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Year of the Sheep – Masham

History

Masham sheep were
specifically developed to produce offspring that were hardy, long living and
highly prolific with the added benefit of a more profitable fleece. This
British sheep was developed by breeding a Wensleydale or Tesswater ram with a
Dalebred or Swaledale ewe and are predominately found in the hills of Northern
England.

Distinguishing
Characteristics

Masham sheep
have a black and white face and legs with a top knot (tuft of wool on the top
of their head). They are hornless.  The
genetic contribution from the Swaledale or Dalebred ewe give the Masham the
hardiness to survive in the Northern England hills where the annual rainfall is
70 “ and the winter months can be bitterly cold. The Masham ewe lambs can be
breed in their first year, are great mothers and live several years longer than
other breeds of sheep. They are also economical feeders and can maximize growth
on marginal land.

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Fleece Facts

Masham fleece is similar
in texture, luster and length to the Wensleydale Longwool. The micron count in
between 29-34 microns and the staple length is between 6”-10”. Another
Wensleydale or Teeswater contribution to Masham is the heavy luster fleece. The
average fleece weight is between 6-10 lbs. This wool is in great demand in
specialty markets such as carpets and upholstery for its strength and
durability. The finer Masham wools are used for outer garments. Ashland Bay’s
fine grey Masham wool is a specialty wool that is sorted by color.  The natural light grey luster wool is
beautiful on its own, but also over dyes with spectacular results.

Ashland Bay’s Masham will be on sale from October 26 – November 9th. To download the Masham Sheep Card click here.