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New Zealand Sheep breeds


The Lincoln was the New Zealand colonial farmer's favourite breed in heavily-timbered, wetter regions where it readily adapted to grazing on recently burnt-over forests. The strongly-grown wool resisted snagging and break as the Lincoln scrambled through charred timber to forage for the lush regrowth emerging from the ashes.

Because of its ability to survive in these conditions, the Lincoln's popularity was second only to the Merino in the late 19th century. But the breed's mortality rate increased as the natural soil fertility diminished and from the early 1900s it was gradually replaced by the Romney. In early breeding programmes the Lincoln served as a crossbreeding sire and although numbers have dwindled to only 12 registered flocks, many New Zealand sheep still have some Lincoln heritage.

The wool is used for products requiring lustre and soft handle. It is being used increasingly as a blend with mohair.

Dual-purpose breed used mainly for creating crossbred ewes. Long, coarse, well-crimped, lustrous wool. Lean, carcase with long meaty leg of mutton.

Canterbury, Otago and Southland in ram-breeding flocks.

Large, heavily-built sheep with long, coarse, lustrous wool that hangs over the face from the poll.


Body weight:
Ewes: 55–70 kg
Rams: 73–93 kg

Wool production:
Fibre diameter 37–41 microns
Staple length 175–200 mm
Fleece weight 7–12 kg

Lamb production:
100-130 per cent


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