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Flock Profiles

Introduction:
Llanwenog breeders are scattered all over the country and are all different; some are large commercial enterprises and many are small holder/hobby flocks. To give you a flavour of what other breeders are up to we want to run a series of features to supplement our limited programme of farm walks and visits. If you would like to be featured, please send in some text and photos
Please email us, at: llanwenogsg@gmail.com
 

Hallsford Flock - 274:

On 9th July 2011 the LLanwenog Sheep Breeders Support Group combined our AGM with our Summer Flock visit to the Hallsford Flock.

Summer Flock Visit 2011

 A warm welcome along with coffee and shortbread greeted those members who found their way to Haggbeck, Carlisle and the home of Andrew and Helen Tomkins and their family (Hallsford Flock 274). A few miles further and we’d become the ‘Scottish breeders support group’ and Andrew explained a bit about the fascinating History of the “disputed lands”, the notorious Border Reivers (the lawless clans of the border valleys, where a lifestyle of raiding cattle and goods from your neighbours was the only way to survive in Elizabethan times) and as a result of this torment the Bastle house – a simple fortified farmhouse with thick walls and space for the animals downstairs.

The sun shone as we gathered and chatted but just as we set off to see Andrew’s flock we were treated to a sudden downpour. The sheep could be seen heading off for shelter and were not best pleased to be rounded up for our inspection. This is not fell country but upland grazing and Andrew explained how he had chosen the Llanwenog as he thought it would suit the land very well thriving on the rougher grazing and needing little extra input. He would very much like to increase his flock but cannot buy in enough extra purebred ewes locally so has bred his own, resulting in a mix of pure Llanwenog, Charollais and Hampshire Down crosses, which also do well on his grazing and produce a good lamb for his mail-order meat business.

After a magnificent lunch of Hallsford beef and pork followed by delicious local cheeses we settled down to the main business of the day – the AGM.

Later, umbrellas away, we were shown the herd of beef Shorthorn cattle which were also chosen for their ability to thrive on Andrew’s pasture with little extra input. The business also sells pork, mostly Gloucester Old Spots and our tour finished with a look at some weaners and a couple of sows about to farrow.

Our thanks must go to the Tomkins family for taking the time and care to host the AGM. We all appreciated their hospitality

Blackhall Flock  - 380

On 14th May 2011 the LLanwenog Sheep Breeders Support Group visited Blackhall Flock.

Spring Flock Visit

Arriving in the beautiful Devon village of South Tawton, our visit coincided with the monthly craft market. Naturally this demanded our attention as well as a pint or two - before we got stuck into the main event. Our hosts were Lawrence & Sue Jones (Blackhall Flock 380) and as well as a number of local Llanwenog breeders, members had travelled from Wales and the Midlands.

The Jones’ farm on the Northern edge of Dartmoor and their ground has been in the Dartmoor National Park ESA scheme for 20 yrs (expiring 2014). Evidence of the agri-environmental scheme were to be seen in some beautifully laid Devon hedges, however, the strict pasture management prescriptions have reduced the productivity of the pasture – which was a declared source of frustration. That said, Lawrence manages to over winter the ewes on the farm; the Llanwenog being sufficiently thrifty to find adequate grazing without the need for supplementary roughage. Concentrates are introduced in the run up to lambing.

The flock consists exclusively of Llanwenog ewes (106) with 65% pure bred and the rest crossed with the Beltex. This cross has been used for a number of years and produces an ideal supermarket sized lamb. Lawrence settled on the Llanwenog after seeing the breed at the Royal Cornwall Show. His spec. was for a versatile, medium sized ewe which had the ability to compete commercially and would lamb easily. Last year the ewes scanned at 165%.

Lawrence had been hard at work before our visit, still at the tail end of lambing; he had shorn the 48 flock replacement yearlings so that they looked smart and ready for inspection. These were marked to demonstrate the effect of three different stock rams. The farm walk concluded in the barn with a challenge to select the best ram and most suitable ewe & lambs for the Society stand at the NSA sheep South West show in June. I’m not sure whether he managed to extract a straight answer but it is always a treat to see a pen of 8 strong rams and hear about their breeding and performance.

Burford Flock - 217:
When Jonathan Crump hosted a farm walk for the RBST Gloucestershire group a few of us gate crashed to have a peak at the newly established Llanwenog flock.  Last Autumn, Jonathan snapped up some bargains at Llanybydder and together with some top ups from the Worcester sale, has returned to the breed after 12 years.



He is planning to compare the prolificacy of the Llanwenog Vs the Lleyn and hoping to recapture his previous lambing experience of 200%.  The best ewes were bred pure and we saw only a small sample of the flock amongst a sea of Jacobs, Cotswolds and Castlemilk Moorits. 




 


There were some steep banks on some of the fields whichchallenged the vehicles pulling their heavily laden passenger trailers but the views were magnificent as we passed the Gloucester cattle peacefully grazing the banks and pigs free ranging in the meadows, high above Stroud we had stunning views over the River Severn and Vale of Gloucester.


We also sampled some delicious Single and Double Gloucester cheese which Jonathon makes exclusively from the milk of his Gloucester cows.