The British Milk sheep is a breed of domestic sheep from United Kingdom. As the name suggests, it is a milk sheep breed and raised mainly for milk production. It was developed by Lawrence Alderson in Wiltshire and Northumberland, and the breed was known as Alderbred previously. It was developed during the 1970s, but was established and released in 1980.
Along with availability in it’s native area the British Milk sheep was also exported to several other countries such as France, Greece and Hungary, and from there to some other neighboring countries. Today most of the animals are found in Canada, Hungary and in the United Kingdom.
Exact composition of the British Milk sheep breed has never been declared, but it was based on high-performance animals in existing flocks of Bluefaced Leicester, Dorset Horn and Eastrip Prolific sheep kept by the Alderson family. And additional individual animals were selected from East Friesian, Lleyn and Texel sheep breeds. Today the British Milk sheep is raised mainly as a milk sheep breed for producing milk. Read some more information about this breed below.
British Milk Sheep Characteristics
The British Milk sheep are large sized animals, and generally of white color. They are white-faced and clean headed animals. Both rams and ewes are generally polled. The mature rams on average weight around 103 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes is around 79 kg. Photo from The British Milksheep Society and info from Wikipedia.
As the name suggests, the British Milk sheep is a milk sheep breed. And it is raised mainly for milk production.
The British Milk sheep are extremely hardy and strong animals. They were exposed to rugged conditions in the upper Pennines in northern England for developing robustness and adaptability. The breed is the most prolific British sheep breed. The mature ewes on an average achieve a litter size of more than 3. Today the breed is raised mainly as a milk sheep breed, and average milk yield depends on the standard of management of the flock and can vary from 250 to more than 400 liters in a lactation. And their lactation period is around 210 days. Their milk is of very good quality, containing around 6 percent protein and around 6 percent fat.
Along with milk production, the breed is also pretty good for producing meat. They produce a heavy and lean carcass. Fleece of the British Milk sheep ranges in weight from 4 kg in ewes and over 6.5 kg in rams. Their wool is of pretty good quality with a spinning count of 50’s to 54’s with a staple length of 12 to 18 cm. However, review full breed profile of the British Milk sheep in the following chart.
British Milk Sheep | Breed Profile
|Breed Name||British Milk|
|Breed Purpose||Mainly milk|
|Special Notes||Hardy and strong animals, well adapted to almost all climates, exposed to rugged conditions in the upper Pennines in northern England, highly prolific, very good for milk production and the milk is of very good quality, pretty good for meat production, produce a heavy and lean carcass|
|Weight||Mature rams body weight is around 103 kg, and average live body weight of the mature ewes is around 79 kg|
|Climate Tolerance||Almost all climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||United Kingdom|