Are you looking for Hampshire sheep for sale? What is the sheep breed known for? These are some of the common questions asked by novice sheep farmers.
Well, Hampshire breed of sheep is great breeds to keep on your farm. The dazzling appearance and calmness behavior make them easy to handle as well as manage.
In this article, you will learn about the history and origin of the breed, physical characteristics and some of the common problems associated with the breed.Our latest related post: Ultimate Guide on How to Start Sheep Farming in USA
History and Origin of Hampshire Sheep
The domestic sheep is also known as Hampshire Down sheep. The breed was discovered at around 1829 and it originates from the United Kingdom.
The research from our experts shows that the breed was developed as a cross between the old Hampshire breed and Southdowns sheep. The Wiltshire Horn and the Berkshire Nott are some of the common old breeds of Hampshire.
The sheep breeds were developed by a farmer known as John Twynam who crossed the Hampshire flocks with Cotswold rams around 1829.
The crossbreeding resulted in half-bred rams that had a blocky and compact body. In 1835, the animals were sold in a group of six and this what resulted in the first pedigree Hampshire Down flocks in Britain.
The breed of sheep was later imported in the United States at around 1849 although the civil war tried to inhibit the exportation. But around 1879, the sheep breed was imported in huge numbers.
The American Hampshire Sheep Association accepted and registered the breed in the association at around 1889 despite the information about the flock being scant.
Hampshire Sheep Characteristics
Here are some of the popular physical characteristics of the breed:
Size and Weight
The animals are typically large in size. They normally have a masculine and blocky body shape. They have thick flesh and deep muscles that make them have a lot of weight as compared to other breeds.
They are also regarded as oxen of the sheep world. The average bodyweight of the ewes is about 91kgs and those of the rams is about 120kg.
Appearance and Coat Coloration
The sheep have a white coat with a dark face that is a little long and the ears are slightly dropped. The legs have wool and they are also dark in color.
Purpose of the Breed
The animals are the primary breed for commercial meat production. The flock has a deep and fleshy body that makes them suitable for meat production.
The animals are normally hardy and robust. They have the ability to adjust their bodies in order to suit different weather climate. They can be breed anywhere in the world regardless of the weather climate.
Both the ewes and rams are polled. They do not have any signs of horns at all.
Behavior and Temperament
The sheep breed is very active and quiet. The laid back behavior makes them suitable for domestic sheep farming regardless of the level of experience.
The lambs tend to grow very fast making them suitable for increasing the number of flocks on the farm. They also add weight very fast as compared to other breeds hence the reason why they are great meat producers.
Care and Management of Hampshire Sheep
The flocks do not require special maintenance as they have the ability to eat all types of grass and vegetables. They are great grazers thus you are likely to experience low cost on purchase of supplementary feeds.
However, they provide good housing and an adequate supply of feeds in order to foster their growth. Also, supply fresh and clean water on their feeders on demand in order to keep them healthy and hydrated.
In case of any infection, it is recommended to bring on board a professional vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Common Health Problems of Hampshire Sheep
These animals are hardy and resistant to common sheep diseases. They have a strong immune system that has the ability to combat any form of infection intruding on their bodies.
However, it is good to deworm them twice in a year and also take them for a dip in order to get rid of common parasites like ticks on their coat.
Do the rules of your region allowing sheep farming? How many sheep are you supposed to breed in a small farm? Well, it is good to adhere to the rules and regulations of your state before venturing into any type of livestock farming.
Do you have Hampshire sheep breeds on your farm? We would love to hear more of their stories. Kindly share the stories on the comment form below and we will highly appreciate it.