Why do sheep have colourful wool?

02 January 2023 by Rachel Wilson

Why do sheep have colourful wool?

If you've had the chance to drive past a field of sheep recently, then you might have noticed that the sheep, or more specifically the ewes, often have a colourful behind. This is called tupping and in this blog, we'll explain what it's all about. 

One of the quintessential English sights is lambs frolicking in a lush green field, but have you ever wondered about how lambs arrive into the world? It all starts with tupping.

Lots of preparation goes into ensuring the ewes are comfortable and fully healthy before the breeding process begins. They are moved to the best, most lushest fields to get to a healthier weight; fit but not too fat! 

One ram is able to breed with 35 to 50 ewes! And the ewes don't play hard to get either, they can actually be quite romantic by chasing the rams and staying close to each other for a few days.

Colour is applied to the ram's chest or harness using a special oil based paint known as raddle. This in turn transfers onto the ewe so the farmer can tell who's been tupped with who and when it happened. The colour is changed at certain intervals and that explains why sheep have colourful bottoms during tupping time.

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Our best-selling Herdwick Gang range features a range of gifts with a fantastic picture of some colourful Herdwick Sheep.

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