Our Sheep

LONGWOOLS...

Longwool describes breeds of sheep that produce long wool. Romney, Leicester Longwool, Teeswater, Wensleysdale, Cotswold, and Lincoln Longwool are longwool breeds.  These old breeds originated in England and are the foundation of today’s modern sheep. Dual-purpose, producing quality wool and fine tasting meat;they are natural choice for small family farms. Historically longwool fiber was used to produce worsted yarn for fine suits and clothing. Longwools grew out of favor with industrialization. The machine carders and spinners can’t handle fiber over 6” long. The longwools produce fleeces that range from 7-14" a year, too long for the woolen mills to process.  By the 1930’s their numbers dwindled and today many longwool breeds face extinction.  Organizations like the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, living history museums, zoos, and small family farms work together to preserve these endangered breeds. We love many things about longwools. They have calm temperaments, great personalities, and are easy to work with. They have a strong flock orientation, make excellent mothers, have a high lamb survival rate, and thrive on pasture. On the downside, they aren't as prolific as modern or cross-bred sheep, are susceptible to internal parasites, and grow slowly often taking two or more years to reach their full size.