In 2002, after a prolonged battle to control foot-rot, worm and a high depreciation rate in our Mule flock, we decided that enough was enough and that we needed to make fundamental changes. The Mule is popular for good reasons, but we felt that we were continuously buying in replacements, with all the obvious bio security risks compounded by a sheep with an apparent low immunity to a broad range of problems. Most of these problems clearly had cost and labour implications. We came to the conclusion that to maximise net margins we needed to build a low maintenance closed flock with high health characteristics, easy lambing and importantly the ability to maximise the strengths of the breed through a controlled breeding regime.
The Lleyn immediately appealed as it met so many of our requirements:
1) The Lleyn are renowned for their hardiness, prolificacy, easy lambing, strong mothering instinct, milkiness and easy handling. All of which I can vouch for.
2) Being a pure breed it can easily be run as a closed flock reducing the risk of buying in disease. Bio-security has rightly become a major issue for flock masters.
3) The Lleyn ewe is a medium sized lowland sheep weighing around 75kg at maturity, resulting in good ewe/acre ratios. I have found that they are also very economical to run over winter with minimal feed requirements.
4) Lleyn rams are an ideal way to inject maternal traits, fertility and hybrid vigour back into breeding ewes.
5) Lleyn rams also have become popular for crossing onto hill and lowland ewes to produce a quality prime lamb or to produce a Lleyn cross female replacement that carries the qualities of the Lleyn ewe.
If you wish to read more about the Lleyn sheep breed and Lleyn sheep characteristics, we’d recommend the very good and informative breed society website that can be found here: http://www.lleynsheep.com.