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White Headed Marsh sheep
A Rare Breed of European Origin
A breed currently rare in New Zealand is the dual-purpose White Headed Marsh, a breed adapted to cold, hard, wet conditions.
It first arrived in New Zealand in the 1980s (being imported from Denmark) and was released from quarantine in 1990.
The White Headed Marsh originated in the north sea marshes of West Germany. Its beginnings can be traced back to the mid-1800s when North German Marsh sheep, the local milk sheep, were crossed with imported British longwool breeds, including the Cotswold.
In Denmark and North Germany the White Headed Marsh live outside in very wet and cold conditions. They are known for their hardiness, natural immunity, easy-care and excellent meat. They lamb at 180% in Denmark.
White Headed Marsh are similar-looking to Romneys or Coopworths, but are much larger with meaty hindquarters and wide deep loin and rack meat (the most valuable cuts).
At present there are only a few hundred White Headed Marsh in New Zealand, used principally at this time to introduce the breed’s more desirable characteristics into conventional flocks.The Rare Breeds Conservation Society of New Zealand thanks Tim and Helen Gow (see » Mangapiri Downs Organic Stud Farm) for assistance with the preparation of this page.
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