In the nineteen-seventies
a feral flock of several thousand sheep could be found on Pitt Island in the
Chatham group, New Zealand.
These possibly derived
from Saxony Merinos first taken to South-East Island - another island in the
Chatham group - in 1841 and later transferred to Pitt Island. In any case, the
flock is known with certainty to have been in existence for almost a century.
A Reserve for 300 of these
animals was created on Pitt Island in 1981. A number have also been taken to
mainland New Zealand.
Pitt Island sheep are
almost all colored and have the self-shedding fleeces characteristic of feral
breeds. The rams are impressively horned - up to a meter long measured around
In a study made of the
sheep on the Reserve in 1981, Dr M. R. Rudge found that only 11.1% of rams and
8.8% of ewes were white; 97% of rams were horned but only 13% of the ewes had
true horns, though 54% of the ewes had scurs.
Content and Photo
Source: New Zealand Rare Breeds (www.rarebreeds.co.nz