Sheeps with naturally coloured wool are found occasionally in most breeds. There are two colour ranges from black to pale grey, and from brown to pale cream. The conformation of the sheep and the characteristics of their wool vary from one breed to another.
A breed can be selected according to the objectives of the owner. Most breeders would probably come into the hobby category, with less than 50 sheep.
The values of running coloured sheep are –
- To produce handcraft fleeces for hand spinning, hooked rugs, woven rugs, and felting
- Processing into yarn for knitting, crocheting and weaving
- Look pretty
All sheep must be
- Shorn at least once a year
- Drenched (dosed) for parasites
- Dipped (you can use a pour-on)
- Crutched to keep tail ends clean
- In some areas, treated to prevent flystrike
Other care needed will depend on local conditions, and on whether you are breeding lambs.
If you are just looking for attractive lawnmowers any healthy sheep breed that suits your climate will do fine. You may even be given ‘castoff’ black sheep from a white flock.
However, if you are hoping to produce quality wool for sale to handcrafters, you will need to select your sheep carefully from a breeder who specialises in this. A good place to see and buy quality natural coloured sheep is at the NZ Black & Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association sheep sale held annually in Waimate in late January (check website for details) or by contacting a breeder who advertises sheep for sale on our website.
On small blocks, with good management sheep can pay their way, and coloured sheep, in particular, can be an absorbing interest. Top-quality fleeces, (especially naturally coloured) are sought after by handcrafters, and prices are much higher than for commercial wool. A very high standard is required, in wool type and in care and attention to both sheep and wool. Each fleece must be carefully prepared, and marketed individually.
For more information about the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association of New Zealand (Inc) or to find your nearest branch, visit our Website: www.colouredsheep.org.nz or Facebook: www.facebook.com/BCSBANZ or contact the National Secretary Shirley Wallace, email -