Image: Gorse Dion. Breed champion Royal Welsh Show
Our Oxford Down flock was started with the purchase of ewe lambs from Adderbury and Southolme in 1971 and has since been run as a closed flock with no females introduced since. Once numbering 70 ewes it is somewhat smaller now but we always have a small number of females and shearling rams available
The largest of the 'Down' group of English sheep breeds developed in Southern England as terminal sires for the production of the finest prime lamb, the Oxford is widely used throughout the United Kingdom to produce fast growing lambs with the potential to grow to heavy weights without excessive fat from any of the popular ewe breeds. Alternatively the fast growth rate enables lambs to reach market weight earlier than contemporaries by other sires. Oxford Downs carry a heavy fleece and the lambs are born with a good birthcoat. This was evaluated by ABRO which found that the Oxford Down sired lambs compared favourably with hill breeds in their tolerance to cold
The breed originated with the crossing of Cotswold rams onto Hampshire ewes in the 1830s by, among others, John Druce of Eynsham in Oxfordshire which gave the breed its name. Having stabilised over the next 50 years, the first flock book was published in 1889 and the Breeders Association formed. Formerly exported to the Americas and Russia in large quantities, recent interest is coming from Europe, particularly Germany and Switzerland, and there are also Oxford Down sheep kept throughout Scandinavia.
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