Monday, January 25, 2010

The Oxford breed comes from Oxfordshire, England and was developed in the 1830s through the crossing of Hampshires and Cotswolds. The resulting sheep combined the hardiness, muscling and wool quality of the Cotswold with the carcass quality and grazing ability of the Hampshire.

Oxford is the largest of the English “down” breeds, developed for the lush pastures on the hills, or downs, of southern England. They are related to the Southdown sheep that we have in that both are "down" breeds from England. Oxford sheep were imported into North America in the late 1840s.

We got our Oxford ewe from a farm in Gig Harbor, WA a few months ago, but are just now getting around to posting a picture. We unexpectedly had our first lambs of the season on last Thursday with the birth of a ewe and ram. The ram was very small and weak to start with so we have been feeding it ourselves and hoping that it gains strength quickly so it can manage on its own. It is almost like the ram lamb is about a week or two behind in its development when compared to his sister. The lambs are a very cute gray color with very long legs.

The primary reason for getting the Oxford is for our two boys and the fair. The Oxford ewe and the ewe lamb will be their primary show animal in the Northwest Washington Fair in August. The size and conformity will make it tough to beat in the show ring. The Oxfords are very large (we named her Twice My Size), but very easy to work with and not nearly as jumpy as our other sheep.

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