Sheep Ovis aries var.
Zoo contains two types of domestic sheep of several different breeds.
The Dutch Wartbles are a milking breed for cheese production, developed
in Holland and growing in popularity in the UK. They are large,
eye-catching sheep with dark, near-black wool, white faces, and
occasional white socks.
two other pet sheep kept with the pygmy goats are JAKE -
the Greyface, and SEAN, the Suffolk. Both are highly illustrative
of the history of Scottish agriculture and sheep production.
Greyface is the product of crossing a Border-Leicester ram (tup)
on a cast, i.e., oldish Black-faced ewe. The female lambs from this
union are, on maturity, crossed with the Suffolk to produce the
famous fat lambs for human consumption.
Greyface lambs usually suffer the same fate at the end of their
first summer. Jake was lucky in that he was a hand-reared
pet. He is now six years old, and a star turn in our children's
birthday parties as he loves human company.
is a hand-reared Suffolk. His slightly 'goofy' look is because
he possesses an overshot jaw. In the wild, or in agriculture, or
in pedigree sheep breeding, this would immediately disadvantage
or disqualify him from future breeding. Sean too is a very
tame, non-boisterous pet.
all of these sheep appear so different as to seem virtually different
species, they are all the same species and freely inter-breed. The
ancestor of all domestic sheep is the mouflon with which domestic
sheep will also inter-breed if they get the chance. Pure wild mouflon
populations in Europe are restricted to Corsica, Sardinia, and Cyprus,
although they are plentiful in the Middle East, eastwards. Reintroduced
generic populations exist in some numbers in France (over 50,000)
and other countries where they are hunted in the manner of roe deer.