The Wiltshire Horn, like other sheep, is a seasonal breeder. Ewes normally (the time varies a little across Australia) come into season around March, and don't usually cycle during summer months.

 In one study, pregnancies ranged in length from 143 to 153 days and averaged 148 days. The first pregnancy at either 6 (some breeders successfully join the larger ewe lambs in their first year) or 18 months may result in a singleton lamb, but subsequent pregnancies will almost inevitably be of twins, while triplets are common.


Better feed will result in higher multiple births, but twins come consistently from mature ewes even on poor pasture. As a result, depending on the age composition of the ewe flock, time of joining, and pasture growth, lambing percentages are typically of the order of 180% or better.

Weaning percentages are little less as a result of good mothering - birthing problems are rare, and ewes have large udders and are very protective. The ewes expect to have multiple births and mis-mothering is virtually unknown.

Cross breeding

The Wiltshire Horn is suitable for crossing with any other breed to produce lean prime lambs. First cross WiltshirexMerino ewes are excellent prime lamb mothers. They have the great wide hips, wedge shape of the Wiltshires and are good milkers.

They can survive and continue to milk on very poor quality feed and/or overstocking in late autumn and still give a top quality lamb with little husbandry.

There is very little moulting in the merino crosses, the heads are mostly bare and while some wool is shed on the throat, belly and crutch the shedding is not obvious. No break is formed in the fleece so wool shorn from first cross sheep is sound. Crossing the pure bred Wiltshires with a fast growing meat breed gives a lamb with a good average sucker skin. Known highly successful Wiltshire crosses have been with Dorpers and Border Leicesters.

Although not as lean as the pure bred lambs they achieve considerably heavier weights much sooner and can be marketed earlier. Their weight for age is equal to traditional second-cross prime lambs. A clean shedding sheep can usually be produced by the third cross using a Wiltshire ram over Coopworth or Dorper or similar ewes.

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  • Available birth weight figures for single lambs are between 3.7-6.4 kg (average 4.7 kg) and for twin lambs 2.7- 6.0 kg (ave 4 kg).
  • Weights at twelve weeks for single ram lambs can be over 30-35 kg, while twin ram lambs, and ewe lambs, can be over 25-30kg.
  • Figures from one stud in one drop - Ram lambs averaged 4.3 kg at birth (max 5.9), 30 kg at 126 days, and at an average of 250 days averaged 53 kg (max 69 kg) with an average 27 mm depth of eye muscle and just 5 mm of fat.
  • Ewe lambs averaged 3.9 kg at birth (max 5.3), 27.5 kg at 124 days, and at an average of 248 days averaged 45 kg (max 54 kg), with an average 26 mm of eye muscle and 5.7 mm of fat.
  • Average mature rams are 100-110kg and an average ewe about 70-80kg.

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