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Norwegian feral sheep, (24)

Old wild Norwgian sheep, more picturesThe Norwegian feral sheep (Villsau) is an unimproved remnant of the old Norwegian landrace that was raised in the country since the Viking age. It is a small primitive, short-tailed sheep that is mainly found on the west coast of Norway. The breed is adapted to grazing outside all year around in cold and windy climate. They have a strong flocking instinct and are good mothers. The sheep are small framed, with good legs and a fleece varying in colour with gray and black badger-face the most common colours. Rams are usually horned but 90 % of the ewes are polled. The wool is double coated with variable fibre length and diameter and is used for handicrafts. The mean greasy fleece weight is around 1.5 kg. Adult live weight is 50-60 kg for rams and around 32 kg for ewes. The litter size varies from 1 to 4 lambs at birth. Mean carcass weight of lambs is 12 kg when slaughtered at the age of 5 months. The lamb meat is marketed as a specialty product and is quite popular in restaurants. The population size has grown from 500 sheep in 1956 to around 20,000 adult sheep in 2001.

Local name: Villsau
References: Trygve Fjærli, 7273 Norddyrøy, Norway.
Photographs: Helge Sunde, Bergen.


List of North European sheep breeds:
Ålands sheep
Cheviot sheep
Dala sheep
Dala fur sheep
Danish landrace sheep
Estonian Ruhnu sheep
Faeroe sheep
Fine wool sheep Finnish Grey landrace

Forest sheep
Fuglestad sheep
Gotland sheep
Greenland sheep Grey Troender sheep
Gute sheep
Icelandic leader sheep
Icelandic sheep
Latvian darkheaded sheep
Lithuanian coarse wool sheep
-Norwegian feral sheep  

Norwegian Old Spael sheep
Norwegian Spael sheep
Romanov sheep
Roslags sheep Russian Viena sheep
Rya sheep
Rygja sheep
Steigar sheep
Texel sheep
White faced Marsh


Created by ThEP and EE Edited by Emma Eythorsdottir for the North SheD group.
Agricultural Research Institute of Iceland.