About Herbert Sheep
“Wild” sheep or “bushies” have long been known to occur in
the area around the headwaters of the Waianakarua River, inland from Herbert
and Hampden, in North Otago, NZ. This area is at the southern end of the
Kakanui Mountains and the northern end of the Horse Range. They originated from
“stragglers” that escaped muster on sheep farms, and although occasionally
shot, were largely left alone. From about the 1970s serious efforts were made
to eradicate these feral animals, partly to facilitate development of some of
the land, and partly because of the perceived damage they were causing to
patches of native forest. About this time, some were “re-domesticated”, largely
for their novelty value.
|Philip Simpson photo|
Although these sheep are generally referred to as the
“Herbert” breed – named after the Herbert Forest plantation of exotic pine
trees planted in the foothills – they have also been called “Waianakarua” sheep
from the river that flows through the area, and even “Kakanui” from the
southern end of the mountain range, part of which forms the catchment of the
There are few of these sheep in domestication, and no
studies have been made of them.
Photo Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz).