to combat the agents causing the diseases.

In this post, you will explore information about the history and origin of the breed, physical characteristics and some of the other alternatives of the dairy sheep breed.

 Our latest related post:  Ultimate Guide on How to Start Sheep Farming in USA   

History and Origin of East Friesian Sheep

These are breeds of sheep that originated from Germany. However, according to the research done by experts at livestock conservancy, it shows that the breed came from the Friesland region which is located in northern Germany and Holland.

The other name of this domestic breed of sheep is Ostfriesisches Milchschaf. The intention of developing the sheep breed was for the production of milk only.

According to statistics, it is grouped among the best milk production sheep in the world. Some breeders use the sheep for crossbreeding with another non-diary sheep breed in order to have sheep breeds that can produce milk.

In 1992, about eleven pregnant ewes and four rams were imported to New Zealand from Sweden. The pregnant ewes were placed in quarantine in Silverstream.

This was a breeding program where embryos were transferred into the system. Only embryos from the original sheep were allowed to be released from the quarantine.

The first sheep breed from quarantine was released in 1996 and was allowed to leave on the farm. In 1994, the sheep breed was brought in the United States and Canada as purebreds.

The sheep breed has a high fertility and maturity rate. This is the reason behind the increase in the number of dairy sheep breeds in the United States.

Are you in need of east Friesian sheep for sale? Well, you need to visit the nearest private breeder to check if they have some of the breeds for sale. However, continue reading the post to learn more about their features.

East Friesian Sheep Characteristics

Here are some of the east Friesian sheep unique characteristics:

Size and Weight

The sheep are generally large in size. They also have a large frame with a compact body that makes them also to be suitable for the pot. The exact average weight of the breed is still unknown due to variations.

Behavior and Temperament

The breed of sheep is relatively docile in terms of temperament making them fantastic sheep breeds for both beginners and experienced breeders. The ewes are a calm hence great trait for dairy livestock.

General Appearance and Coat Color

The coat coloration is normally white though there are some breeds with dark coloration. They tend to have a thin tail and a pink nose.

The pale hooves and the hairy head, as well as legs, tend to make the stunning when compared to other breeds of sheep.


Both the rams and ewes are polled. This implies that they do not have horns on their heads like other breeds of sheep.

Climate Tolerance

The animals are normally strong and hardy. They have unique body features that enable them to adjust to different weather climates easily. They are rarely attacked by common sheep diseases.

Purpose of the Sheep

The animals are popularly known for milk production though they can still produce some amount of wool for sale. The rams tend to have a thick and fleshy body suitable for the pot.

The ewes have the ability to produce about 300-360 liters of milk over a lactation period of 200-300 days. If you want to start dairy sheep farming then this the most suitable breed for you.

Maturity and Fertility Rate

The sheep breed has a faster maturity rate and they normally have a high fertility rate compared to other breeds. They are the best breeds for increasing the number of animals on your farm.

Alternatives of East Friesian Sheep

In case you are unable to acquire the sheep breed, the following are the best diary sheep alternatives:

British Milk Sheep

These are cross of East Friesian breeds. They produce a large amount of milk but they are considered as a dual-purpose breed of sheep.

They are thick and fleshy making them also suitable for meat production. They are highly bred in Great Britain as prolific milk producers.


These sheep breeds are historically known for milk production. They have good udder conformation although the milk is less than that of prolific dairy sheep breeds. They are great for small farms and they have the ability to eat all types of grasses.


Awassi sheep breed has the fattest tail and they are known to have originated from the Middle East. A great improvement has been done on the breed and they are considered as the second-best dairy sheep breed after east Friesians.

Leave a Comment