Photo Gallery: Ewe little beauty!

Newborn Norfolk horn lamb takes in her surroundings near St Andrews Church, Southburgh. Picture: Matthew Usher. Newborn Norfolk horn lamb takes in her surroundings near St Andrews Church, Southburgh. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Thursday, January 30, 2014
1:40 PM

Early arrival is Norfolk born and bred

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The breed may once have been on the brink of extinction but this newborn lamb is proof that the future of the Norfolk Horn is not quite as precarious as it used to be.

Born yesterday morning in the shadow of St Andrew’s Church in Southburgh, near Shipdham, this ewe lamb arrived a little earlier than expected.

But as it is known to be a hardy breed well adapted to the cold winters of East Anglia it should still thrive under the care of its attentive mother and shepherd David Cross from Wymondham.

Its coat will also whiten as it matures but will keep its distinctive black face and legs.

The Norfolk Horn has had a chequered past. According to the Norfolk Horn Breeders Group it is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in Britain with its fine fleeces used in the Middle Ages for the East Anglian worsted industry. But other breeds started to be introduced which almost completely replaced it.

By the late 1960s the breed was literally on the brink of extinction with only a handful of seriously inbred individuals remaining.

Since a breeding programme was introduced in the 1970s numbers have risen considerably and there are now around 2500 pedigree Norfolk Horns in 79 flocks which are still concentrated in Norfolk and Suffolk.

The greater interest in the breed has significantly increased the number of sheep and breeders to a point where the Rare Breed Survival Trust felt confident to move it to Category 4 ‘at risk’ on its watchlist.

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