Forest Sheep

Ark of taste
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The Waldschaf is a very old, native, robust breed. The amount of meat produced is little but of high quality. The Waldschaf is a small to midsized, mostly white sheep. There are, however, also black, grey, brown or piebald animals. Bald spots (especially the face), of white sheep often are covered with dark pigmented moles. The head shows a front with wool and a straight profile, aries have a straight or sometimes convex profile. The small ears stand proud, nearly horizontal. Both sexes can be horned or polled. Waldschafe are slender and have a long, woolen tail. The breeders want to maintain the great variability in appearance of the sheep, which is due to the many different ancestral breeds. Characteristic for many old-established breeds – and so for the Waldschaf – is the mixed wool: it consists of rough short kemp, longer hair and the fine wool fibres. Unlike other old breeds as Steinschaf, Brillenschaf or Krainer Schaf, the Waldschaf (which descends from the Zaupelschaf) has a high percentage of wool fibre in its wool. Their rut is not seasonal, with most births occurring in winter. Waldschafe lambs three times in two years, sometimes even two times per year. They have a fertility-rate of 180%. Grown rams weight between 55 to 80 kg, ewes between 35 to 60 kg. The animals are easy to feed, robust, fertile, tolerate bad weather and are insusceptible of illnesses. They have good mothering characteristics, so many of the lambs survive. Originally, they were kept from the Waldviertel to the Mühlviertel, the Bohemian Forest to the Bavarian Forest, even in the foothills of the alps in Bavaria. The Waldschaf has a lot of special qualities, such as modesty and perfect feed conversion, eligibility for landscape and biotope conservation, high fertility and high rate of surviving lambs. It also gives high-quality meat and wool, it is insusceptible of illnesses and parasites and has impassible hooves and udder. They are charcterised by the pigmentation of their bald body-parts as well. Breeders are trying to document these qualities to gain an overview of the many special abilities of the Waldschaf. To obtain the aboriginal characteristics, an in-situ keeping (climate, feeding) of the animals should always be preferred. Waldschafe are perfectly suited for pasture fosterage, for extensive and organic farming on a small level in low mountain regions with rough climate. Its traditional breeding area are the mountain areas of the Bavarian valley region, of the Bohemia valley and Mühlviertel and Waldviertel.

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