Our lamb comes from three types of sheep to keep us in naturally-produced lamb meat throughout the year.
Originating from the Scottish borders and further north, the Blackface is a comparatively small but exceptionally hardy sheep, having evolved to not only survive but flourish in its cold, harsh habitat. Although they get relatively slim pickings, they nibble on gorse, heather and herbage across the moors, and so produce some of the best meat you’ll ever eat. The ewes make very good mothers but don’t produce many offspring at a time. We lamb our Blackface ewes in April to provide us with hogget from January to Easter.
A good-natured sheep, heavy-set with a good shape for meat and a distinctive thick woolly fleece from head to toe. The only ewe which will breed throughout the year, and the one which provides our spring lamb. The Dorset ewes are put to the tup (ram) in early summer to lamb in early December, and the progeny provide spring lamb for our shops from Easter to late summer.
MULE, BLUEFACED LEICESTER OVER BLACKFACE
‘Mule’ is the name given to the progeny of a lowland ram and a highland ewe, and for us that means the Blue Faced Leicester and the Blackface. Where the Blackface ewe is small and hardy, the Blue Face Leicester ram is, to put it bluntly, a bit of a princess, unable to cope with bad weather and needs a lot of looking after. However when crossed with the Blackface you benefit from hybrid vigour; they give size and produce more lambs. We lamb these in March to provide lamb from late summer.
TEXEL CROSS, TEXEL OVER MULE
There is once final cross, in which we take the best female mules – whose mothers were good and produced a lot of milk – and put them under either a Texel or Charollais ram. Although the mules make for good lamb alone, when crossed with the terminal sire you get a good proportioned lamb with large back legs. These mule mothers provide lamb for autumn and early winter market.