Teeswater

Teeswaters in buttercups

Key Characteristics

The Teeswater is fairly hardy and can cope with most conditions. Animals are very long lived and ewes can produce lambs at up to 10-12 years old. They are a very prolific breed and a flock under the correct management can achieve lambing percentages of 250%. Lambs are born medium sized and quick to rise.

History

  • The Teeswater breed is native to the Teesdale area of County Durham. 
  • Like many of the British longwool breeds the Teeswater was subject to breed improvement during the 19th century but it remained a relatively localized breed until the 1920s. 
  • The breed became more widely known as the sire of the Masham crossbred and enjoyed a period of great popularity.

Appearance

  • The Teeswater is a long and tall sheep but the most striking aspect of the breed is the fleece.
  • Ewes weigh around 90kg and rams, 120kg. 
  • The head is off white or grey in colour with dark markings around the nose and ears.
  • The fleece is long, fine and curly with a characteristic topknot over the face.

Uses

Cross Breeding

The principal use for the Teeswater is in the production of a crossbred ewe, the Masham. The Masham is the result of a Teeswater ram on a Dalesbred, Swaledale or Rough Fell ewe, although other hill breeds have been used as well. The resulting Masham ewe is prolific, highly maternal, hardy and well able to produce good lambs when put to a Terminal sire. 

Wool

The wool of the Teeswater is in demand with hand spinners and a possible small scale enterprise could be created selling the wool or making wool products. Staple length 20-30cm. Fleece weight 4- 6kg. Quality 32s-36s

Meat

The Teeswater is a lean sheep and has well developed hindquarters. The lambs can be taken up to 30kg deadweight without getting overfat. Purebred lambs can reach 19.9kg at 8 weeks old.

Did you know?

The principal use for the Teeswater is in the production of a crossbred ewe, the Masham. The Masham is the result of a Teeswater ram a hill breed ewe. The resulting Masham ewe is prolific, highly maternal, hardy and well able to produce good lambs when put to a Terminal sire. The Mule has become the dominant halfbred in the British sheep industry but the Masham would be a good choice for ewe breed on a lowland sheep enterprise.

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