The Tunis sheep breed originated in the country of Tunisia in Northern Africa. This unique-looking breed was first introduced to the United States in 1799 and barely survived the American Civil War. The Tunis is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in the world and it is believed that they have been around since before the dawn of Christianity.
What Do Tunis Sheep Look Like?
They are average in size and feature reddish-brown legs and faces with ears that are pendulous.
Though smaller than the Suffolk (and with different color), the appearance of Tunis is otherwise similar to this large meat breed.
The head and legs of Tunis are free of wool and their tails are fatter than many other breeds. This is a trait some attribute to their African heritage (where water was rare).
These sheep offer a good balance of productive qualities to farmers, are generally easy to own and manage, and the unique appearance of these “red heads” make them a unique and popular choice for those looking for something different on their farm.
Why Raise Tunis?
This breed has a strong mothering instinct. The ewes produce ample milk to raise multiple lambs.
Many consider Tunis sheep fleece to be one of the most valuable of all the meat breeds. Though farmers raise this breed is first and foremost for meat production, the wool is a welcome bonus.
The Tunis sheep breed is not as popular in the U.S. today, but there are small pockets around the country where breeders are concentrated and these breeders are very enthusiastic about raising Tunis.
Tunis Sheep Breed Information
|Mature Body Weight||Ram: 175 – 225 pounds|
Ewe: 130 – 160 pounds
|Average Fiber Diameter||Micron 26 – 31|
USDA Wool Grade 50’s – 58’s
|Grease Fleece Weight||8 – 12 pounds|
|Wool Staple Length||~4 inches|
For more information about Tunis or to find a breeder near you visit the National Tunis Sheep Registry website.