montadale sheep

Montadale Sheep

Ovis aries aries montadale


Description

Montadale Sheep have white wool on their bodies, and their hooves and noses are black.  They have little or no wool on their heads and legs.

Size

The Montadale is a medium to large breed of sheep.  Mature ewes (females) weigh 150-200 pounds and rams (males) weigh 250-300 pounds.

Adaptations

Diet

At Cosley Zoo, the sheep are fed a diet of commercial livestock grain and hay.

Reproduction

Ewes are typically bred to give birth once a year.  Lambing occurs in the late winter and spring.  The gestation period is 5 months. Although single and twin births are most common, triplets are not unusual.

Shelter and Space Needs

The sheep at Cosley Zoo are housed in a stall in the barn.  Their stall has a back door that is kept open during the day and gives them access to an outdoor yard.  After lambs are born, a creep feeder is erected.  The creep feeder is a row of bars that the lambs walk through to get their food.  The bars are set close together so that the adults are not able to fit through, thereby preventing the adults from eating the lambs' food.

Life Expectancy

The average life expectancy of a domestic sheep is 10 to 12 years.  However, their productivity tends to decrease after about 7 years.

Importance to Man

Sheep are raised primarily for their wool and meat. A sheep's wool has many characteristics that distinguish it from other fibers.  Wool will absorb up to 30% of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp. It is also elastic, highly insulating, and fire retardant. During the cleaning process, a greasy substance called lanolin is removed from the wool. The lanolin is used to make lotion. Wool can also be formed into felt by compressing it. In addition to wool and meat, sheep also have other uses. Their milk can be used to make cheese and fat can be used to make tallow for candles or soap.

Fun Facts