The origins of Gotland sheep
Gotland sheep are a Northern Short-Tail breed originally from the island of Gotland, where primitive examples still exist. There has been controlled breeding and intensive selection in Sweden since the 1920’s, and this has produced the modern Gotland.
The Gotland sheep
The modern Gotland sheep is famous for its curly lustrous furskin in attractive shades of silver grey. Although the breed is prized for its furskin, it is a genuine multipurpose longwool sheep. It produces three crops
- good flavoured meat,
- a soft silky lustre fleece
- the furskins.
Advantages of the Gotland sheep
Gotland sheep have many desirable qualities. Ewes are easy to lamb, prolific, milky and very motherly. Their lambs are quick to suckle and fast growing from birth. The breed is hardy and adaptable to a variety of management systems. This means that both pure and half bred Gotland ewes are suitable for commercial extensive and rough grazing environments. They are a genuine multipurpose, three crop, medium sized sheep that have an attractive friendly nature, and give that something extra.
The fleece of Gotland sheep
The Gotland has a dense long lustrous fine fleece that is usually silver grey or grey. It can occasionally be black, white or brown. It has a clearly even curl and staple and is soft to the touch. Spun yarn can be used to make soft delicate garments or weatherproof outdoor wear. If dyed it is possible to get very subtle modified shades. It is one of the few fleeces that is excellent for felt making.
Technical information about the fleece
- Fleece weight 3-3.5 Kg
- Staple length 13-18 cm
- Bradford count averages 48
- Micron measurement averages 35 (but can be as fine as 18-20)