Ouessant Sheep Origin, Characteristics, Weight, Wool Quality

The Ouessant is a domestic sheep breed indigenous to the island of Ouessant off the Brittany coast. It is one of numerous Northern European short-tailed sheep varieties along with others from the U.k., Sweden, and Germany. It is also recognized as the Breton Dwarf and is among the world's smallest sheep breed.

The majority of Ouessant is dark brown or black in color but white ones do exist. Ewes are polled, and rams have considerably big horns. Till the turn of the 20th century, the Ouessant sheep breed was only found on its native land, and it is still a scarce sheep breed. Ewes are mainly raised for wool production and seldom have twins.

    Ouessant Sheep Characteristics

    The Ouessant is a fascinating and smart little sheep that stands no taller than about 19 inches at the shoulder for rams and 18 inches for ewes and approximately 3 inches shorter than the Soay, Britain's other miniature sheep. They are small, effective grazers with a weight limit of roughly 41 pounds. The small size is due to the island's limited grazing conditions, which necessitated the creation of little but productive sheep. Rams have horns that twist straight forward and are horned. 

    Ouessant Sheep Origin, Characteristics, Weight, Wool Quality

    Ouessant Sheep Origin

    The name Ouessant is derived from the island of Ouessant, which is located off the coast of Brittany. They are thought to be closely linked to the northern short-tailed breed, and their desired color is black, as the indigenous people of that area prefer to dress in black. Historically, the island had two bloodlines, Morbihan and Vendeen, which ultimately combined into the single line that exists today. 

    Ouessant Sheep Weight

    Ouessant sheep breed is small, quick grazers with a maximum weight of 41 lb. The island's inadequate grazing resources prompted the evolution of small but productive sheep. Rams have straight horns, which twist forward.

    Ouessant Sheep Wool Quality

    Despite the fact that such little sheep do not generate a significant amount of fleece, their wool accounts for a major amount of their body volume. Because the wool is dense and has a thick undercoat, many individuals have a dual coat. The average weight of fleece is 1.5-4# unskirted, and any color is desirable. The majority of color schemes are variations of moorit, and many white fleeces have a dark red undertone. 

    The wool usually covers the face, especially the forehead and cheeks, as well as the legs up to the hock. The locks are slightly open, and hair and kemp are visible, especially near the legs and neck. The hair is similar to the fleece texture and is often hard to separate.

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