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History of the Flock - Why keep Lleyn Sheep?

The first Lleyn ewes were purchased for the Brettles flock in 1997 to see whether they were a possible alternative to the flock of North Country Mules and Charollais cross N.C.Mules kept on the farm traditionally.

They were expensive to purchase but soon proved that they were easy to keep. Their Charollais cross lambs grew well, they were easy to lamb and they ate a lot less than the Mules.

When the decision was made to change over to a smaller ewe for easier handling the Lleyn was a natural choice based on the experience of the first purchase.

Added to the need for a smaller ewe was the decision to change over the farm to be completely Maedi Visna Accredited rather than running an accredited and a non-accredited flock.

The Lleyns fitted this requirement too as all the major flocks in the country were already MV Accredited.


Brettles Lleyn Shearling ewe

The changeover took place in 2003/4 and has proved successful. There was an initial concern that the pure bred Lleyn wethers and non-selected Lleyn ram lambs would not finish easily and not command good prices in the market. These concerns were unjustified as the conformation of the pure bred Lleyn lambs is remarkably good. When crossed with the Charollais the meaty lambs sell well and there have been several enquiries for cross bred ewe lambs for breeding.

The Lleyns have helped towards a lower input system of management. They forage well and keep condition well off even poorer quality grass. They are prolific and good mothers with a plentiful supply of milk and they take to the ram with very few stragglers when tupped in early October.

The opportunity to grow towards a totally closed female flock was another advantage and this has now been achieved. Now, the purchase of good rams will be needed from time to time to provide new bloodlines and improve the quality. In this way the risk of bringing in new health problems can be minimised.