Our wonderful sheep at Fishers
Here at Fishers Farm Park, we love our sheep (as well as all our other many different types of wonderful animals of course). You might think “a sheep is a sheep”, but that is where you’d be wrong! Did you know that there are many different types of sheep and we have a wide variety here at the farm. Next time you visit Fishers, you can impress your friends, by knowing your sheep breeds!
Introducing our sheep.
Swiss Valais Blacknose
Our cuddly Swiss Valais Blacknose sheep arrived at Fishers July 2022. Their small black faces, combined with soft white fleece earned them the reputation of ‘cutest sheep in the world’ and they definitely are! Accustomed to harsh mountain environments, they are strong and easily adaptable animals. Their wool is considered perfect for carpets and felting. (Any felters out there, give us a shout if you need wool! We have two lots a year available.)
We have two rams (male sheep), Fynn and Noah and 6 ewes (female sheep). With such thick wool, these gorgeous sheep need to be sheared twice a year living in the UK, as they are used to to such cold weather where they originate. So if you are at the farm around October time, you may wonder why we have freshly sheared sheep in our Animal Encounters Barn. Well now you know!
Did you know? You cannot call a ram, a ram, if it has been castrated, they are called “wethers”. Well, you learn something new every day!
You can see from the pictures below the difference in being sheared and when their wool has grown long. They look like completely different sheep!
These are dark grey, white faced sheep that originate in the Lake District in the North of England. Here they eat the heather on the high fells and moorland. They are extremely hardy and easily withstand the harshest weather conditions due to their twin layer of insulation; the inner one being ‘wool’ and the outer layer being a coarse hair or ‘kemp’. Now that really is cosy in the winter!
Did you know? Beatrix potter, the famous author, owned several farms in the Lake District and was passionate about only farming Herdwicks on all her farms. She bequeathed fifteen farms, an area of 4,000 acres, to the National Trust, and per her instructions all continue to graze. What a lovely legacy to leave.
Our Kerry Hill have distinctive black and white markings. They originally come from Powys in Wales and the name comes from the Village of Kerry. They are pedigree and registered to the Kerry Hill Sheep Society, who have very high standards. For example, no solid black legs are allowed, only black knees and hooves. Ooops, looks like our ewe below wont pass the pedigree test. Well that doesn’t matter to us, we love them all.
A breed which can breed all year round, unlike all other sheep breeds, which are only fertile from September to March. They are a short wooled sheep, very different from our Swiss Valais, with their thick coats. They originate from Australia, so now it makes sense why they have shorter wool.
Boarder Leicester are a British breed of sheep. These are a large but docile breed. These chaps are also hardy and strong muscled. They are known to be good foragers and can get on well with less feed than other breeds of sheep. (However, the sheep at Fishers are all fed the same and you can’t treat one animal differently, because they all kick up a fuss if they see someone else getting something that they aren’t.
Texel sheep are a domestic breed from the isle of Texel in the Netherlands. This stocky breed are white faced. with no wool on their heads or legs, Pedigree breeding is a serious business and all new lambs need to be DNA sampled to be fully registered as pedigree.
South Down Sheep
We have recently got two new South Down ewes and a Ram called Augustus. (What a name!) They are a British breed and amongst the smallest of the breeds. They have short wool and are also docile and great at getting on with other breeds of livestock.
So there you have it, you are now an expert on the Fishers Farm sheep breeds. See if you can spot the different ones when you are on your next visit.