As the name suggests these sheep are a breed native to Finland, The breed is thought to be several hundred years old, descending from the mouflan that live in the wild on Sardinia and Corsica. Finns are one of the Northern Europeans short tailed, or rat tail breeds. They are a medium breed, rams weighing from 150-200 lbs while ewes come in smaller at 130-180 lbs. Both rams and ewes are polled (meaning no horns), and their faces and legs are free of wool.
Finnsheep are known for their friendly disposition, they have a great tolerance to heat and cold as well as having a fantastic foraging ability, enjoying leaves and brush as much as cultivated pasture.
Faces of the sheep should be long and fine with good hair coat but free of wool and horns. Look for eyes that are clear and alert, dark pigment around the eyes is a desirable trait on white animals. As with all sheep proper jaw alignment is essential, an overshot or undershot jaw not acceptable, for looks as well as the sheep's health as this can lead to problems while grazing/feeding.
The Finns body should be smooth and well blended, of medium length and height with a strait and strong back. The distinguished Finn tail is undocked, wool-covered, with hair at the tip, and 4 to 6 inches long. Their legs should be straight and well-placed with fore legs set apart and strong pasterns. Finnsheep legs should be wooled to knees and hocks, then clean below those joints.
Finns mature early with rams breeding at 4-8 months of age and ewes bred to lamb at 12 months. They are known for being a prolific breed regularly lambing 3-4 and sometimes as many as 5-7, as a result of this they have been given the nickname litter lambs. This is one of the reasons Finnsheep are often used in crossbreeding programs, so as to increase lambing percentiles.
Finnsheep Ewes should have a minimum of 5-6 years by their second lambing season, aiming for 9-10 with their third. They should have no difficulty in lambing and display outstanding maternal traits. A ewe should also easily have enough milk for at least 2 lambs, (usually the first year) with her being able to sustain more in the following years. Keeping in mind with Finns that as they carry and nurse more lambs they do have a higher nutritional requirement during gestation, especially the last weeks, and the first few weeks of lactation.
Finnsheep are not a large meat breed therefore they produce a lean, succulent meat with a lighter delicate flavour, even as adults. As a result of their year round breeding abilities it makes them perfect for any holiday.
Wool from a Finnsheep is placed in the fine end of the medium category with a soft handle, moderate crimp and a high lustre. A Finn's wool is highly praised by hand spinners as it blends easily with other fibers, has a staple of (3-6″), and a wool spinning count in the 50′s or 23-31 microns.
A mature ewe can produce from 1.8 to 3.6 kg fleece. Most commonly available in white, black is also becoming popular while brown, grey, and fawn are still less common.
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