Oxford Sheep

What is the history of Oxford Sheep?

The Oxford Down breed was developed in Great Britain from an admixture of Cotswold, Hampshire and Southdown blood.

It should be kept in mind that at the time the Oxford breed was established neither the Cotswold nor the Hampshires were the same as they are in modern times. Rather, they were strains of sheep that were themselves in the process of being improved.

It has been contented that very early in the development of the Oxford breed a small amount of Southdown blood was introduced. During the period from 1829 to 1850 the type of Oxfords was quite variable, and during early periods in their development they were sometimes referred to as the Down-Cotswold sheep because of their crossbreed nature.

It was not until after 1859 that the sheep were customarily referred to as Oxford Downs. The breed has never become prominent outside of its own native area in England.

Oxfords have been exported to many major sheep countries and have met with at least fair success in all and marked success in some.

What are the characteristics of Oxford Sheep?

  • The Oxford is a very large, hornless breed.
  • it is considered a very valuable sheep in the production of market lambs and heavy fleeces.
  • Oxford ewes are prolific, and lambing percentages of 150 percent are not uncommon.
  • The Oxford lambs are large and strong at birth, and most of the ewes will nurse twins with little effort.
  • The Oxford is a very good feeder, does well on an abundant feed supply, and is particularly adept at consuming large quantities of pasture and hay.
  • Oxford  Rams of the breed are very useful in crossing on small ewes to increase the weight and size of lambs marketed and to increase the wool production of the offspring that are retained in the flock as replacements.
  • The fleece of the Oxford is short, and the sheep has a brown face and legs covered in light brown wool.
  • Fleeces from mature Oxford ewes weigh between 8 and 12 pounds (3.6-5.4 kg) with a fiber diameter of 30.0 to 34.5 microns and a numerical count of 46 to 50.
  • The staple length of Oxford fleeces ranges from three to five inches (7.5-12.5 cm) and has a yield of 50 to 62 percent.

What is the weight of mature Oxford Sheep?

Oxford rams ranges from 90-130 kg, ewes are weighing between 75-95 kg.

Pictures by: Billesdons Oxford Down Sheep - Leicestershire https://www.facebook.com/billesdonsoxfords

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