Other common names: Hampshire Down
The Hampshire sheep, also known as Hampshire Down, originated in Hampshire, Southern England in the mid-1800s. It is a cross of several breeds: Old Hampshire, Berkshire Knot, Wiltshire Horn, and Southdown. Records show that further crossbreeding involved the Cotswold ram and the largest Southdown rams. It was reintroduced to the United States in the late 1800s and became popular for its adaptability to various geographical regions in North America.
Appearance / health:
The Hampshire is a large sheep with a dark long face free of wool from the eyes to the nose. It is also wool-free from the knee down. The ears are thick and covered with dark hair (no wool).
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.
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.
good showing breed, large sheep, meat grading, neat fleece, good meat producers
richer flavor, black faces, short legs, sturdy little bodies
My Hampshire flock.
The Hampshire sheep isn’t everyone’s favorite but I liked them. They’re good meat producers in that the mutton has a richer flavor than the cross breeds or the Shropshire, at least they do in my opinion. I liked their sturdy little bodies and short legs. They’re a bit on the stubborn side and really do tend to follow each other around even into danger, more so than my Shropshires or Border Leicesters.
They’re easily herded with dogs and lambed easily. They do well in meat and milk production but better in meat. They are good fleece producers with an average yield of about 7-8 lbs of fleece a year.
I’d easily recommend them but not for young children as they’re a bit stubborn to handle..
From TexasNana Mar 23 2013 3:21AM
Best to prevent and Needed to Treat
Regular hoof trimming is important in the health of your sheep and can help reduce foot rot occurrence. Irregular hoofs can keep in mud/dirt and abnormal gaits that can help promote infection. Additionally, once foot rot occurs, trimming off disease portions of the hoof can help speed recovery, but must be combined with antibiotic treatment. By itself, hoof trimming is effective in treatment and along with other management practices is not the only thing needed to prevent the condition. .
From drkirkley 351 days ago
Ralph was my show sheep. I'm not a huge fan of sheep since they definitely aren't the brightest animals on the face of the Earth. But they are pretty adorable and have unique personalities. If you have them from babies, you can probably tame them pretty easy or if you are out there with them non-stop for like a year straight, but I couldn't work with mine enough and he would NOT get used to me. No matter how much I did manage to work with him, he never got used to me. But, he did learn to lead pretty well. That's about the only thing he was good at..
From calondra101124 Jan 15 2016 8:19AM