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Icelandic Sheep

We now have 6 pure Icelandic sheep and numerous Icelandic crossbreeds thanks to our rampaging ram called Sven. We bought Sven in January 2018 he is a grey mouflon colour which is my one of my favourite sheep markings a stunning blue-grey colour. Older ewes Spud and Lilja were very kindly given to me by a good friend, Spud is middle-aged but Lilja is a bit of an oldie and she has no front teeth though she seems to manage just fine. We welcomed into the world 3 cute and fluffy Icelandic cross lambs Dandelion, Dotty & Pepsi! They are Sven's daughters, he fathered 6 lambs here in 2018, 2 went to a wonderful pet home and we kept 4 but sadly lost one, Buttercup, in tragic circumstances. In 2018 Sven became a father again, a handful of planned pregnancies but then Sven decided to take things into his own hands and broke out of his field on 3 separate occasions and ended up fathering over 20 lambs including 3 purebred Icelandics, Maris, Piper and Laurel. Most of the lambs born in 2018 are still here living the good life with their woolly family but 7 of the lambs left for new homes with 3 different fiends locally and I have been lucky enough to be able to visit them on a few occasions.
Icelandic sheep (and crosses) are possibly my favourite breed there is just something magical about them. In general, they are very friendly and greedy, and real characters. They have a unique double-coated fleece that comes in every natural colour you could imagine. Their fleeces and looks are so beautiful I could gaze at them all day.
There are more photos and information about our Icelandic sheep below.
Like Shetland & Soay sheep, Icelandic sheep belong to the Northern Short-tailed group of sheep.
Icelandic sheep produce a lot of milk, they have been kept over the years for their meat, milk and fleece. They have a double coated fleece. The long silky outer layer is called the ‘Tog’, these fibers can be up to 20cm long. The tog makes the fleece weather and water resistant. The inner, very fine, soft shorter layer is called the ‘Thel’, these fibers can be up to 8 cm long. The thel makes the fleece incredibly light and warm. Icelandic fleece is highly prized. The 2 layers can be separated and spun individually or the fleece can be carded together to create what is known as ‘Lopi’. As I have personally discovered, Icelandic fleece felts incredibly well! It can also be spun into beautiful yarns.
Icelandic ewes give birth very easily, they have fantastic mothering instincts and produce a lot of milk for their lambs. They often have twins and sometimes triplets. There is also a gene called the thonka gene, Icelandic sheep possessing this gene may have 4, 5, 6 or up to 8 lambs! In some parts of the world Icelandic sheep are kept for milk production. They have the same variety of colour genetics present in the breed as Shetland sheep. So although there may appear an infinite amount of colours and markings, and if you look on the Shetland sheep society at colours you might think there are! But really the genetics are very simple. We have a much better explanation of genetics on our Colours & Markings page. But to put it simply, there are only 2 base colours, black or brown. Each of these can show or be hidden visibly by one of only 6 patterns, Badgerface, Mouflon, Grey, White, Solid or Grey Mouflon. And on top of the base & possible pattern you can get white spotting, this is what gives Jacob sheep their spotty appearance! Spotting can be minimal, just a dab on the head or nose or it can be widespread across the body, it can even cover the whole body totally concealing the base colour and any patterns, making the sheep look completely white!