Lleyn Sheep

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Other common names: Llyn Sheep

The basics:
Lleyn sheep are a breed which developed on the lleyn peninsula ('Lleyn') in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. According to the Lleyn Sheep Society, "The roots of the Lleyn are in Ireland, and to trace the early beginnings of the breed, the clock has to be turned back to around 1750. The pioneer breeder of cattle and sheep Robert Bakewell was in his prime and had exported some of his Dishley Leicester rams to Ireland to improve indigenous Irish sheep, resulting in the formation of the breed known as Roscommon. Probably it was around the beginning of the 19th Century that the first Roscommon ewes arrived in Wales on the Lleyn Peninsula."

The Lleyn ewe is known for its strong maternal instincts, ease of lambing, longevity and prolificacy. The breed is suited to both upland and lowland grazing.

Appearance / health:
According to the Lleyn Sheep Society, the Lleyn sheep should have the following characteristics:

* HEAD Distinctive and feminine; warm white in colour; wide forehead; good length from eye to nose – straight to slightly dished and narrowing towards the nose; bright, lively eyes; black nose.
* EARS Medium size and thickness and black spots desirable; base preferably starting from the wool.
* LEGS Average length, with no wool lower than hock. Colour warm white.
* WOOL Containing no kemp, of good length, dense and of high quality.

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.

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.


easy care, greater lamb weights, good forage converter, good milk production, good mother


average carcase weight, proper welsh spelling, native llyn peninsula, mediumsized ewe

Lleyn Sheep Health Tip

Lleyn Sheep

From DLlE Sep 8 2012 2:52AM


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