MARKET OR WOOL SHEEP BREEDS
What is the Difference between Market vs Wool Sheep Breeds?
There are over 200 breeds of sheep in the world and they fall into basic categories of sheep: Meat and Wool.
Selecting the correct lamb for your class is important!
WHY MARKET BREEDS OVER WOOL BREEDS?
Primary Market Breeds Shown in the USA: Market breeds of sheep have a thick body and grow very fast, which is ideal for the fast market demands. Developing a heavy muscled body is a good trait for a market lamb. The most common breeds shown in the USA are the Hampshire & Suffolk sheep, although there are other market breeds. The primary reasons for picking the Hampshire or Suffolk breed is that they are hardy, fast growing, and thick bodied. Many market sheep today are crossbred, but depending on their color and markings, they are classified in a breed cloass. Sheep are cross bred to increase production and growth.
The sheep that we showed were all crossbred between Hampshire and Suffolk breeds. The most dominant breed characteristic or trait of each lamb would determine which market class we had to show in. The lamb on the left looked more like the Suffolk breed with the solid black head and smooth black legs and we had to show her in the Suffolk classes. The Hampshire cross in the other pictures was shown in the Hampshire class because of the furry forehead and legs.
Picking one breed over another is a matter of preference, availability or choice. If I had two kids showing sheep in a close age range, I might select two different breeds so that they would be showing in different classes…and not against each other. Disclaimer: We tried this one year with our pigs….and they ended up being categorized into the same class at the same weight. So that strategy didn’t work! The funny part is that the judge noticed that the boys (twins) looked exactly alike! He commented on them after the class and said that he thought his eyes were playing tricks on him!
Wool Breeds: Wool breeds are designed to focus on developing hair/wool and not meat and body. Under all that wool is a thinner body. Not exactly a good choice for a market class. But there is no arguing that they can be cute as could be like these sheep! It would be like comparing the dairy breeds to the market breeds…totally different body types! So be sure you are picking a market breed for your project.
Aren’t these so cute?