Border Leicester Sheep
The Border Leicester is a distinctive, handsome sheep, balanced and symmetrical. It traces back to the Dishley Leicester made famous by Robert Bakewell who lived from 1726 to 1795. Bakewell deliberately mated chosen individuals and developed 'line breeding', mating closely related animals to get the type of animal he required. His methods had far-reaching effects in increasing production, sheep from the north had longer bodies, a better sprung rib assembly and a more developed brisket. They became known as Border Leicesters.
The Border Leicester is a distinctive white sheep which has a medium size head with a slightly convex profile. The line of the bottom jaw should follow the arch shape of the Roman nose. The head is free from wool but covered with soft, white hair. The underlying skin is pink. Small black spots are acceptable but brown spots are frowned on.
The face is clean cut with a well-developed muzzle and wide, black nostrils. The full and prominent eyes are dark and mild in expression. The medium-sized ears are semi-erect and well covered with white hair with the occasional black spot. The teeth should meet the pad without overhanging.
The neck is of medium length leading to a wide, level back with a broad, flat loin. There is plenty of heart room in the broad, deep chest and no depression behind the shoulder blades. The ribs are well sprung and the body deep with broad, square hindquarters. The legs have strong flat bone and are free from wool. Like the face and ears, the strong legs have clean, flat bones and are covered in fine white hair. The hooves should be dark. The fleece covers the body evenly with a lustrous wool with good length of staple and good density. The crimp is well defined, the fleece dense and weighty with no kemp or coarse fibres.
The Border Leicester carries himself proudly, with an alert manner and a symmetry that adds to his noble appearance. The rams weigh in the vicinity of 140 - 175 kg with ewes weighing 90 - 120 kg. Staple length ranges from five to ten inches. A ram's fleece weighs 6 - 9 kilos and a ewe's fleece 4 - 6 kilos.
Border Leicester aficionados call the Border Leicester 'the great improver' and one of its more valued traits is upgrading particular features in other breeds. High fertility, superior mothering skills, top quality, large, lean lambs, heavier lambs meaning greater profitability in a shorter time frame, good wool yields, less woolly legs and face mean easier husbandry and management.
Here you will see the menagerie of livestock that keep David jumping nearly 24/7. It's a labour of love however as just how many people get to do what they love for work?
It all started with the Border Leicester sheep. With 57 acres of grass you needed something to keep in down and sheep are great grazers and the pastoral look is very calming. So why not?
After the sheep arrived you needed a guardian of sorts. Thom brought home miniature donkey to try at first and in the beginning he was quite nice, later on he believed he was a border collie and started rounding up the flock and occasionally tipping one or two over.
Jake left to work on a cattle ranch and was replaced by two Bethleham Donkeys "Rosie" and "Heather" and two Llamas "Twig" and "Dolly" (of course we had to have the "Dolly Llama" working here!)
Chickens, Turkeys, Peacocks, Guinea Hens, Ducks ....Oh My!