The Lincoln sheep (also known as Lincoln Longwool) is a dual-purpose breed of domestic sheep originated from United Kingdom.
It is the largest breed of British sheep, which was developed specially for producing the heaviest, longest and most lustrous fleece of any breed in the world.
Today the breed is available in many countries throughout the world. And a huge numbers of these animals were exported to many countries for improving the size and wool quality of their native sheep breeds.
High quality fleece of the Lincoln sheep is in great demand for weaving, spinning and many other crafts. But the breed is pretty rare in Britain, and categorized as ‘at risk‘ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.
And there are fewer than 1500 registered breeding Lincoln ewes available in the United Kingdom.
The Lincoln sheep is a pretty old breed. And it is said that ‘the modern Lincoln sheep is the result of crossing the Leicester and the coarse native sheep breeds of Lincolnshire’.
The breed was first imported into the United States at the end of the 18th century. But it has never become a very popular breed in the United States.
But the breed has had it’s importance in the centralized states and Idaho and Oregon producing purebred, grade, or crossbred rams for use on fine-wool range ewes.
But the breed has been usually more popular in Canada than in the United States.
The Lincoln sheep breed arrived in New Zealand in the 1840s, although the main importation was not until twenty years later.
And there these animals were used in the water, lower farmland areas like Leicester, where the Merino sheep which was the dominant breed at that time was not suited.
And it was the main breed to be used with Merino sheep for developing the Carriedale.
The Lincoln sheep was eventually replaced by the Romney sheep in New Zealand, and today total number of these animals has reduced to a few thousand only which are used for crossing for producing the Halfbred.
Currently the Lincoln sheep is available in many countries throughout the world. And these animals were exported in large numbers to Australia, Europe, Ireland, New Zealand, Brazil, Canada and several other South American countries.
The National Lincoln Sheep Association was founded in the United States in 1891. However, read some more information about this breed below.
Lincoln Sheep Characteristics
The Lincoln sheep are large sized animals with deep body. They are probably the world’s largest breed of sheep. They may be completely white or colored, including shades of black, charcoal, gray and silver.
They are straight and strong in the back and cover thickly as mature sheep. Sometimes, they lack fullness through the leg and appear somewhat upstanding when in short fleece.
Fleece of the Lincoln is carried in heavy locks that are often twisted into a spiral near the end. They have large, lean and well-muscled carcass.
They have a larger and bolder head than that of the other long-wooled sheep breeds. Both rams and ewes are usually polled.
Average live body weight of the mature Lincoln rams is between 110 and 160 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 91 to 113 kg. Photo and info from ansi.okstate.edu and Wikipedia.
Lincoln sheep are dual-purpose animals. They are raised for both meat and wool production. But they are specially noted for their wool production.
The Lincoln sheep are sturdy animals, but they are usually docile in terms of temperament. The Lincoln sheep is to be considered only average in prolificacy.
Because the mature ewes are easy feeders, they sometimes become over-conditioned and do not breed as readily as breeds that have less aptitude to take on fat. These animals are hearty eaters.
They make excellent use of an abundance of high-quality roughage or pasture. They are well suited to dry and cold conditions, and they have a level of resistance to footrot.
Lambing percentage of these animals is generally around 150 percent. And considering the size of the adult animals, the lambs are smaller in size and few lambing problems are experienced with these animals.
Once the Lincoln sheep breed was renowned as a mutton producer, but today it is highly valued as a wool sheep breed for it’s high quality wool. However, review full breed profile of the Lincoln sheep in the chart below.
|Other Name||Lincoln Longwool|
|Breed Purpose||Meat and wool|
|Special Notes||Very hardy and strong animals, docile in terms of temperament, average in prolificacy, hearty eaters, make excellent use of an abundance of high-quality pasture or roughage, well suited to dry and cold conditions, have a level of resistance to footrot, lambing percentage is usually around 150 percent, the lambs are smaller in sized, the ewes have no or a few lambing problems|
|Weight||Mature rams weight between 110 and 160 kg. And mature ewe’s average live body weight vary from 91 to 113 kg|
|Climate Tolerance||All climates|
|Color||White or colored|
|Country/Place of Origin||United Kingdom|
Lincoln Sheep Facts
Here are some interesting facts about Lincoln sheep.
- Origin: Lincoln sheep originated in the Lincolnshire region of England in the 18th century. They were developed from crossing local breeds of sheep with long-wooled sheep from Spain and the Middle East. Lincoln sheep were first imported to the United States in the 19th century and have been bred in North America ever since.
- Appearance: Lincoln sheep are a large breed of sheep, with rams weighing up to 250 pounds and ewes weighing up to 200 pounds. They have a distinctive appearance, with long, curly wool that can reach up to 14 inches in length. Their wool is prized for its quality and is used for a variety of products, including clothing, blankets, and rugs.
- Temperament: Lincoln sheep are known for their gentle and docile temperament. They are friendly and social animals that are easy to handle and work with. This makes them a popular choice for hobby farmers and small-scale sheep farmers.
- Hardy Breed: Lincoln sheep are a hardy breed that can adapt to a variety of climates and environments. They are well-suited to cold and damp climates and can thrive in areas with poor grazing conditions. They are also resistant to many common sheep diseases and parasites, making them a low-maintenance breed to keep.
- Dual Purpose: Lincoln sheep are considered a dual-purpose breed, meaning they are used for both their wool and their meat. While their wool is highly prized, their meat is also popular and is known for its tenderness and flavor.
- Slow Maturing: Lincoln sheep are slow to mature, with rams reaching maturity at around 2 years old and ewes at around 1.5 years old. This slow maturing process is thought to contribute to the high quality of their wool and meat.
- Conservation Status: Lincoln sheep are listed as a rare breed by the Livestock Conservancy, with fewer than 1,500 breeding animals registered in the United States. This makes them an important breed to conserve and protect for future generations.
- Excellent Grazers: Lincoln sheep are excellent grazers and are well-suited for pasture-based farming systems. They are able to graze on a variety of forage types and are particularly fond of grasses and legumes.
- High Fertility: Lincoln sheep are known for their high fertility rates, with ewes often giving birth to twins or triplets. This makes them a popular breed for farmers looking to increase their flock size quickly.
- Long Lifespan: Lincoln sheep have a long lifespan, with some sheep living up to 10-12 years old. This is longer than many other breeds of sheep, which typically live for 5-7 years.