Wensleydale Ewe and Lamb

in homesteading •  last year

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Following a complaint about the small size of the ewe and lamb in my avatar, I've added the full size pic here. The lamb is just a few days old, and was the first ewe lamb born to my flock of rare breed longwool Wensleydale sheep in 2014.

The Wensleydale is a large, tall breed with stunning and unique looks as well as outstanding performance. Their fleece is very highly prized for its length, fineness and shimmering lustre, and is usually one of the highest priced wools in UK. Lambs are slim and long limbed, which makes for easy lambing even for first time lambers and small ewes, but they are lively youngsters who quickly thrive and grow into confident, friendly lambs. I can't claim to have tasted the meat, but understand it is tasty and low in fat.

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A lovely picture! The mum's head angle shows protection while the lamb looks a little nervous.
The wool reminds me of dreadlocks.
Thank you for explaining about the breed.
Considering the size of the few day old lamb compared to the size of the mum, giving birth must be quite a trauma!
Great post!

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Yes, it is like dreadlocks, wait till you see next posts with long fleece!

I've been considering sheep for my homestead.

As the American wool market is poor, I've been considering either hair-sheep or specialty wool sheep.

How are they to raise?

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In the UK they are about the only sheep that you can afford to carry as wethers or into retirement - most wool prices don't cover the cost of shearing a small flock.

You cant get around the fact that they are big sheep who seem to be comparatively intelligent, yet can't understand that they are sheep. Very friendly and will use their strength to get their way if charm doesn't work. But I've never come across a bad tempered one,
and lambs soon become easy to handle, seeming to be, and remain, more people friendly and curious.

Healthwise , the lambs are all legs and ears initially, and dont always seem to have control over the direction those long legs are moving in, but within a few days they are stable, strong and active. They feed well and grow well, but remain fairly lean.

The fleece has a shine and few barbs, so they are far less likely to get fly strike. The only time Ive had one lame was from injury (sharp flint stone) never footrot etc. I have had them with tiny raised bumps or rough skin on muzzles. But now realise this is from thistles because they have very little wool covering on faces and crop grass very close to thistles etc. Remove thistles to instantly remove problem.

They seem to hold weight better than other largish breeds although they will tell you that they are starving and have no trouble raising large twins. I use rams on smaller ewes and find lambing easy but the tall lambs do tend to lift mum off the ground when they feed as weaning gets close!

They will browse on rough weeds and hedges more than many sheep, and of course clip the higher parts of your hedges! Ive never had one break through fencing, even though there have been times when it has been very poor.

On a smallholding/homestead I suggest they will become far more part of the family than many breeds. The fleece is highly prized by handspinners and can be improved still more with a little cereal. They are excellent mums and mine adopt an extra lamb easily - or pinch one of somebody elses given half a chance. On the downside their height makes them harder to flip, but I find they readily accept a collar or halter and I tie mine and shear them standing. They appear to enjoy the attention.

Having less ability to 'fluff up' their fleece for insulation they seem to feel heat more and run for cover as soon as it rains, so shade/shelter is appreciated although they are quite hardy.

Some lines here have a lot of long fleece on legs and underside of throat that can collect mud and wet in winter. I clip some of mine because in an English winter they can stay wet for weeks!

Their biggest downfall - they become an addiction.

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They sound awesome!

Kinna like a shaggy goat, but with a better temperament!

How are they when it comes to worms?

I've been considering hair sheep due to their worm resistance, but if I can find a larger wool producing sheep with decent resistance to worms, I may change my plans!

They are sweet looking sheep. I have never seen a sheep with such an unusual look. 🐓🐓

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Yes. Unusual in many ways. Almost cunning when they become older and wiser!

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They come in colours as well as white, have a look at my next post and you'll see my almost jet black ram and sun-bleached brown girls.

Let me see if I understand this correctly: some sheople were complaining about your sheep. You know what? I don't need a lot of details, you got my support. Keep on homesteading!!!

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