These sheep can weigh up to 100kg, as they carry a lot of muscle and fat, with each sheep usually eating around 4% of their body weight each day. The sheep graze predominantly on ryegrass and clover pasture, of which is cut for hay in the summer. In the summer time the sheep can also eat sewn crops including lucerne, plantain, rape, and turnips. Did you know sheep only have teeth on the bottom of their mouths?
Natural materials can get caught in downs wool, including grass seed (predominantly barley and brome grass) and thistles. Most farmers do their best to minimise these pollutants, and to keep other items such as string (from hay bales) and wire from fences out of the wool. The sheep may have to be drenched for parasites including tapeworm, ringworm, and liver fluke, but it depends on their location in relation to other properties.
In Australia, sheep often have to compete for grass with local kangaroo species, while lambs need to be careful of Australia’s massive fox population. Foxes are hunted and trapped to protect the sheep, and sometimes an alpaca is used to protect the sheep herd, as alpacas are quite aggressive to these intruders. Sheep dogs like kelpies are often used to help round up the flocks of sheep.
The majority of sheep grown in Australia can spend their entire lives outdoors, as the weather doesn’t get nearly as cold as in England where they are often kept in sheds during blizzards and heavy snows. Downs breeds are quite hardy to cold temperatures.