Rare breeds set for a comeback

TWO SHEEP breeds that are making a comeback from the brink of extinction have their own competitive classes at the Royal Show.

The Norfolk Horn was once one of the most important breeds in the eastern counties.

It eventually fell out of favour with commercial farmers and at one stage in the 1960s was reduced to just one ram.

The introduction of Royal Show classes is evidence of how well it has recovered.

Ewe numbers have reached about 1200 and enthusiasts believe further increases are on the way because of the Norfolk‘s high level of non-susceptibility to scrapie and its ability to utilise poor quality pasture and produce a good carcass with excellent meat flavour.

Shetland sheep were on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust register as recently as 2002, but they are making a strong recovery, with ewe numbers reaching the 3000 mark and a breed society with 400 members.

There will be three classes for Shetlands at this year‘s show.

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