The Flock

The flock of ewes has Jacob, Shetland, Beulah x Romney, and Badger Face. I keep two rams, a Shetland and a Southdown, the Shetland lambs are slower to mature and I sell them as ‘hogget’. By contrast, the Southdown lambs are much quicker to mature and I sell them as lamb.

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Shetland Ewes

History

Archaeological evidence points to early Neolithic farmers keeping sheep on the Shetland Islands. To-day, Shetland sheep retain the characteristics of wild sheep including hardiness and longevity and a propensity to disregard any form of enclosure! They are a small sheep, rams have rounded horns and ewes have none and the distinctive small arrow shaped tail.

We have around fourteen breeding ewes, five ewe lambs and a ram.

Meat

The Shetland sheep produces a very high quality meat with outstanding flavour, and they store their fat around the organs rather than the muscle, this results in a far leaner meat than less primitive breeds. In addition it is low in lipid fat making it low in cholesterol.

  • Lamb – from sheep under one year, is lean and succulent and does not need elaborate sauces to give it taste.
  • Hoggs or hoggets – are aged 1 -2 years old and is similar to lamb with a little more flavour.
  • Mutton – aged over 2 years old, some cuts improve with slow cooking but mostly the meat can be cooked like lamb, but is more flavoursome.

Wool

In the past when wool was the main product of sheep, the Shetland was bred to develop an exceptionally fine, soft wool. This has and is still used to make the famous ‘fair isle’ knitwear and tweeds. There are 11 main shades of colour; white, fawn, mioget, musket, moorit, dark brown, black, shaela, emsket, grey and light grey.

I have wool spun into DK and 4 ply knitting wool by the Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall, easy to knit knitting patterns for hats, gloves, sweaters and children’s jacket available.

Sheepskins

The lovely colours make fantastic rugs, which I have tanned by a small tannery in Somerset.


Jacob Ewes

History

Jacob sheep get their name from the Bible, in which a story is told about Jacob, who selects all the spotted sheep and becomes a breeder of pied sheep.

Jacob sheep went to North Africa, Morocco and Spain. Around 17th Century, they were imported to Warwickshire.

Ewes and rams can have two to six horns, some are rounded and some straight. They have black and white wool, sometimes dark brown and white. When ours have been clipped, they are often mistaken for goats!

We have eight pure bred breeding ewes, three ewe lambs and some Jacob X breeding ewes.

Meat

The Jacob sheep like the Shetland, produces a lean meat. Our Jacob sheep are crossed with our Southdown Ram to produce a lovely full flavoured sweat meat. Like the Shetland, the meat can be eaten as Lamb, Hogget or Mutton or equally tasty.

Wool

The wool is fairly fine, it is good for felting and knitting. I have it spun by Diamond Fibres, in Horam and I sell it ready to felt or as DK and 4 ply. suitable for knitting yarn for making blankets, scarves and woollens.

Knitting lessons and advice available.


Southdown Ram

History

From time immemorial the Southdown sheep were a feature of the South Downs. In 1341, 110,000 Southdown sheep were recorded for producing wool and in 1831, the number had risen to 200,000. The Southdown would be grazing on the Downs with a shepherd during the day and ‘folded’ at night. By 1987, with the demise of the wool industry and changes in farming practice, there were so few left, that they were put on the endangered and rare breed list.

To day, the Southdown has made a return to popularity by improving the breed with stock from New Zealand and France. The Southdown produces a fine meat and continues to have a quiet and amenable nature. The Southdown crossed with any ewe, Jacob or Shetland, will produce an active lamb which, needing little from it’s dam.

We have a Southdown ram who is a good cross for our ewes because he produces gentle and thrifty lambs.