One other factor that affected the original bloodlines was that the Southdown could not satisfy the consumer demand for larger meat cuts. Mock continued his extensive search, and by 1990, he was able to find a total of 350 of the Southdown sheep that had the original bloodlines, and many of them still carried their original Southdown registration papers recognized by the UK. The Southdown breed is the oldest of the "down" sheep. During the interwar years, the United Kingdom was known for farm animal breeding, and pedigreed Southdowns were still being exported to most parts of the world, especially New Zealand. It is a medium to small sized breed with a gray to mouse-brown face and lower legs and is polled (hornless). An estimated 110,000 sheep were in Sussex as early as 1341. After a four-year search, two small flocks totaling 26 sheep were located; however, this group was not able to provide a sustainable gene pool. Folded flocks were no longer economical and smaller flocks averaged only 135 ewes apiece. Deep over the heart, but not too wide. SOUTHDOWN SHEEP QUICK PROFILE OVERVIEW. The 20th century brought the establishment of pedigree recording. These small sheep were know for their extreme hardiness and produced meat with unmatched tenderness and flavor then any other breed of sheep. . They are sturdy, wide, deep, compact and refined. This divergence from the original breed standards was the beginning of what later became two distinct lines in the US. In California and New Zealand, they are placed in vineyards to graze weeds because they are too short to reach the grapes on the vines. Skin pink. Ears of medium size and covered with short wool. Shoulders neither too wide nor too narrow and top level with the back. In the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries, they were found in large numbers, especially in the South Downs near Lewes. The principal reason for the large concentrations of Southdown sheep on downland farms over these centuries was their role in the maintenance of soil fertility. Sheep farming declined further after the war, although it is now being encouraged again through the designation of the downland as an environmentally sensitive area, and the restoration of arable land to sheepwalk. Southdown are an early maturing breed with good lambing ability and average milk production. Their body is wide, deep and refined. The color of their body … The staple length ranges from 1.5 to 2.5 inches (4-6 cm).. The original Southdown breed probably reached the United States in 1803. Their popularity grew because the Southdowns were very easy to take care of and were resilient to many problems for which other sheep are known. Much remained the same until the First World War, when the Southdown flocks declined with some rapidity, as shepherds and farm workers went off to war. They later declined in nearly the same pattern that had occurred in England. From then until 1939, the registered Southdown flocks numbered around 200. It has been split into two sub-breeds. The fleeces are considered medium-wool type with a fiber diameter of 23.5 to 29.0 microns and a numerical count of 54 to 60. Hair of an even mouse colour. Each sheep's registration application was passed before a board of three members of the soon to be formed Olde English Southdown Registry. Ribs well sprung. One of the oldest of the English breeds of sheep is the Southdown, originating on the South Down hills of Sussex County, England. Horn of hoof black. The original blood line of the English Southdowns are the Olde English 'Babydoll' Southdown sheep in the US. Wide, level between the ears with no sign of horn.
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