Originally from Wiltshire in England (hence the name) the Wiltshire
Horn Sheep have the ability to shed their full coat naturally in Spring.
Until the 18th century the Wiltshire Horn was one of southern
England's predominent sheep breeds.For hundreds of years, it was on the thin chalk soils of the Wiltshire Downs,
requiring very little shelter from the elements. It was fertilising the wheat growing land and at the
same time supplying the farmers with meat etc. It suffered a dramatic decline and was nearly extinct at
the start of the 1900's. In 1923 the Wiltshire Horn Breed Society was formed. From there records were
kept of all the registered flocks and flock numbers have grown again.
The Wiltshire Horn is one of the foundation breeds for Katahdin,
Wiltipoll and Easycare breeds.
The breed is strong and hardy and can adapt to poor country. They
browse as well as graze thus eating a variety of food. They do not flock together like normal sheep but graze in
small groups. This helps with the pastures as there is not a concentrated impact in any one place.
They are adaptable to extreme temperatures and there are Wiltshire
Horns all over Australia and Tasmania thriving in completely different climates. The breed is intelligent with a
good temperament.Their inquisitive nature makes them ideal on small farms as they watch their shepherds mainly to
see if there is going to be a gate open or maybe even food!
They are good mothers and have high fertility making them a good
enterprise for either commercial or hobby farmers. Multiple births are often the case.
Rams and ewes both have horns. The rams are pretty spectacular and
look very regal with curled horns. The ewes have horns that curve gracefully downward. Horns used to be an issue
when shearing sheep but as the Wiltshires don't require shearing the horns are no longer an issue.
Wiltshire Horns are white with occasional black spots on the
undercoat. As a hair breed, they grow a thick course coat in winter but shed it in summer thus eliminating the need
for shearing and crutching. In Australia with flies so prevalent this is a real plus as this means minimal fly
strike or none at all. Wool shedding is superior to other self shedders as they lose their whole coat. Some others
retain some wool on the top of the back which people tend to shear off if they are sending lambs into the yards to
sell. So they have not got the advantage that the Wiltshire Horn people have.
The Wiltshire Horn is very versatile and suits a variety of
The serious commercial producer of lambs. Because of their shedding
ability, this also eliminates the expense of shearing and crutching.
The smaller scale producer who wants to produce a really full
The hobbyist who wants easy to handle sheep with a no shear
Their meat is lean (so it is good for your heart), combined with
muscling, fine grained, exceptionally tender and with excellent flavour.
The rams are used in cross-breeding enterprises with many other
breeds. The lambs have performed well in carcase competitions.