The Romney March breed was bred in England in the southeast, in this area the Romney Plain is located. The type of plains in this area is called the “march”, which means “swamp”. In honor of her, and named the breed of sheep Romney march. The breed is strong, with high productivity.
History and description of the breed
Since 1890, hardy, large and precocious sheep were crossed with leisters (meat-wool breed of sheep), thanks to this, the Romney-March breed is famous for its large volume of wool and high quality meat and lard. Only in 1895 the breed was registered and a pedigree book was entered on them - only pedigree animals that meet the standards are recorded in it to take into account productive qualities.
If we compare these sheep with other English breeds with long hair, the Romney march is more durable, more resistant to various diseases and rotted hooves, even if they graze on wet pastures. But there are places where sheep suffer from a lack of vitamins, for example, open spaces with sparse vegetation. Because of this, sheep are less likely to breed and bring weak or completely dead lambs.
The Romney Marsh sheep are characterized by the following characteristics:
- a large, narrow head, having a white color;
- dark nostrils;
- flat back;
- muzzle, on which hair grows to the eyes;
- fiber length of 20 centimeters;
- the sacrum is wide;
- pupils are rectangular;
- thick neck;
- semicircular ribs.
Males can gain weight up to 140 kilograms, and females up to 70 kilograms of live weight. The weight of a six-month-old lamb is 30-35 kilograms. It all depends on feeding, care and how long the sheep have been in the pasture. The fleece they have is a dense, winding coat with a height of 15 mm. In males, about 8 kilograms of wool can be cut, and in females 4 kilograms.
Sheep are less in demand on farms, unlike a cow or a pig, but they occupy a leading position in terms of wool.
The quality of meat directly depends on the following factors: genetics, care, maintenance, health. The main factor is nutrition, if the animal receives all the necessary substances and vitamins, it will grow well with a white coat with shine, and the taste of meat will become more tender. The English breed is precocious and the four-month-old lamb already weighs 40 kilograms. The meat yield from one animal is 54%.
In sheep during the lactation period, colostrum first appears, and then milk. If there was one or two lamb in the stomach, then they will have enough milk and still remain for sale. Sheep’s milk is very healthy and rich, but its quantity is small. To breed this breed only for the sake of milk is not profitable.
The coat of the Romney March is thick and not very thick. The fibers themselves have a twisting shape, and the fleece is staple. For 12 months from a ram you can cut about 13 kilograms of wool. Females have less hair, but it is much better valued than males, because it is thinner.
Care and maintenance
Due to the special structure of the coat, this breed of sheep can freely tolerate both intense heat and severe frosts. Sheep must be kept separate from other cattle. Humidity should be minimal.
Because sheep are hardy, they can graze on pastures far from their “home” even at night. Romney march can run for a long time, so they have good health and valuable coat.
Sheep have a good memory, so they can be aggressive towards people who previously offended them, and be “friendly” with people who worry about them.
Most of the time, the herd should be in the open air, which favorably affects the quality of the coat, meat, immunity and overall health. The rest of the time they are in their "house", which should be built of red brick, wood or shell rock.
The place where animals will eat food must be kept clean, and the feeders and drinkers themselves should be convenient for them. Sheep water should be around the clock both in summer and in winter. Lighting should not be very bright, but dim light will not do good for animals - it is important to adhere to moderate light conditions.
Although the sheep are disease resistant, nevertheless, like all animals, it is necessary to take preventive vaccinations, which will be described by a veterinarian specializing in sheep.
In the summer, the herd will look for food on a walk by itself, but in winter, the owner should worry about this, offering them hay, concentrates, food waste, wheat, bran and vegetables (potatoes, beets).
It is important to remember that pregnant females should eat slightly differently. In the first half of pregnancy, they need to offer more hay. To exclude straw and concentrates altogether. It is necessary to give twice as many vegetables.
In the second half of pregnancy, there should be a lot of hay in the diet, concentrates, compound feed in small quantities and vegetables are already included. The animals should have water around the clock; one sheep drinks about 4 liters of water per day.
Sheep and rams of the Romney march are often crossed with other breeds to improve meat quality and increase and improve wool. You can happen to a female with a male when her weight is about 65 kilograms (about 1 year and 4 months). If it is too early to happen to the animals, then all the useful substances will go directly to the female, and not to the lamb, this will cause the offspring to be weak - with low productivity indicators.
Pregnancy in such sheep occurs once a year, while it gives birth to 1-2 lambs. Lambing takes place on its own, without any help with a weight of 4-4.5 kilograms, after which the newborn lambs rapidly gain weight. A lamb breastfed adds one and a half pounds per day.
If a sheep and a sheep are found at the end of summer / beginning of autumn, then the fetus is born at the beginning of winter. The approximate time for carrying a lamb is 5 months. The feeding of the female during pregnancy, the conditions under which she lived, how long she visited the pasture and how the shepherd is equipped, has a serious effect on newborn lambs.
The best time for mating is August or September, during this period the sheep quickly inseminate the sheep in the pasture and it gives more offspring than with mating in the winter.
Advantages and disadvantages
Each breed of sheep is somewhat different from the others, some give a lot of tasty and tender meat, others are famous for high-quality wool, and others are fat.
Among the advantages of the Romney-March breed, the following are distinguished:
- massive torso;
- delicious meat;
- a lot of quality wool.
There are also several disadvantages of this breed:
- Compared to other breeds, which can lead up to 7 lambs at a time, the Romney march can lead only two;
- they can not be kept in areas with a small amount of vegetation, so the sheep will receive vitamin deficiency and will be weaker, which will affect their productivity.
As you can see, there are very few shortcomings, so it is beneficial to breed such sheep to get wool and valuable meat.
Romney march sheep are unpretentious in maintenance, therefore it is profitable to breed them. There is no need to constantly monitor them, but they will thank for good care with healthy fertility, high-quality wool and delicious meat. Before you get a sheep of a certain breed, you first need to learn more about it so as not to make mistakes in the maintenance and care.