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The Suffolk evolved from the mating of Norfolk Horn ewes with Southdown rams in the Bury St Edmunds area, these sheep were known as Southdown Norfolks, or locally, as "Black faces." The first recording is in 1797 when in his "General view of agriculture in the county of Suffolk" Arthur Young stated: "These ought to be called the Suffolk breed, the mutton has superior texture, flavour, quantity and colour of gravy."

Suffolks developed around the rotational system of farming in East Anglia, grazing on grass or clover in the summer. After weaning the ewes could be put on salt marshes or stubbles. Swedes, turnips or mangels were grazed in the winter in a very labour intensive system with a fresh area fenced off each day. Lambing was in February or March, outdoors in the fields with a hurdle shelter or in open yards surrounded by hurdles and straw.

We have cross-bred many of our flock with the Texel breed as we find this combines many of the outstanding characteristics of both.

Our flock of 380 Suffolk-Texel cross sheep, like our cattle, are fully covered under the RSCPA's freedom food scheme.

Signet Sheepbreeder: Ultrasonic scanning has shown the Suffolk to regularly produce high eye muscle depths. And it is a Suffolk ram which holds the Signet all breeds record of 49mm in June 1999. The exceptional growth rate of the Suffolk contributes to their outstanding performance and popularity as the leading terminal sire in the British Isles.

Maedi Visna Accreditation Scheme: Society sales in England, Scotland and Wales and most of the Agricultural Shows are for MV accredited sheep only. Prospective members are therefore recommended to join the Maedi Visna Accrediation Scheme. This is run by the Sheep & Goat Health Schemes.

Scrapie Resistance: The Suffolk is the only terminal sire to provide significant scrapie resistance within the national flock. Already a massive 92% of Suffolks have totally or predominantly resistant genotypes. This gives the Suffolk a massive market advantage as a terminal sire. Because it already has high genetic resistance to scrapie and it is also simple to improve resistance through breeding the breed is in a stronger position than all other terminal breeds. Already many individual members have invested heavily in ensuring their flocks are 100% scrapie resistant. The Society has adopted a policy that will ensure the speedy upgrading of remaining flocks.

Ruckmans Farm
Dawes Farm, Bognor Road, Warnham, W. Sussex, RH12 3SH