Shropshire Sheep, as the name suggests, come from Shropshire. They are a "Rare Breed"
and are currently being used to manage tree plantations in Denmark - as they do not
eat or damage young trees - something I am keen to try on our land in the future.
The flock was established in 2010 with a few ewes and a ram from Bruce Jobson in
Northumberland. Chancer the ram and his wives made the journey up in August 2010
to live under a volcano! They firmly believed that being under a volcano must mean
that life would be warm and snug - but they were in for a rude awakening. At first
all was nice and cosy and they enjoyed their move to Scotland and the attention of
locals who regarded them as “Suffolks with bonnets”. All were soon happily in lamb
and having Gladys as their leader they settled down to enjoy their pregnancies. [For
those interested in following weekly events, Gladys Sheep has her own Facebook page,
and is always looking for new 'Friends'!] Then the winter arrived! Snow to nearly
3 feet deep, which entailed a hasty retreat to the dutch barn for a couple of weeks.
Actually I think they were rather grateful they were not Blackies and having to struggle
out on the wilds of the Cabrach.
Eventually spring arrived and they all had twins, who romped around the fields growing
fast. We kept the ewe lambs and sold the ram lambs direct to customers who had them
butchered to their own requirements. We have good feedback as to the quality of the
lambs and so will be repeating this project again this year. I shall be taking orders
for ½ or whole lambs in the summer.We have let the ewe lambs run on for a year before
they will go to a new ram later in 2012. Chancer has had another season with his
wives and has also acquired some Mule gimmers (maiden ewes over 1 year old).The Mules
were not nearly so quiet or easy going as the Shropshires, and when they were first
put together regarded each other with great suspicion. However, they now all get
along fine and are happy to come to call or follow a bucket. One thing they all have
in common is a need to have their feet trimmed - not one of my favourite tasks, as
you can imagine. Even though I can turn the sheep over, it is back breaking bending
down to do their feet. So, in the autumn I invested in a turn-over crate which has
been an absolute Godsend.