The Wensleydale is a very large longwool
sheep, described by the British Meat and Livestock Commission
as "probably the heaviest of all our indigenous breeds."
It is a visually striking sheep, having a bold and alert
carriage accentuated by its broad, level back and heavy
muscling in the hindquarters. White Wensleydales possess
a distinctive deep blue head and ears, which should be clean
except for a well-developed forelock of wool. Colored Wensleydales
are seen from darkest black to palest silver with many shades
and patterns in between. Both sexes are polled.
Today the breed is established throughout
the United Kingdom and extends into mainland Europe.
- Mature weight: Rams -300 lbs.
Ewes - 250lbs.
- Average prolificacy: Yearling
ewe - 200% Mature ewes - 250%.
- Twin lambs will average 13 pounds
each at birth with a growth rate that enables ram lambs
to reach 160 lbs. at 21 weeks.
- Average lamb weight at 8 weeks:
Singles - 57 lbs. Twins - 48 lbs.
is the finest and most valuable luster longwool in the world.
Average micron count of Wensleydale
fleece is 33-35 with a staple length of 8-12 inches and
an annual fleece weight of 13-20 pounds.
Wensleydale fleeces are entirely
kemp free as a result of the unique characteristics of the
wool-producing follicles. This special quality is genetically
transmitted to cross-bred lambs, characterizing the Wensleydale
ram as perhaps the leading wool improving sire in the world.
standards have been set by the
Wensleydale Longwool Breeders Association, U.K.
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