Other common names: Dafad Bryniau Ceri
The Kerry Hill Sheep is a breed which was developed in the hills around the small town of Kerry, on the English/Welsh borders. The breed was believed to have developed in the early 19th century, and today it is distributed throughout the British Isles and Holland. Once extremely numerous, numbers declined in the 20th century, and the Kerry Hill was included on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watch-list until 2006.
Appearance / health:
According to the Kerry Hill Flock Book Society , "The breed has developed substantially in its long history. The sheep is a bold, strong type, and the ewes make excellent mothers. The wool is a white, dense quality fleece, free from kemp and it is classed with the Down breeds for marketing purposes. The present day Kerry Hill Sheep should have the following physical characteristics:
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 mothering instincts, real commercial potential, distinctive black markings, softest wool, mule sheep
mountain breeds, framed halfbred lamb, Welsh hill breeds, Small lambs
Glenariff Pedigree Kerry Hill Sheep
The Kerry Hill breed originated in the area of Montgomeryshire in Wales.
The flock book, was first published in 1899 - being recognised as a distinctive breed from 1809.
The breed is a well balanced, sturdy sheep with ears set high and free from wool. Black nose and sharply defined black and white markings on the head and legs.
The ewe is a good mother with a plentiful supply of milk, enabling her lambs to survive where others may fail.
The lambs are further assisted by a good birth coat which resists all types of weather, enabling the lambs to be quick to their feet and actively sucking in a very short time.
Our flock at Glenariff Pedigree Livestock in Norfolk was established in 2002, we run 60 ewes and shearlings, all of which are bred to Kerry Hill tups.
We have found the breed has general good health and hardiness with a desired longevity. The lambing percentage of 175% can readily be achieved.
Our flock is quiet and easily handled and forage well on all types of pasture.
Although our flock is pedigree the quality of the meat is very desirable as Kerry Hill or crossed with Down or Continental rams.
N J Barrett
Glenariff Pedigree Livestock
From NJ Barrett Sep 20 2012 6:35AM
Kerry Hill Rams for Improving Hill Sheep Flocks
The Kerry Hill, despite the name is a Welsh breed, still found distributed throughout Mid Wales. It is a hardy hill bred with good mothering instincts and a very fine fleece. The rams are much larger than most other Welsh hill breeds and are an excellent choice for crossing with smaller hill and mountain breeds to produce larger ewes that sill have hardy hill characteristics.
With their distinctive black markings around the mouth, yes, ears, knees and feet this also makes the Kerry Hill a very pretty breed and they are common show animals. With the fine fleece this makes them very easy to clip and shape for shows.
Because they are pretty, hardy, good mothers but larger and tamer than other hill breeds they are particularly admired in Wales as a breed for smallholders. Like all hill sheep they need to be shorn in late spring to keep them cool for summer. This is an excellent breed for crossing with Blue Faced Leicsters to produce mules for lamb production.
Though I have only dealt with Kerry rams for breeding, I am reliably told that though typically tame the ewes (particularly yearlings) can jump very high. This means that if keeping a Kerry flock you will probably need taller fences than usual.
The rams are quite docile and do well with other rams. They do fight at tupping time, but are not overly aggressive about it and bouts tend to be short. The lambs are slightly larger than those of other breeds and though not excessively so, this is something to be aware of when crossing with smaller breeds.
Because they have a better conformation they are often crossed with smaller hill and mountain breeds as a first step in producing a meat flock. Their meat quality is good, and they do not have the tendency to run to excessive fat that some other breeds have..
From DLlE Sep 12 2012 4:09AM