10 Most Popular Sheep Breeds raised for Meat

There are three different forms of sheep meat, below is the sheep meat terminology explained in detail.

Sheep meat terminology

  • Lamb – The meat of the sheep in its first year. (no permanent incisors teeth)
  • Hogget – The sheep meat at second year(two permanent incisors teeth)
  • Mutton – The older sheep meat (more than two permanent incisors teeth)

Nowadays Lamb is the most consumed form of sheep meat as it is the most tender meat. It is also expensive when compared to Hogget and Mutton.

Here is the list of most popular sheep breeds raised for meat

1. Dorper

Dorper sheep are developed in South Africa to meet the mutton demands. Considered as one of the fastest-growing meat sheep breeds.

The sheep can reach 80 pounds(35 kg) in 3 to 4 months (approx 100 days). On average it gains around 200 g of weight.

The adult Dorper ram weighs 190 to 260 pounds (90 to 120 kg) and ewes weigh 110 to 180 pounds (50 to 80 kg).

Dorper sheep is one of the best mutton breeds in the world. A breed that is grown easily on arid extensive regions.

Dorper is a cross between Dorset Horn and the Blackhead Persian sheep.

2. Suffolk sheep

Suffolk sheep are raised for Meat. The Suffolk is crossed between Norfolk Horn ewe and Southdown ram.

The Suffolk is a large breed with a large frame and more meat. A British meat breed that is developed in the 18th century.

The average Suffolk ram weighs 275 pounds (125 kg) and ewe weighs 195 pounds (88kg).

3. Texel sheep

Texel sheep are famous for their lean quality meat and heavily muscled body.

A netherland sheep breed primarily raised for meat.

Texel Sheep is a popular meat sheep breed in Australia, Europe, New Zealand, United States, and Uruguay.

4. South African Meat Merino

South African Meat Merino is raised for Meat. Famous for their slaughter lamb production at an early age.

The South African Meat Merino lamb can weigh around 77 pounds (35 kg) in 100 days of age.

The adult ram weighs 220 pounds (100 kg) and ewe weighs 200 pounds (90kg).

5. Katahdin sheep

Katahdin sheep are raised primarily for meat. The unique breed that is famous for its meat but doesn’t require any shearing.

An American breed that is low maintenance and hardy. It also develops perfect lean meaty carcasses.

The average Katahdin ram weighs 250 pounds (110 kg) and ewe weighs 150 pounds (70 kg).

6. Icelandic sheep

Icelandic Sheep is from Iceland, they are not a tall breed but they are broad. The sheep bring around 80% of its income is from meat alone to Iceland.

Though their wool is famous, the breed is raised primarily for meat.

The Icelandic meat is well flavored and fine grained.

The average Icelandic ram weighs 200 pounds (90 kg) and ewe weighs 150 pounds (70 kg).

7. Tunis sheep

One of the heritage American sheep meat breed that is docile in nature.

The mutton of the sheep is fine grained and has an exceptional flavor.

Tunis is an extremely feed-efficient productive breed raised for meat.

The average Tunis ram weighs 200 pounds (90 kg) and ewe weighs 150 pounds (70 kg).

8. Romanov sheep

Romanov sheep is primarily raised for meat. The breed is from Russia.

Romanov lamb meat has good taste and lacks intensive smell.

The average Romanov ram weighs 155 pounds (70 kg) and ewe weighs 110 pounds (50 kg).

9. Bannur sheep

Bannur sheep is raised primarily in Karnataka,India. The Bannur mutton is famous for its superior taste. The mutton is of premium quality and tender.

The famous Indian lamb curry and Biryani is from Bannur sheep.

Bannur is small breed, that is highly priced in South India. The mature sheep costs around 2000 to 3000 dollars.

The average Bannur ram weighs 66 pounds (30 kg) and ewe weighs 44 pounds (20 kg).

10. Red Maasai sheep

Red Maasai sheep are known among the Maasai community. Predominately they are raised only for meat.

The sheep survive in very tough conditions. Making it one of the hardiest breeds, that produces good mutton.

Most resistant to many sheep parasites, making the breed a great value that can avoid financial losses.

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