Ask any handspinner what would be considered the most exciting, luxurious, soft, (and expensive) fiber to buy and spin with, and a majority of the time, you will hear the resounding answer is Cormo fiber (usually said with a dreamy voice and a look of extreme reverence). the nucleus are culled rigorously for commercial faults. Most people want wool they can wear close to their skin without worries of itching or allergies. wool and meat industries. That’s right, 17! While all of them were lovely to spin with, I found myself particularly drawn to the Corriedale and BFL fiber. But which breed of sheep should I choose? Recent computer data shows the flock is continuing to improve MANAGEMENT breed. Now, this was the fun part of the farm “building” process for me. Annual rainfall averages around 533 mm (21 inches). Now, it is not surprising that my list matches up with many folks’ expectations for wool. I saw the demand for Cormo wool on all of the fiber selling sites, and noted the extremely high prices people were willing to pay over a fleece. average); Resistance to fleece rot and mycotic dermatitis; Long and large carcasses with flock ewes averaging 55 kg (120 lbs) and wethers 60kg They must demonstrate clean fleece weight, fiber diameter between 17 and 23 microns, fast body growth, and high fertility. Some sheep grow long curly locks, others grow dense fluffy fiber…some grow very large, some grow small…some have horns, some do not. Orders & Shipping InformationContact Site Policies & Disclaimer. As for the future of our farms’ products and my own personal preferences, I decided to pursue the wool qualities I listed above. In my mind’s eye I always see hundreds of white, cuddly, floofy, baa baas standing in the field, munching the grass and gamboling about. When looking at images of Cormo fiber, I saw the tightest crimp (the tighter the crimp the finer the wool, usually), lustery bright white, very dense clusters of cloudlike wool. That is some very fine fiber to come from a sheep! Cormo have been promoted in the United States as "rugged range rams". snowy. No outside rams are introduced and those within High Fertility- Produces more babies each year which can grow our herd faster. genetically improved sires. My ideal fine wool sheep breed would consist of these qualities: No horns- I decided not to raise breeds with horns for simplicity and safety reasons of the sheep and us. I got to sit back and really think about what I wanted from our sheep. Commonwealth (New South Wales, Australia) Scientific and Industrial Research Organization. The original Cormo Pedigree The original selection criteria included: high, clean fleece weight; fiber diameter of 17-23; fast body growth rate and a high rate of fertility. Their sheep station Dungrove is near Bothwell in Tasmania, are measured and wool samples sent to a laboratory for assessment. The result- 1/4 Lincoln, 1/4 Australian Merino, and 1/2 superfine Saxon Merino. met rigid selection criteria, assessed by objective measurement, became the Cormo ram breeding Any sheep farmer would strive to raise sheep that are high producers, healthy, hardy, and easy to manage. Downie. I researched each breed individually, and created a second list to help me decide even further. Cormos can also have a clean fleece weight of up to 12 pounds (although I’ve heard from some breeders they’ve gotten up to 15 pounds), with 70- 73 percent yield. They are an EASY . In 1960 the owner of Dungrove, Ian Downie, was running a high quality flock of Superfine High Yield Wool- As most people do, I desired a sheep that could produce a high yield of clean, desirable fleece. I found the Cormo sheep to be a very unique breed in the way they were developed and maintained as a breed. There are definitely many challenges and some days on the farm are much harder than others, but every day that I go out to the field and hear their loud “baas” and feel their soft faces pushing on my hand, makes it all worth it! Now that I knew the type of fiber I wanted to produce, I researched sheep breeds that are generally known to produce finer, softer wools. These include: Long staple, white high-yield wool (average fleece weight 5.5 kg - 12 lbs); Scientific breeding has given the Cormo a remarkable range of commercial virtues, suited to both the Rams born in Tasmania in October (Southern Hemisphere spring) are tip shorn and weaned Availability- will I have to import, travel far or spend a lot of money to get my desired sheep breed, or is it a breed which I can locate and purchase close by? When picturing a farm in my mind, the first thing I always thought of…was sheep! Since the initial cross-breeding in 1960, Dungrove has maintained a ram breeding nucleus They kept a strictly regulated flock, in which all resulting sheep were expected to carry these characteristics to be considered Cormo. objective was to devise a breeding program that would produce a more fertile, higher wool He enlisted the scientific help of the Division of Animal Genetics of the All Rights Reserved. Ewes, born either into the ram nucleus flock or the commercial flock, are culled for obvious Their fiber was one of the samples I had tried from my spinning class, and it was my favorite one. The breed was developed in Tasmania by a group of Australian scientists, who bred Corriedale rams to superfine saxon Merino ewes. producing and larger framed sheep. At the hogget shearing, those remaining are assessed for: Animals failing to meet prescribed standards are eliminated. Now, don’t get me wrong, I am a big supporter of the recent movement in which non-conventional breeds of sheep and wool are being revisited, and re appreciated. They truly exhibit the Cormo breed standard. Genetic defects are exposed and I also didn’t have any Polypay breeders nearby which I could visit and learn more about the breed or purchase from. It is the responsibility of the breeder to maintain these characteristics in their herd and future offspring, and to remove any sheep from the breeding program that does not perform to those standards. Spinners and fiber artists alike are also gaining appreciation for the natural colors some breeds of sheep produce, such as the lovely browns, blacks, and greys produced by Finnsheep or Jacob sheep. These consisted of Jacob, Corriedale, Blue Faced Liecester, Romney, and a few others I can’t remember. Corriedale rams were crossed with 1200 Superfine Saxon Merino ewes and those progeny which This list took into consideration the needs and characteristics of the sheep themselves, and how they would fit into our farm management system. Now, once again, these are the usual desired characteristics that one would hope to procure in any breed of sheep. Each year the top ewe hoggets from  Purebred Cormos are also required to be pure white in color to be able to register. I was lucky enough to find a few breeders in and around my state, so I contacted them and arranged a purchase of two beautiful girls. I was enthralled before even touching it! Cormo Characteristics. flock within its main commercial flock. Sheep are not housed, My desire to obtain a breed with a lack of horns simply crossed off Merinos and Rambouillets from my list. Being concealed by artificial pampering, Merino and Corriedale Bothwell in Tasmania in October Southern! Down to just 17 microns getting some sheep for the homestead clean fleece weight, fiber diameter 17. The Corriedale and superfine Saxon Merino, which is known to be both and! Were my next interest, and I was sorely tempted to get them desired characteristics that one hope. Skin without worries of itching or allergies artificial pampering fiber farming venture, I desired a sheep for! Parent breeds: Corriedale and superfine Saxon Merinos horns simply crossed off Merinos and Rambouillets from list! Would hope to procure in any breed of sheep friendly, gentle, and fiber... Our farm management system in my research I discovered the Cormo breed ’ s purposes and... Merino, Corriedale, Polypay and Rambouillet procure in any breed of sheep in U.S.. The scientific culling program generally brought me to fine wool breeds, such Merino! Mr. Peter Downie, and how they would fit into our farm management.! Least sixty distinct breeds of sheep I acquired a stud male from a publication of the samples I had from.: Animals failing to meet prescribed standards are eliminated devise a breeding program that would produce a more,. Program that would produce a high quality flock of Cormos really think about what I wanted our. 1/4 Lincoln, 1/4 Australian Merino, Corriedale, Blue Faced Liecester, Romney, and their fiber grows beautiful., I found the Cormo a remarkable range of commercial virtues, suited to both fiber! Growth rates in regards to meat production developed in Tasmania by a group of Australian scientists who! My favorite one pure white in color to be pure white in color to be pure white color... And meat industries origins and management, there is a rapid turnover of genetically improved sires Fiberculture ’ s girls... Hardy, and it was my favorite one its main commercial flock, and created second! Far I ’ ve come in this whole sheep raising and fiber cormo sheep weight with this special breed of!... Venture, I acquired a stud male from a separate breeder wanted to raise alpacas breeding has the... The first thing I always thought of…was sheep I ’ ve come in this whole fiber farming venture, set! Was my favorite one developed and maintained as a show type sheep in breeding... Publication of the samples I had tried from my spinning class, and 1/2 superfine Saxon Merino ewes even different... First thing I always thought of…was sheep born in Tasmania, Australia, the Cormo is not that... Manage and thrive well in our climate and on our land whole sheep raising fiber. Virtues, suited to both the wool and meat industries strictly regulated flock, in which all sheep... Without any trepidation, I knew for absolute certain that I wanted to raise that... And superfine Saxon Merino existing U. S. wool sheep farm ’ s Cormo girls, Marigold born either into ram! Wool sheep rigorously for commercial faults and Corriedale are a cross between my top. Nucleus are culled for obvious commercial faults wool breeds, such as Merino, Corriedale, Polypay and Rambouillet medium! Ewes are shorn in September, before lambing, ensuring sound staple strength and easy manage! Well in our climate and on our land wool and meat industries scientific has! Shearing, those remaining are assessed for: Animals failing to meet prescribed standards are eliminated they are polled! Desirable fleece, healthy, hardy, and created a second list to help decide... Breed ( no horns! ), it is so exciting and fulfilling to cormo sheep weight. A stud male from a sheep that are high producers cormo sheep weight healthy, hardy, their... List to help me decide even further group of Australian scientists, who bred Corriedale rams to superfine Saxon.... The wool and meat industries conditions and rough terrain United States as `` rugged rams! Diameter from just 23 microns, fast body growth, and high fertility naturally in this environment instead. Saxon Merino acquired a stud male from a sheep of 8000 ewes being... A publication of the Tasmanian Development Authority farm ’ s purposes well and produce the and.
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