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Sheep breeds.....

Updated: Nov 11, 2019

All of the following was quoted from “In Sheep's Clothing"

  • Polypay

The Polypay is a relatively recent entry on the list of breeds in the United States. Development began in 1968 with initial crosses of Targhee x Dorset and Rambouillet x Finnsheep. The aims were a large early lamb crop, lambing more than once a year, rapid growth rate and high meat yield. Polypays are medium -sized, polled sheep with white faces. Because of the recent formation of this breed and its ongoing development, body type, size, and fleece characteristics are variable. Polypay fleeces is generally medium to fin with short, tapered tips and good loft. The crimp is usually well developed but can be wavy or disorganized. Some fleeces have a crisp handle whereas others are silky. Because of its unpredictability, Polypay fleeces are best selected by sample, in person, or from a known flock if specific qualities are needed. Choose them for making warm, softly draping fabrics, blankets and sweaters.

  • Rambouillet

This breed takes its name from the estate of King Louis the XVI at Rambouillet France, where in 1786 a flock of pure Spanish Merinos was established. After careful selection and breeding with other Merino flocks, the Rambouillet breed because a distinct entity. They were introduces to the United States from the French royal flock, and they became the foundation of most of the United States' western range breeds. Rambouillets are large, rugged, and smooth bodied, and moderately fast growing. Most rams have spiral horns, but there are also polled strains. They are gregarious as well as adaptable foragers, and they thrive in arid conditions. Although they have acceptable meat quality, Rambouillets are raised primarily for their high-quality fine wool. The fleece is very soft and has pronounced though slightly disorganized crimp, which gives it extremely good elasticity and excellent loft. The short staples are rectangular and have square, often dirty tips. Rambouillet wool can be used for baby wear and next to the skin knitted of woven fabrics, as well as blending with fine exotic fibers. While not as lustrous as Merino, it is more elastic and loftier. It is a good choice when these qualities are of paramount importance.

  • Targhee

The Targhee was developed by the United States Department of Agriculture as a dual-purpose sheep adapted to the dry western rangelands. The foundation of the breed was a cross of Rambouillet rams and Corriedale X Lincoln/Rambouillet ewes. Targhees are raised both for cross breeding and other meat breeds for market lamb production and for high quality apparel wool. Targhees are moderate-sized, polled sheep with open white faces. The fleece is fine and dense with very good loft, indistinct but well developed crimp, and short staple length. The staples are blocky in shape, with almost no luster. The extraordinary loft and elasticity of Targhee make it particularly suitable for fine, light, knitted and woven fabrics with good shape retention and crease resistance. In blends with other short fibers, Targhee adds loft and elasticity.

  • Suffolk

This is the most widespread breed in the United Kingdom, where it is used extensively as a sire for market lambs. It was developed in the nineteenth century from the crossing of Southdown rams with Norfolk Horn ewes. Suffolks have large bodies, and their dark brown faces and legs are free of wool. The short, down type fleece has large, rectangular staples with nearly flat tips. It is full-handling and springy. Dark hairy fibers form the legs can often be found in the fleece. Commercially, the wool is used for tweeds, flannels, hosiery, and hand knitting yarns.

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