This old breed is very independent, tough and smart challenging for even the most dogged Border Collie!
All Blackfaces are horned, with black or black and white face and legs. The fleece should be free of black fiber and can vary from short, fine wool used for carpets and tweeds to strong coarse wool, which is sold mainly for the Italian mattress trade.
There are several distinct types within the breed. These have evolved over the years, influenced by climate, environment and grazing quality. This gives the breed the advantage of being able to produce species to suit every climatic condition. The Scottish Blackface, which are the most numerous, are sub-divided into three types.
The breed's origin is lost in the midst of time, but undoubtedly emerged from the genetic umbrella of' horned sheep from which also sprung the Swaledale, Rough Fell and other localized types such as the Lewis and Mayo Blackface.
Monastery records of the 12th century tell of the Dun or Blackface breed of sheep. The monks used the wool for their clothes, and also exported large amounts to Europe.
In the 16th century, King James IV of Scotland established an improved Blackface flock in Ettrick Forest. During the 17th and 18th centuries. It was known as the Linton Sheep, West Linton in Peeblesshire being the main sale for the type.
In the early 19th century, the breed was taken from Dumfriesshire and Lanarkshire and introduced into the north of Scotland, but due to the high price of cheviot wool the Blackfaces were cleared off the hills in favor of the cheviot. This continued until 1860, when the wool prices reached the same level and the farmers realized that the blackface, with its ability to survive and reproduce in adverse weather conditions, was the best suited breed to utilize hill and mountain grazing.
In the late 19th century, there was an upsurge in interest in breed improvement. Many of the farms that sold high priced tups (rams) and enthusiastically promoted the breed at that time possessed names that are still well known today.
Our heritage Black Welsh Mountain sheep are a registered conservation herd as well as sustainable livestock resource, they are a small dual purpose breed that provides excellent mild lamb and completely black, dense, durable fleece.
The Black Welsh Mountain Sheep breed was developed in the mountains of Wales about a century ago from black sheep that occurred in the Welsh Mountain breed which is white. The breed was recognized in 1922 with the establishment of the Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Society.
Black Welsh Mountain sheep are small to medium in size. Rams have attractive horns that curl around the ears, while ewes are polled. The wool is short, thick, and densely stapled. The staple length is 5-10 cm, and the fiber diameter ranges between 28-36 microns. The average wool clip is three to four pounds per sheep. Black Welsh Mountain wool is attractive to handspinners. The natural black color makes it valuable for use undyed or in combination with other wools, when it is used to make grays or in the manufacture of tweeds and other patterns.
The breed is known for its hardiness and self-reliance, qualities that were important in its native environment. Black Welsh Mountain sheep are also excellent foragers and excellent mothers, able to raise lambs on marginal pasture. Black Welsh Mountain market lamb is considered premium meat in Britain.
We raise a very small flock of Texel's here at L&M Ranch with a goal of producing rams to use in our breeding program specifically to cross breed with ewes to produce larger market lambs.
We also offer rams and a limited number of ewes for sale each year.
The Texel originated on the Isle of Texel off the coast of The Netherlands early in the early nineteenth century.
The original Old Texel was probably a short-tailed variety of sheep.
Limited importations of Lincoln and Leicester Longwool were crossed with this stock during
The characteristics of the breed were established early on through a series of local showing competitions on the island.
The Texel breed today is a white-faced breed with no wool on the head or legs.
The breed is characterized by a distinctive short, wide face with a black nose and widely placed, short ear with a nearly horizontal carriage.
These sheep also have black hooves. The wool is of medium grade (46’s-56’s) with no black fibers. Mature animals shear fleece weights of 3.5-5.5 kg.
The most outstanding feature of the Texel breed, however, is its remarkable muscle development and leanness. Research results from Clay Center and the University of Wisconsin indicate that Texel-sired lambs typically have a 6-10% advantage in loin-eye area when compared to American black-face-sired lambs.
The Texel has become the dominant terminal-sire breed in Europe. It is currently nearly equal to the Suffolk in market-share in the United Kingdom and gaining fast.
The breed is also gaining in popularity in Australia and New Zealand as their production systems have shifted away from primary emphasis on wool to greater emphasis on lamb meat production. The breed clearly offers an opportunity for the North American sheep industry to improve the carcass merit of its product as well.
Texel sheep are docile, easy to work around and don't excite easily. Texel ewes are excellent milkers and lambs gain quickly. They are easy keeping sheep thrive on grass.
We maintain a small flock of this very rare and ancient breed for conservation purposes in effort to help maintain genetic diversity in sheep breeds much the way people maintain heirloom vegetable varieties.
The Soay has the most primitive appearance of any British sheep breed and takes its name from the island of Soay in the St. Kilda group.
Soay means “sheep island” in Norse which suggests that there have been sheep on the island since at least the time of the Vikings.
107 Soays were transported to the island of Hirta in 1932, two years after the last human inhabitants had left and have been maintained as a feral population ever since numbering around 1500 sheep nowadays.
Over the years Soays have been imported on to the mainland but remain rare.
The Soay is exceptionally hardy and can survive in the most adverse conditions. Anecdotal evidence suggests few footrot problems, low incidence of flystrike (Soays can shed their own fleeces) and general resistance to most health problems affecting more developed breeds. Ewes can produce lambs at up to 10-12 years old. Depending on the location, lambing percentages range from 80-90% when left to their own devices but can reach 150% in the lowlands with good management. Lambs are small, born easily and are quick to rise. A small, athletic looking sheep that has something of the look of a gazelle about it.
Ewes weigh around 25kg and rams, 40kg.
They are brown in colour (tan to chocolate) with lighter patches around the eyes, the underside of the body, on the rump and under the jaws.
Ewes are either polled or horned, ram usually horned. Some individuals are scurred (small, misshapen horns).