Finnsheep

Finnsheep

Breed Type: Dual-Purpose Breed
Country of Origin: Finland
Breed Association Website: finnsheep.org

Finnsheep are a dual-purpose breed, producing not only meat and fiber, but milk and hides. Considered to be a “primitive” or unimproved breed, Finnsheep descend from the Nordic short-tailed breeds. They are medium size, with mature ewes ranging from 130-180 lbs and mature rams from 170 – 240 lbs. The gentle disposition of the Finn makes them easy to handle, an attractive feature for many shepherds.

Finnsheep were originally imported into the United States in the 1960s with the intention of increasing prolificacy in the flocks of commercial breeders. The Finn ewe’s ability to birth and raise multiple lambs attracted the interest of shepherds of breeds whose ewes typically delivered only one lamb per year. The prospect of crossbreeding with a Finnsheep to increase the number of lambs born per ewe made economic sense. University studies found that first generation cross Finn ewes tended to be more prolific than purebred breeds and their weaning weights were higher than those of the purebred Finns.

Finnsheep are natural mothers and their devotion to their own little flock is a source of joy and amusement for their shepherds. Finnsheep ewes appear to “count” their lambs when nursing multiples. Triplets and quads are routine for Finnsheep, and deliveries of quintuplets, sextuplets and even septuplets are not unknown.

Finnsheep appeal to many fiber enthusiasts. The softness, luster and crimp of the Finn fleece, as well as the variety of natural colors attracts spinners, knitters and felters.

Finnsheep are ideal for small farms seeking to produce food and/or fiber. They are also ideal for large commercial enterprises as their prolificacy will increase lambing percentages. Whether your goal is to raise sheep for fantastic fiber or delicious meat, or to enhance your breeding program, Finnsheep have a place on your farm.

For an excellent overview of Finnsheep see American Finnsheep by Naomi Leith Smith http://www.finnsheep.org/docs/AmericanFinnsheep.pdf.


This breed presented by

Honeysuckle Farm
Mary O’Malley
1600 Ednor Road
Silver Spring, MD 20905
(301) 421-9520

Warm up for the Festival with Winterfest 2023!

Two days of virtual spinning, knitting, and felting classes on January 28 and 29.

Registration opens November 19.

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A preview of our in-person classes for 2023 has been posted at sheepandwool.org/2022-festival/fiber-arts-workshops/. Full class information will be posted once we work out a few more details. Registration will open on February 12. #mdsw #mdsw2023 #celebrating50years #fiberartseminars #yarnlove #dyeing #felting #fiberprep #colortheory #spinning #handspinning #knitting ... See MoreSee Less
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Thank you to our wonderful instructors - Maggie Casey. Jillian Moreno, Esther Rodgers, Kira Dulaney, Alasdair Post-Quinn, and Kristen Walsh - for teaching virtually for our second annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival Winterfest. Thank you, too, Angela Muller, for your fabulous and informative lecture. And a resounding thank you to all the participants (and class assistants) that made Winterfest a success!See you at the live 50th annual Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival on May 6 & 7. The class listings for that should be posted in the next week or so. Registration will open on February 12. ... See MoreSee Less
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Be sure to visit the Maryland Make it with Wool booth in the Main Exhibition Annex at the Festival this year...I hear that in honor of the 50th annual festival, they are planning a display of 50 outfits from past competitions!We are cheering on Jessica - our Maryland Make it with Wool Junior Champion - as she competes in the National Make It With Wool Contest in Fort Worth, Texas! #marylandmakeitwithwool #nationalmakeitwithwool ... See MoreSee Less
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