The Tukidale breed was developed in New Zealand from a mutant Romney ram with the "hairy" gene which is now distinctive of carpet wool sheep. Two Tukidale rams were introduced to Australia in 1975.
Technically, the Tukidale is a not a new breed of sheep, but rather a Romney sheep carrying the T gene for hair. The breed originated on M.W. Coop's property in New Zealand from a ram born November 26, 1966. The ram possessed the T gene, which is dominant. The T gene is responsible not only for producing the specialty carpet-type fleece, but also the formation of horns in the male and, to a lesser extent in females.
Tukidale sheep are easy care sheep of good conformation and high fertility, with carcass acceptability. High fleece weight with a diameter in the range of 35-45 microns, with a high percentage of medullated fibers. They have an extremely fast rate of wool growth, resulting in two wool clips per year at a premium price.
The Tukidale breed was developed in New Zealand from a mutant Romney ram that showed the dominant medullated (or hairy) gene distinctive of carpet wool sheep. Two Tukidale rams were introduced to Australia in 1975 and mated to Romney ewes.
From this small start, Tukidales have spread from New South Wales to Victoria and South Australia, with small numbers in other states.
The Tukidale is a very robust and hardy sheep that can produce prime lambs in areas of good rainfall and pasture conditions. They are horned, of medium fertility, with chalky white wool that is highly medullated and harsh to handle.
Fleece and Fibre
Tukidale fibre diameter can be more than 35 microns. The fibre has characteristics that give carpets resilience, hard wearing qualities and the ability to accept dyes readily. The wool grows at approximately 2.5 cm per month and needs shearing every six months.
The staple length is long, around 15 cm (6 inches). The fibre range is generally 35 microns but according to publications can be as thick as 45 microns.
Since the breed was bred as a strong, durable fibre, it is perfect for carpet, strong upholstery, and other hard wearing products.
The fibre is long, growing an inch (2.5 cm) per month. The Tukidale association in Australia suggests that the breed needs to be sheared twice a year, though a fiber artist might enjoy a 12 inch staple!
This fiber may be difficult for the handspinner for the every day project. But for handwoven carpets, it seems a good choice.
Where to Find Fibre or Products to Support this Breed
Gallery- A series of photos specific to this breed (link to come)
Further information is available from:
Tukidale Sheep Society of Australia Inc.
813 Main Road
Chandlers Hill SA 5159
Tel: 08 8270 2394
(no website listed for this association)