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Drysdale sheep in Discovery

Drysdale sheep in Discovery

The Drysdale breed of sheep was developed in New Zealand in the 1930s, by Dr Francis W Dry at Massey University, Palmerston North. The breed is a cross between Romney and Cheviot sheep, chosen for their very coarse, fast-growing long-staple wool requiring twice-yearly shearing. Due to its quality, the wool is often used in carpet manufacture.

Drysdales are of medium to large size reaching, a body weight of up to 70 kilograms for a ewe and 100 kilograms for a ram. Each fleece when shorn weighs between five and seven kilograms; around a kilogram more than other cross-breed sheep. The fleece fibres are usually 100 to 150 millimeters long. The wool does not grow on the face and legs of the sheep. Both rams and ewes grow horns; the males are larger and coiled whereas the females are small, around nine centimeters long and straighter. In 2010 there were over 600,000 Drysdale sheep on farms throughout New Zealand.

This Drysdale sheep with her red and black Canterbury socks is on display in Canterbury Museum’s Discovery Centre on Level 3.