The White Polled Heath sheep is a small breed and landrace of North German sheep. It belongs to the Heidschnucke family, and part of the Northern European short-tailed sheep group.
It is also known as the Moorschnucke in Germany, and German: Weiße Hornlose Heidschnucke. But the breed is entirely white in color and polled, unlike the other Heidschnucke types.
The White Polled Heath sheep actually originated from the moorlands or bogs of Lower Saxony in North Germany.
It is said that, the breed was bred by crossing a hornless, plain-wool landrace with a population of grey, horned German Grey Heath. These animals were kept for centuries on the moorlands of North Germany.
This polled variety was separated from the horned variety in 1922, and was then called the Moorschnucke or White Polled Heath. Read some more information about this breed below.
White Polled Heath Sheep Characteristics
The White Polled Heath sheep is a small to medium sized animal. As the name suggests, these animals are white in color and they are polled.
They are dual-coated, graceful landrace with a small frame. They have an elongated head and ears that lie at an angle. Their bone structure is light and delicate, and their hoofs are light-colored and very hard.
And their tail is naturally short. Average body height of the mature rams is around 22-24 inches at the shoulder, and around 18-20 inches for the ewes.
Average live body weight of the mature White Polled Heath rams is between 60 and 70 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 40 to 50 kg. Photo and info from Wikipedia.
The White Polled Heath sheep are used for many different purposes. They are used for meat, wool and also for vegetation management.
The White Polled Heath sheep are strong animals. They are well suited to the life on the moors and are even able to get themselves out of bog holes.
They are very hardy animals, and can even walk through knee-high water. The breed is an excellent choice and is best suited to nature reserves, conservation areas and grazing of bogs and wet areas.
Meat of these animals is considered a delicacy, and is leaner and darker than that of other sheep breeds. As a result of extensive sheep rearing and feeding, the meat retains a spicy and gamey flavor.
Natural diet of the White Polled Heath sheep include some plants such as fungi, lichens, mosses, purple moor grass, sedge, sorrel and herbaceous plants includes bell heather, bog bilberry, bilberry, birch, common heather, cross-leaved heath, cranberry, crowberry and pine.
Currently these animals are mainly reared on raised bog regions and dry grasslands in North and Central Germany. And today, the breed is bred mainly in the Diepholz moor depression.
But original range of these animals was the districts of Diepholz, Nienburg and Rotenburg.
Currently the White Polled Heath sheep are raised for meat production. And they are also very good for wool production and conservation grazing. However, review full breed profile of this sheep breed in the following chart.
|Breed Name||White Polled Heath|
|Other Name||Also known as the Moorschnucke in Germany, and German: Weiße Hornlose Heidschnucke|
|Breed Purpose||Meat, wool, vegetation management|
|Special Notes||Very hardy and active animals, well suited to the life on the moors and are even able to get themselves out of bog holes, very good for conservation grazing, meat of these animals is considered a delicacy, their meat is leaner and darker that that of other sheep breeds, also good for wool production|
|Weight||Mature rams weight vary between 60 and 70 kg, and ewe’s body weight vary from 40 to 50 kg.|
|Climate Tolerance||Native climates|
|Country/Place of Origin||Germany|