Devon Closewool sheep at Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park
The breed is quiet and easily managed. Lambing percentages are usually between 150-179%. Ewes remain prolific and productive for up to 7 crops and hold their teeth well. Rams are fertile over a long working life (6-7 years).
- A medium sized white faced sheep without horns, and a good fleece of wool, it has a good bone, standing on stout legs set apart giving it a very symmetrical appearance.
- Ewes weigh around 60-62kg and rams, 100kg.
- The nostrils are black, the ears short being covered with fine white hair.
- The neck is short and thick well set in to the shoulders, the ribs are well spring with good depth.
- The back is well set up, is big and wide, and the leg of mutton is well let down.
History of the Devon Closewool sheep
The Devon Closewool is primarily a grassland sheep and is very hardy, having a docile temperament. This makes the Closewool an ideal sheep for the first time flockmaster, or the commercial farmer looking for an easy care, low input sheep.
The breed arose around the mid-1800s when Exmoor Horn sheep were crossed with Devon Longwools – the resultant intermediate-sized sheep proved very popular and expanded rapidly in numbers.
By 1950 there were around 229,000, almost all of them located in Devon, making them the most numerous breed in the county at that time.
The Devon Closewool Sheep Breders Society was formed in 1923, but this breed of sheep has been in existence for well over 100 years, the original home being Exmoor and its borders, but now the breed is much more widespread.
A small flock is recorded as having been exported to Canada in 1947, and the breed has also been exported to New Zealand.
They are threatened due to geographical concentration, most of the breed is concentrated on Exmoor. In 2015 a new flock was established in Suffolk to help reduce this threat
Rare Breeds Survival Trust
Jimmy’s Farm & Wildlife Park is proud to be a member of the RBST, whose mission is to ensure we do not lose the diversity of our native breeds. They do this through a programme of monitoring, saving and promoting the breeding & registration of rare and native breeds.
Meet some more of our rare breeds
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