The Corriedale sheep breed is one of the oldest surviving crossbreeds in the world, having been first developed by crossing Merino ewes with Lincoln and Leicester rams.
The breed was first developed, almost simultaneously, in Australia and New Zealand in the late 1800’s. It was further developed throughout the years until approximately 1914 when it was first exported to the US. The breed was later used in the development of the Gromark breed.
The main aim when developing the breed was to produce a breed which could thrive in areas of low rainfall, whilst also supplying long-stapled wools. The original breeder was a man called James Little and the breed received its name from a property on the South Island in New Zealand.
The breed is now found throughout Australia, New Zealand, the US, South Africa, Asia and South America. In fact, the breed is one of the most popular breeds of domestic sheep in South America and is the most popular sheep in Uruguay.
After the Merino breed, the Corriedale is said to be the second most significant and popular domestic breed in the world.
Uses and Characteristics -
The Corriedale breed is dual-purpose, kept for both meat and wool production.
They are mainly raised for wool and produce high-yielding wools at a fiber diameter of 25-30microns. A ewe, on average, will produce between 4.5-7.7kgs of wool at staple length of between 3.5-6 inches. Their wool is highly sought-after by hand spinners. In general, they are a large framed breed, with a broad body and no horns. Their wool is white in colour, dense and very soft. Lambs also have a high pelt value.
As mentioned, the Corriedale breed is also raised for meat purposes. At full maturity, a Corriedale ram should weigh between 79-125kgs, with ewes ranging in weight from 59 to 82 kgs. Their meat is known to be of high quality.
The breed is also famed for its hardy nature and they live long, productive lives. They are a very docile breed and can adapt to almost any climate. Ewes have excellent maternal skills and are also extremely fertile.
One of the oldest surviving crossbreeds remaining, the Corriedale is now over 130 years old and still going strong.