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The Suffolk sheep breed comes from the United Kingdom, and it is raised primarily for meat. The breed was developed out of crossing the Norfolk Horned ewes with the Southdown rams and is an improvement over both of these breeds. It has several benefits over the ewes and rams as it can be easily maintained, its growth is excellent, and it is increasingly resistant to elf fire, a disease which affects most sheep.
The key purpose of ewes is the production of wool and meat, especially when crossed with the Welsh Mountain ewe. In 1810, the Suffolk sheep was revealed as a breed after crossing the Southdown rams and Norfolk Horned ewes (Tyne 30). However, the flock book remained in existence until a later time. In 1886, the English Suffolk society was established with the purpose of doing further research and registry service which promoted the utilization of the breed.
In 1930, the Southdowns were regarded as large sheep which did not feature horns and had black faces (Tyne 30). They have high shoulders even though from the sides, they did not look good. But they were full in the thigh, and a majority of these features are evident in the Suffolk of today. The first Suffolk were introduced into the U.S. in 1988 by Mr. Streeter who had been touring England and got interested in the breed. But it was not observed in the western states until 1919 after three of this sheep were donated to a university institution. From this time, several farmers identify this breed, and due to their unique and reasonable characteristics, a majority of them imported the Suffolk.
The Suffolk breed is one of the largest which have black faces and legs. Also, they are highly muscular, and the average weight of ram is between 110 to 160 kg (Geertman para 10). The breed can thrive in all environment especially since it has hard black feet. They have a high libido and are very active. The lambs are born with smooth shoulders and narrow heads although they can overcome a majority of the lamb problems. In a favorable environment, it only takes 9 to 12 weeks to grow into a mature sheep.
The Suffolk sheep is adaptable to all environments primarily due to the black face and hard feet. It can survive in wet conditions and has an immunity to illnesses related to the foot. Also, they have exceptional performance in a dry area, and the highly fertile rams can survive very well even in conditions which are hot. They are highly persistent to parasites due to the clean face and crutch which minimize the impact of the flies. The lambs have favorable features which limit the loss of life and supervision. It only takes up to 12 weeks for the Suffolk to mature and the weight may be further increased. The wool is one of the best especially if it crossbred with Merino. It may be readily used, and it is famous for its durability.
The mating of the Norfolk horned ewes with Southdown rams led to the development of the best breed of sheep. The Suffolk sheep are strong animals whose primary use is for the production of meat and wool. It is the most convenient in the market due to its adaptability to different environments and high resistance to illnesses and parasites.
Geertman, Title. Breeds of Livestock - Suffolk Sheep. 12 July 2012. .
Tyne, Tim. The Sheep Book For Smallholders. Michigan: Good Life Press, 2010.
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