Romney on the Farm
Romney sheep originated in marshy areas of Kent, England. Being native to the area’s cold, humid, and rainy climate, Romney sheep is distinguished by its remarkable fitness and hardiness. The sheep is very disease resistant. It is especially known for its resistance to foot rot and liver flukes.
Romney sheep has a quiet predisposition and easy trainability making it a popular small flock breed. In spite of its great features, the breed continues to improve. Crossbreeding it with Leicester makes Romney even better.
Uses of Romney Sheep
After its export to New Zealand, this dual-purpose sheep became one of the most important sources of wool and meat export in the country’s economy comprising about 40% of New Zealand’s flock.
Romney flocks are very prolific and fast-growing. The yearling rams weigh from 175 to 275 pounds. The ideal market weight of 110-120 pounds is reached in four-to-six months.
Romney meat is known for its low fat and delicate flavor. The fleece has great luster and long parallel fibers with the minimal crossing of the locks.
Romney fleece has uniform and parallel fibers, medium crimp, and curled tips.
Rainy and windy conditions created sheep with durable and weather-resistant wool.
Romney wool, measuring 29-36 microns in diameter (50s-44s), is the finest fiber among the long-wool breeds. The crimp is uniform from butt to tip. Romney wool is a fiber of choice for hand spinners and a perfect fiber for beginners.
The wool has minimal shrinking with washing due to low grease content, making it a high-yielding fleece. It is sheared once or twice per year. Ewes shear 8 or more pounds per year and rams produce 12 or more pounds of fleece per year. The annual staple length is four to six inches.
Romney wool is used for coats and sweaters, drapes, carpets, and upholstery. It’s not soft like Merino, but it is very durable. The durability makes it ideal for hard working conditions.
A lamb fleece of 30 microns or less may be used for sweaters on its own or as a blend with finer fibers for added luster.
The color of Romney fleece varies from white to gray, black, brown, or variegated.
Romney Marsh is a parent breed to Coopworth, Perendale, Romeldale, and California Variegated Mutant.
- American Romney Breeders Association. About Romneys. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Sep 9]. Available at: https://americanromney.org/about-romneys/
- Wikipedia. Romney Sheep. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Sep 9]. Available at: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romney_sheep
- Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand. Romney – a spinner’s notes. [Internet]. [cited 2018 Sep 9].