Kerry Hill Sheep

Save as favorite

Avg. Owner Satisfaction


(6 Reviews)

Other common names: Dafad Bryniau Ceri

The basics:
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:

  • Markings: The sheep should have a black and white face, odd spot on face acceptable considering the breed. Legs should also be black and white.
  • Ears: Black, Black and White or White. Medium length, set high, free from wool.
  • Neck: Strong and muscular, well set into the shoulders.
  • Throat: Nicely curved and woolled, with no loose skin.
  • Teeth: Not overshot or undershot. Incisor teeth must bite on all inner surfaces.
  • Horns: No - should be removed.
  • Ribs: Deep and well sprung, with good heart girth.
  • Back: Strong, keve, firm to handle, wide loin, with plenty of length from hip-bone to tail.
  • Hind-Quarters: Wide and deep, well fleshed to hocks.
  • Tail: Hock-length is the breed standard. Well set on, strong dock, free from dark or blue spots.
  • Legs: Front - well set, with strong bone, enought width but straight, clear of wool. Rear - plenty of width, clear of wool - must not be Cow, Sickle or Turkey hocked.
  • Feet: front pasterns - NO excessive length on joints. Short strong joints can carry weight. Rear pasterns - NOT down on pasterns or long joints. Well-trimmed feet - sheep can walk properly.
  • Skin: Pink or red, free from black or blue spots or tint.
  • Wool: A white dense quality fleece free from kemp. Should be clean, a small amount of black is acceptable but undesirable. If very black or grey the sheep should be rejected.
  • Bone: Male - enough bone for the scale of the sheep - NOT fine and spindly. Female - not too fine but not too
    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 mothering instincts, real commercial potential, distinctive black markings, softest wool, mule sheep


mountain breeds, framed halfbred lamb, Welsh hill breeds, Small lambs

Kerry Hill Sheep Health Tip

Kerry Hill Sheep

From DLlE Sep 12 2012 4:09AM


Member photos