Corriedale Sheep

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Other common names: Australian Corriedale; Coloured Corriedale

The basics:
According to the Australian Corriedale Association, "The Corriedale was simultaneously evolved in both Australia and New Zealand about 1874 by selectively breeding from cross bred progeny of pure Merino and Lincoln sheep. The breed was developed to meet a demand for a dual purpose animal with good meat characteristics and commercial wool production. Because it is run in a wide range of conditions the breed's popularity ranks second only to the Merino in the world at the present time. In South America alone, Corriedales account for some 70% of the sheep population, and graze from the heat of the equator to Tierra del Fuego's cold, from a wet 1500mm rainfall to a low 275mm, and from sea level to 3500 metres in the rare air of the Altiplano."

Appearance / health:
Corriedales are relatively large, hornless sheep with medium fine, high-yielding wool that is soft, bulky, thick stapled, medium length, and highly favored by hand spinners. Their bodies are broad and balanced, and provide good meat.
One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.

Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.

As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed. Miniature breeds and sheep that have hair instead of fur make ideal pets. Raising pet sheep is a popular project in the 4-H youth organization.

Corriedales are known to have long life spans. They are hardy and specifically bred to adapt to a wide range of climate conditions including high rainfall and low temperatures.

Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.

Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.

For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.

Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.


nice temperament, large size lambs, good wool, long life span, high fertility rate


climate conditions Australia

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