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Meet the Noakes Grove sheep

They are Wiltshire Horns

The Noakes Grove sheep: Wiltshire Horn ewes

 

We have eleven ewe sheep but only three have lambs this year (a pair of twins and two singletons). Four of the ewes without lambs are currently at Kings Field in Hempstead. We also have a young ram and his (male) companion. They are too closely related to our ewes for us to breed from them, so they are up for sale.

The Noakes Grove flock is registered with the official Wiltshire Horn Sheep Society. The original ewes were born in April 2009, they visit a ram in autumn and the lambs are born in April. They are enclosed in electric fenced paddocks so they can be moved to new parts of the meadow, while the part they have left recovers and any parasites they have left in the soil are given time to die. Natural parasite control is very important as the sheep are not given any regular, routine medication (only medicines prescribed by a vet as appropriate if they get sick).

The 2018 plans: The original ewes are getting elderly and only three of the seven went to the ram this autumn - all got pregnant but one very late so she only had her lamb in July. The other four will continuue as conservation meadow mowers during their current retirement. We have kept four ewe lambs born in 2017 and these will become part of the breeding flock this autumn.

Wiltshire Horns are one of the traditional English breed approved by Natural England for additional Environmental Stewardship grant-aid. they have two big advantages over many modern breeds: the sheep can live out year round and do not have to be shorn. the wool is molted naturally every year, so they have a permanent fairly short fleece and are much less likely to get "fly strike" problems than sheep with thick coats of wool.

The sheep are visited at least once a day to see that all is well, top up their water pots and give extra food in winter or when the ewes are feeding young lambs. These routine visits are done by a team of volunteer shepherds and shepherdesses (and their children) who live near by and any of whom can call in expert help if the need arises. We are very grateful to the current members of our Noakes Grove and Kings Field sheep teams.

The weaned lambs are sometimes moved to graze under the apple trees in our apple orchard - a field at Ellis Green, Wimbish.

Wiltshore Horn lambs at Ellis Green, Wimbish

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