Wild 'n' Woolly has had sheep since 1983; COOPWORTHS since 1984. Four of our original Coopworths were CSSNZ registered Pine Park and Alford Park New Zealand Coopworth Sheep, imported by Jonathan May of Timberville, Virginia. We have bred our ewes to direct sons of New Zealand AI Sires (imported semen), and for two of our 33 years breeding Coopworths, to original Tasmanian imported English Leicester Longwool rams-obtained from the Williamsburg Foundation. Our selection process has centered around hardiness, ease of lambing, and wool quality--softness, yield, luster, staple length, uniformity, and 'whiteness'. We have remained true to the New Zealand philosophy of an "Open Book' registry allowing 3rd and 4th generation outcrosses to be kept as registrable stock, provided they meet production criteria and represent only the best of the best. For our flock I have only ever retained <30% of any year's ewe lamb crop and <10% of any year's ram lamb crop for breeding stock, either to keep or sell.
Our COOPWORTHS are white. We have never used colored genetics in our breeding program. as is the case in all of the New Zealand breeding schemes. Any degree of black wool contaminates commercial use white wool and cannot be tolerated. The COOPWORTH was designed as a commercial breed for both meat and wool use. Only ever have commercial culls and outcrosses produced colored Coopworths in the US, in Canada, and down under--in New Zealand and Australia!
Typically, the ewes are narrow polled, deep but not 'broad' chested, and long-bodied. They are built to accommodate ease of lambing. They are heavily muscled and stout. Their bones are thick and substantial and strong. Ewes weigh 130-160 lbs. Rams weigh 200-250 lbs. COOPWORTH rams look like "TANKS". Black noses, hooves, and "eye liner" are the standard. Coopworths may or may not have a top knot of wool on their heads and wool down their legs. It is the breeder's selection process that determines the degree to which their flock exhibits characteristics more like that of the Romney or Border Leicester from which they were derived.
Wild 'n' Woolly sheep have little to no wool on their faces and legs. We have selected for clean faces and clean legs in part because the head and leg wool is short, full of chaff, and dirtier than the primary fleece. It's not particularly fun to shear, skirt, or wash independent of the rest of the fleece...and not as desirable for hand spinning or felting. Also, research has shown that "clean" faces are directly proportional to the "Number of Lambs Born", ewes most likely to produce an average lamb crop over their lifetime >180%. And did I mention I do NOT enjoy blade shearing leg wool! For the spinner & craft market, it's wool I simply skirt and throw aside! For the commercial WHITE wool market, however, it's WEIGHT and that's a good thing if you've 10,000 sheep and experienced world champion shearers on hand!
COOPWORTH GENETIC SELECTION