Other common names: Lincoln Sheep; Lincolnshire Sheep
Lincoln sheep, also called Lincoln Longwool originated in the country of Lincolnshire in the East Coast of England. It is said that Lincolns are a crossbreed of the Leicester and the local Linconshire breed, specifically intended to produce long, heavy, and lustrous wool, for which the breed is well known. They were introduced to the United States in the 1800s, and to various countries worldwide in the early 1900s to improve the wool quality of other breeds. United Kingdom’s Rare Breeds Survival Trust lists the Lincoln as an “at risk” breed.
Appearance / health:
Lincoln sheep, the largest British breed, is often considered the world’s largest sheep, with rams weighing in at 250 to 350 lbs. and ewes at 200 to 250 lbs. The body is lean, well-muscled, wide, and strong in the back. The head is large and broad, with a forelock between the ears. The white fleece is course, heavy (12 –20 lbs.), long (8-15 in.), and lustrous. Lincolns have wool even on the knees and hocks. Lincolns are regarded as the best in the long-wool type of sheep.
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.
hand spinner, prettiest breed, crazy long wool, long staple length, dual purpose animals
maggots, infestation problems
long wool, super long cords, biggest framed breed
My Flock of Lincolns
In my first year of FFA I was very interested in sheep, and a fellow FFA member was getting out of them so she sold me her flock of Lincolns for $200, three ewes, a ram, a wether for fiber, and two of the ewe's ewe lambs. These aren't the prettiest breed of sheep, they have very long wool that looks like a Puli dog somewhat, super long cords. It's highly valued by hand spinners because although the wool is very coarse it has a very long staple length, making it easy to spin. This crazy long wool also makes the winters very easy for them and they rarely need any other protection from the elements. They're gentle giants, even though they're the biggest framed breed of sheep they are very nice so long as you work with them while they're young. They aren't incredibly meaty like black-faced sheep but they make great dual purpose animals. Lincolns are slightly high maintanance because shearing is a pain and you have to take care to make sure the wool stays clean and dry if you want a profit out of it. They also can't handle the summers very well unless they're sheared early. Lambs are fat but mature very slowly, hence why they aren't the best choice for a market lamb. I never had any disease problems with these sheep.
The photo I provided is from the Oklahoma State University livestock breeds website.
From cattlecait Oct 14 2009 7:37AM
Docile and friendly, but must be sheared regularly!
We've kept Lincolns at my house since I was a kid, and when I picture sheep in my mind, it's always them I imagine, shambling around with their long wool, a dark brown all along their bottom and sides because of the dirt it accumulates.
Lincolns are known for their long wool, and were probably bred specifically for that purpose. This was wonderful when my mom was using the wool for hobby crafts, making clothes and dolls and other things out of the wool. It was thick and worked excellently for all of her uses When she got busy with other things and stopped crafting, though, it was a different matter entirely.
When getting this breed of sheep, you have to make sure you're committed to getting them sheared - if not once a year, then once every two years at the Very maximum. Remember, though, that shearing costs money, unless you know how to do it yourself.
And if you don't shear them? Well, first of all, their wool gets caught on any sharp or even not-so-sharp object around, including fences, posts, and anything of the like. Our sheep have gotten stuck more than a few times. And the older ones have had trouble getting up if they fall down.
Accumulated wool can really be a big burden for the sheep themselves. I imagine the summers are intolerable, though perhaps winter isn't so bad. And if you don't think wool weighs that much, think again. Our ram, who we called the "Old Man" until he passed away, had gotten really clumsy and weak some years back. He was having trouble walking, running, and even getting up. Eventually, we decided to shear him to see what would happen, and doing so on our own was more difficult than I had ever imagined. It took three of us to hold the guy down, and he Still kept escaping. I'm sure there are plenty of tricks to the trade that we didn't know, but all we wanted was to cut off some wool to lighten him up.
Old Man's hair had been growing for so long that it was thick and matted down near his skin, packed so tightly that we couldn't even tell where the hair ended and the skin began. It was a long and arduous process, and he fought us all the way. Once we finally got a lot of the wool off, though, he jumped up and trotted away as if he were years younger! It was quite a while before he eventually passed away.
To repeat, these sheep were bred specifically to produce thick and long wool, and if you're not ready for the long-term commitment to get them sheared and keep them healthy, I would strongly advise against getting them. Lucky for us, our Jacob bred with our Lincolns over the years and we've gotten a mixed breed that doesn't suffer the long hair problem..
From Troctar Feb 28 2015 3:06PM