Castlemilk Moorit sheep are renowned for their high quality fleece which is tight and even throughout with little or no kemp. The moorit (reddish brown or light tan) fleece is naturally bleached at the tips and darker at the base. The staple length is short at 5-7.5cm and an average fleece weighs only 1kg (2-3lbs) and has a Bradford count of 48 – 50.
The breed originated early in the twentieth century on the Castlemilk Estate in Dumfriesshire, Scotland, where the late Sir Jock Buchanan-Jardine began a breeding programme using Manx Loaghtan, moorit Shetland and wild Mouflon to produce a breed to adorn his parkland and provide fine wool. However upon his death in 1970 the majority of the flock was culled and a few animals were dispersed. These sheep included six sheep and a ram, which were bought by Mr Joe Henson at the Cotswold Farm Park and all of today’s Castlemilk Moorits are descended from these few dispersed sheep.
The Castlemilk Moorit is one of the larger primitive (type) breeds with mature ewes weighing in the region of 40kgs (85lbs) and rams 55kgs (120lbs). Both sexes are horned.
In 1983 Mr. Joe Henson MBE founded a society dedicated to supporting these rare breed sheep and their owners: The Castlemilk Moorit Sheep Society are working alongside the Rare Breeds Survival Trust to protect, increase and promote the breed.
Numbers have grown considerably, with careful breeding, from the surviving sheep of the 1970s to recently being downgraded on the RBST Watchlist from category 2 (endangered, with less than 500 registered breeding ewes) to category 3 (vulnerable, 500-900 registered breeding ewes).
|Helen Dale||Good Life Meat Co|
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