The main bulk of our land is used as grazing for our sheep. We tend to tup around 13 ewes each year to ensure that we have enough young stock coming back into breeding flock to allow us to replace ewes as they age. We don’t run an intensive system and tend to be too soft on our sheep, giving ewes a ‘year off’ if they don’t take one year.
The majority of our flock consists of Ryeland sheep. We started with this breed in 2010 and all of our stock is registered under the name Drake with the Ryeland Flock Book Society. This breed is perfect for a smallholder as they are smaller than commercial breeds and are a good dual purpose sheep. Though we specialise in breeding stock we also keep them for meat and wool.
The second breed we keep is the Blue-faced Leicester. The BFL has one of the finest fleeces of all UK sheep breeds which makes the fibre very popular with knitters, crocheters and crafters. They are also used in crossing to make the Mule which is a fast-growing, hardy meat sheep. We have two Blue-faces named Fruit and Nut, these girls are bred to our Ryeland rams and also kept for their fleece.
Our final breed is the Bowmont. This breed was developed in Scotland by crossing Merino and Shetland sheep. The result is an animal with the fine fleece of a Merino but with a hardiness closer to that of a Shetland. There are not many Bowmonts around and we are lucky enough to have two wethers named Rab (Rab C. Nesbitt) and Tag (Taggart) who are kept for their fleece.