Suffolk Sheep

Suffolk sheep are renowned as a terminal sire breed and remain the number one breed for growth rate as proven by numerous independent scientific studies. This ability to grow and finish quickly is essential in the market and Suffolk lambs can also be taken to heavier carcass weights, if required. Increasing numbers of commercial producers now include Suffolk genetics in their ewe flocks as the breed has high milk output, hard hooves and wide pelvic dimensions for easy lambing. They have black faces and legs with a large frame and are highly muscular. Suffolk sheep were created from breeding Norfolk Horn ewes with Southdown rams. The first recorded history of them was by Arthur Young in 1797. They were first exhibited in the Suffolk Show in 1859. The were originally bred for producing mutton, but over the years have been developed to meet consumer demands. Mature rams weigh between 250 to 350 pounds, while ewes weigh 180 to 250 pounds. Suffolks were introduced to Canada in 1888, and after 1920 the breed’s popularity grew rapidly. Today it is still one of the most dominant breeds in the Canadian sheep industry. The fact that Suffolk sheep generally have twins, have the best rate of gain, do well in confinement and can get higher prices means that they offer great economic returns. Rams used as terminal sires pass on valuable traits in meat production to their offspring (rate of gain, carcass quality, high red meat content).