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Lamb of The Old Norwegian Sheep Breed (Villsau) an unimproved remnant of the old Norwegian landrace that was raised in the country since the Viking age. It is a small primitive, short-tailed sheep that is mainly found on the west coast of Norway. The breed is adapted to grazing outside all year around in cold and windy climate.
Nikon D3X and Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G VRII at 200mm, f/11, 1/160sec and ISO 200.
This image may be licensed at istockphoto.
Animal husbandry spread throughout Europe, with sheep arriving in Norway during the Neolithic, or “new” Stone Age; remnants have been found in caves from this period. Land cultivation followed. In the early Iron Age, people who were buried at the modern Norwegian Føre, in Bø, Vesterålen, were left with lamb meat for their journey to another life. This shows that sheep were recognised as good food. One additional article the dead received was a spinning wheel, which indeed typifies Iron Age archaeological finds. As now, lambskin was used for clothing, since wool is a good insulator, holding warmth even when wet. When boat sails appeared around AD 600, wool proved to be a suitable material, because woollen sails are both lightweight and quick-drying. One broad lugsail of the type on the Gaukstad ship was probably worth a fortune, based on the enormous number of sheep and working hours needed to spin and weave the huge amount of wool. Weights from vertical looms abound in Iron Age archaeological material. Along with land cultivation, fishing, and hunting marine mammals, sheep raising was of major importance for the Laplanders and Norwegians, providing both food and clothing. Laplanders also sacrificed sheep on sacrificial stones up to the 16-17th centuries. (From woolandsheep.com)
Ewe and lambs of old Norwegian Sheep (Wild Sheep) breed resting in green spring grass.
Nikon D3X and Nikkor 70-200mm 2.8G at 200mm, f/16, 1/125sec and ISO 200.
The image may be licensed at istockphoto.com.
The Norwegian feral sheep (Villsau) is an unimproved remnant of the old Norwegian landrace that was raised in the country since the Viking age. It is a small primitive, short-tailed sheep that is mainly found on the west coast of Norway. The breed is adapted to grazing outside all year around in cold and windy climate. They have a strong flocking instinct and are good mothers. The sheep are small framed, with good legs and a fleece varying in colour with gray and black badger-face the most common colours. Rams are usually horned but 90 % of the ewes are polled. The wool is double coated with variable fibre length and diameter and is used for handicrafts. The mean greasy fleece weight is around 1.5 kg. Adult live weight is 50-60 kg for rams and around 32 kg for ewes. The litter size varies from 1 to 4 lambs at birth. Mean carcass weight of lambs is 12 kg when slaughtered at the age of 5 months. The lamb meat is marketed as a specialty product and is quite popular in restaurants. The population size has grown from 500 sheep in 1956 to around 20,000 adult sheep in 2001. (North SheD - Origin and diversity of North European sheep breeds)