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NOTES FOR FARMERS.

ROMNEU SHEEP.

Of ail the breeds of sheep infcro

duced in New Zealand, there is none

wbioh promises to bold tbe same pre 1 eminent position in the sheep breeding world of the Dominion aa the Homney --Alarsh or Kentish sheep. , An historical review of the breed does not come within the province of this article. It is sufficient to note the breed is one of the oldest to Great Britain—Arthur Finn, tbe well known Home breeder, tells an historical fact of the formation of a "town flock" at Lydd as far back

as 1572—and that no reliable infor

mation i' 3 available as to whether it t has esoaped the introduction of blood of another breed to which co many British breeds have beer* subjected. «-, This question is referred to in a monogram on the breed in the handbook on " British Breeds of Live Stock," w; issued by the British Board of Agri- * culture in 1910. The reference reads:

—" It owes its hardiness to the improvement of the breed having been accomplished much more through selection of the best within the breed itself than by crossing with the im-

proved Dishley Leicester, and to the natural method of management, which permits the British flocks to find their own food on un«-heltered

pastures in place of being band fed and pampered like other low country cheep. This practice necessitates their lambing, like the Scotch mountain Bheep. in April." Even in the hia " tory of the New Zealand Romney there have been cntio3 ready to assert

that other blood was utilised-by the

pioneers of the breed in this country "»- to bring about that refinement of form and improved charac'er of fleece which distinguished the New Zealand ♦». Romney from the parent type of Kent. I prefer to believe that environment has been the responsible factor. The $ Lincoln provides , a parallel case ; and do one would credit for a moment /■- that outßide blood ba3 been intro jL duced to the great longwool breed in this,] country to make it finer andbetter woolled than the Home type. While it i 3 an admitted truth that sheep as a. race are more susceptible to barm from an unsuitable environ-

tban auy other family of domestic Btock—being, as it bag been well ex--40 pressed, "creatures of environment"— it may well be argued tbat the Rom ney provides an exception to tbis rule. Certainly it is tbat there id no other breed of sheep which will thrive as well under diverse conditions and which will adagt itself with such a re markable degree of success to so many variations of climate and soil. So adaptable, indeed, is the Romney that it readily assumes a new character of %jl frame and fleece to suit a changed ,* environment, becoming, in fact, a

different type of sheep, and this with

out any weakening of that great utility ■'*& character for which it is famed —

robustness of constitution.

\Vhile New Zealand is a favourable ' : .jjf: habitat for many breeds of sbeep—tbe merino and (be leading British breeds finding a congenial home in different l|f parts of tbe Dominion, —it is becoming generally recognised that the Romney is a breed eminently suited #:- for a very large area of our sheep ■iL. country, especially in the North Island. Where moist conditions prevail for any period, as is the case in

much of the country devoted to sheep 4jja~. farming, the Romney thrives while «F"- other breeda fail. This appreciation has been emphasised by the disastrous experience of many who have endeavoured to breed certain varieties of sheep in an unfortunate environ menfc. Tbafc the Eomney ig a bardy sheep, eminently suited to New Zealand conditions— particularly those of the North Island—is generally recognised, bat it so well known that in its

naiutal hViiijat it has been developed r o the (l>j ctivp nf making i f . a hardy ai.iinal wh : ch will thrive under "'dinary conditions without ibe need of specal treatment. In tbis eonme ion \ho following obso.-vntion i? made in the handbook of Biitidb Board of r grioulture : —"Dining the 'thirties' and eariy 'forties' of the nine teenth century graz'ng contests which created widespread interest were held throughout the Komney Marsh area under the management of local com mittees. Certain grazing lands were sleeted, and the sheep entered for competition were removed from the control of their owners and placed under the supervision of judge?, who determined, on their merity, which were the rno3t useful sheep, The sheep were kept and shepherded under natural conditions, no artificial food or fodder being supplied."

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Permanent link to this item

http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19140224.2.19

Bibliographic details

NOTES FOR FARMERS., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4374, 24 February 1914

Word Count
763

NOTES FOR FARMERS. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXII, Issue 4374, 24 February 1914

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