The original Suffolks were the result of crossing Southdown rams on Norfolk Horned ewes. Apparently the product of this cross was a great improvement over either one of the parents. Although the Suffolk was a recognized breed as early as 1810, the flock book was not closed until much later.mIn 1930, Southdowns were described as large sheep without horns, dark faces and legs, fine bones and long small necks. They were low set in front with high shoulders and light forequarters; however, their sides were good, rather broad in the loin, and were full in the thigh and twist.
Today’s Suffolk derives its meatiness and quality of wool from the old original British Southdown. The Norfolk Horned sheep, now rare, were a wild and hardy breed. They were blackfaced, light, fleeced sheep. Both sexes were horned. The upland regions of Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridge on the southeastern coast of England are very rugged and forage is sparse. It was this dry, cold and windy area in which the Norfolk breed adapted itself to traveling great distances for food, thereby developing a superbly muscular body.
It was said at that time of the Norfolk Horned, “their limbs are long and muscular, their bodies are long and their general form betokens activity and strength.” This breed and its crosses were valued highly both by farmers and butchers. However, sheepmen of that day did not like the long legs, flat sides, nor wild nature of the Norfolk Horned. They noted that Southdowns crossed with Norfolk produced a progeny that reduced most of the criticisms of both breeds.
A leading domestic terminal sire breed in the UK and Ireland, Suffolk is one of the oldest, domestic British breeds, having been in existence since the late 1700s. Countless studies have shown that the Suffolk is the number one breed for growth rate, meaning Suffolk lambs are ready for market earlier. This leads to lower input costs. Other favourable characteristics of this breed include a extremely milky crossbred daughters, famously exhibited in the Suffolk X North of England mule.
Suffolk Sheep Characteristics
Suffolk sheep are among the large sheep breeds. They have black faces and legs. Their frame is large and they are usually highly muscular. Both rams and ewes are usually polled. Average live body weight of the mature Suffolk rams is between 110 and 160 kg. And average live body weight of the mature ewes vary from 80 to 160 kg
Suffolk, breed of medium-wool, dark-faced, hornless sheep developed in England during the years 1800 to 1850 by mating Norfolk horned ewes with Southdown rams. Suffolks are prolific, early maturing sheep with excellent mutton carcasses. They are energetic, and the whole carriage is alert, showing stamina and quality. The breed is not desirable for wool production. The fleeces are short in staple and light in weight, and they have black fibres. Introduced into the United States in 1888, the Suffolk is a popular lamb producer throughout the country, including the rangeland.
The majority of Suffolk are used for crossbreeding purposes. The rams are sold to farmers to impregnate ewes of other breeds. Suffolk rams apparently have a great libido and will work all year round, even throughout hot summer conditions. Suffolk ewes are also used for the production of crossbred lambs. They are exceptional mothers and often nurse twins, sometimes even triplets, and have minimal problems during birthing. Although the quality of pure Suffolk meat is high there is no established market in Australia. These sheep can be used for milking.
There is however some precedent for eating Suffolk meat. It is reported that the Emperor of Japan feeds his international guests Suffolk sheep. They are the only sheep he keeps and he also has them imported from Australia for his table. Suffolk wool is also a resource, however it is a short, dense wool that is in a different class from a fine Merino wool. It may also contain black wool, which reduces its appeal for spinning and yarn making. Suffolk wool is usually used for blanket making and as wadding in woolfilled doonas and quilts. When a Suffolk is crossbred with a white breed of sheep the resulting fleece is free from black.
Suffolk Sheep Price
$275.00 – $1,500.00