Origin and diversity of North European sheep breeds
Norwegian Rygja sheep, (20)
Norwegian Rygja sheep is originally from Rogaland in south vest Norway.
In the 18th century the local Norwegian Spael sheep
was crossed with several imported breeds, such as Merino, South Down,
and Leicester. After 1860 mostly Cheviot- and Sutherland sheep were
imported and had also an influence. In later years further crossings
have been made with Texel-, Finnsheep, Dala- and Steigar sheep. The
Rygja sheep are now spread throughout Norway and are bred for both meat
and wool production. The sheep are white, long-tailed and both rams
and ewes are polled The wool is uniform with mean fibre diameter of
37.4 microns. The mean greasy fleece weight is around 3.5 kg. The breed
is known for producing shiny wool, almost free of medullated fibres but
with less bulk than the wool of Dala and Steigar sheep. The wool is
used for many purposes, mostly various types of yarns, and pelts are
used for nappa-leather and woolskins. The wither height of adult rams
is 76 cm. Adult live weight is 110 kg for rams and 75-80 kg for ewes.
The mean litter size is 1.89 lambs at birth and 1.52 weaned. Mean carcass
weight of lambs is 18.3 kg when slaughtered at the age of 6 months.
The largest proportion of carcasses falls into grade O in the EUROP
Local name: Rygjasau