All about… The Hampshire Down
HAMPSHIRE Down flocks were established more than 150 years ago by crossing breeds from Wiltshire, Hampshire and Berkshire Knot. The breed society was established in 1889 and pure Hampshire Down flocks proliferated across the whole of the South of England. There was a burgeoning export trade for pure Hampshire Downs to the major sheep producing countries. The breed’s main purpose now is to provide a terminal sire for commercial flocks to produce early maturing quality butchers’ lambs.
Mature Hampshire Down ewes weigh 75kg, rams 115kg and the carcass weight of lambs at slaughter is 16-19kg.
Hampshire Down ewes lamb naturally from December onwards, but they will take the ram at any time of year. With an average lambing percentage of between 150-180%, the lambs are very robust and the ewes have good longevity and often lamb for 10-12 years. The breed thrives on marginal grassland and the lambs finish quickly with no concentrates.
Hampshire Down wool is white, soft and fine (typically 31-33 microns). It is sought after by hand spinners and knitters. A firstshear ewe will produce a fleece weighing approximately 3.5- 4kgs.