Manx Loaghtan Sheep

What Is The History Of Manx Loaghtan Sheep?

The Manx Loaghtan is one of the Northern European short-tailed sheep breeds, their ancestors are thought to go back to the Iron Age and descends of Soay, Hebridean, Shetland, Boreray and North Ronaldsay sheep once found throughout Scotland, the Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Scandinavia and Iceland.

The Manx Loaghtan is a small, primitive sheep, one of the rare breeds of sheep on the watch list of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust.

Manx Loaghtan, one of the rarest breeds of British Isles was down to less than 100 in 1950, today there are several thousands. Since 1973 the Rare Breeds Survival Trust and people have come again to appreciate the wool and meat which is naturally low in fat and cholesterol.

In 2009 The National Trust for Jersey brought 20 breeding Manx Loaghtan ewes and two rams to the island in an attempt to re-establish the animal on the island. In 2020 there are now almost 400 Manx Loaghtan sheep grazing on the island's north coast to maintain landscape.

What Are The Characteristics Of Manx Loaghtan Sheep?

  • The Manx Loaghtan is a small sheep, they take longer to reach maturity than modern hybrids.
  • The Manx Loaghtan is a hardy mountain sheep, adapt to the challenging cold, windy and wet weather conditions.
  • Manx Loaghtan usually have impressive two, four and occasionally 6 horns.
  • The horns are generally small on the ewes but larger and stronger on the males.
  • Mothering instincts is excellent.
  • Offspring are born in March and twins rate is 1.5.
  • They usually lamb without any help and are not prone to many of the conditions affecting modern sheep.
  • Lambs average birth weight is around 3 kg.
  • The lambs are long legged, small and almost black at birth but soon turn a dark chocolate brown that over the next 6-8 months will become the same lighter colour of the adults.
  • The Manx Loaghtan’s are on locally grown whole grain and pasture, as they digest their food much more slowly, meat is low in fat and cholesterol.
  • These animals sold for meat aged between 15 and 18 months.
  • Wool colour is dark brown, the fleece next to the skin is a dark tan colour.
  • The wool is heavily oiled and excellent for hand spinning.
  • The staplelength of the wool is varies between 70mm to 100mm.

What Is The Weight Of Manx Loaghtan Sheep? 

Mature Manx Loaghtan ewes weighing about 40kg and Manx Loaghtan rams weigh around 45 to 50 kg.

Pictures: Hanifi Cetin Katirci - Jersey

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