Sheep were such an important part of the English economy in the 1500s and 1600s, it is not surprising that they were brought to Plymouth Colony by 1628. Then as now, sheep were valued both for their wool and for their meat.
Wiltshire Horn Sheep take their name from the county of Wiltshire in southwestern England. Today’s Wiltshire Horns are a large breed and are horned rather than polled (hornless). They don’t need to be shorn because they shed their thick hairy coats each spring.
Plimoth Plantation maintains a flock of Wiltshire Horn Sheep. Look for them in the 1627 Pilgrim Village, at the Nye Barn or in pastures around the grounds. There are probably fewer than 5,000 Wiltshire Horn Sheep left in the world today! Plimoth Plantation helps to maintain genetic diversity in livestock through its conservation of rare and heritage breeds like Wiltshire Horn Sheep. These heritage breeds were common in the past, but are in danger of becoming extinct today. For more information on Wiltshire Horn Sheep and other rare and heritage breeds, contact Plimoth Plantation (www.plimoth.org) or the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (www.albc-usa.org).
Net proceeds of these plush animals support Plimoth Plantation's educational programming and exhibits.