The Whittlewood Flock

The Whittlewood Flock


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The Ewes

History

We started our flock in the summer of 2010 with the purchase of just 5 ewes. This has now grown to 15 breeding ewes and will expand at a modest rate over time using our own lambs and additional purchases as needed.

In the first year we crossed these with a Southdown ram that we borrowed, producing 5 lambs. In our second year we produced 11 purebred lambs and in 2013 another 10 purebred lambs.

Portland ewes all have horns and grow a fantastic fleece. They only produce one lamb, so about as least commercial as you can get, although they will lamb every 8 months (although that is a matter for some experiment).

Pedigree

All of our flock are registered with the Portland Sheep Breeders Group. This ensures full traceability of our flock and ensures that the care of any animals we buy in can be ascertained too.

Health and Welfare

All of our animals are kept outside all year round. They have plenty of natural grazing and traditional hedges for shelter. Being a small flock we can understand the requirements of each ewe on an individual basis. Any problems are addressed immediately.

Each year we ask our vet to do an annual flock health check. I would recommend this to everyone: it gives feedback on what you are doing; keeps you abreast of current health issues; reviews all aspects of the flock's health; and reviews breeding. Current issues we're looking at are:

  • worm egg count in order to minimise the use of wormers
  • blood test for Schmallenberg virus to see whether we need to vacinate
  • keep on top of feet issues

    During pregnancy and after lambing we supplement their feed as needed to ensure they are in the best possible condition. In the winter we supplement their forage with local hay. In 2011 we grew Mangel Worzel (a traditional but high energy giving feed) and fed these over the winter. At present we are growing turnips to supplement winter feed, as they seem to be more successful in our ground.

    For emergencies we built a small 'sheep shack', just big enough for 2 ewes with lambs if the need arises. On this day we were checking them out and they all decided to come in to help!

      The ewes in the sheep shack    

    Lambing Cycle

      2012 Mum and lamb    

    We are currently working on an 8 month lambing cycle. We lamb in the months of January, August and then May, meaning that in one year we get two sets of lambs and just one set in the next.

    Our lambing cycle presents a number of challenges, not least the different weather conditions, the volume of grass and the workload. we count ourselves as being very lucky this year: our first lamb appear on 5th January and the last on the 22nd, just before the cold weather hit. As of early February all were enjoying the snow!

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    Copyright (c) 2012 The Whittlewood Flock
    Last updated 13-Dec-2019