Why do we keep sheep?
The primary reason we keep sheep is that they are are an excellent way of maintaining flower rich grassland. We only keep ewes and borrow a ram each autumn. Surplus lambs are sold towards the end of each year - either live to other sheep keepers or as freezer-ready meat sold to our supporters We can never produce enough to meet the demand.
Adopted sheep Ten of our ewes are adopted - see the details
Six of our breeding ewes, plus two young ewes ready to meet the ram for the first time, have just returned to have returned to the Noakes Grove pastures and await the arrival of Gaul - the ram we borrow each year from Chris Eastcott. So we hope for a good crop of lambs in late April or early May 2021
Six of our ewes, who are too old to breed from, usually live at Kings Field in Hempstead or on private pastures in Sewards End.
The five ram lambs born in Spring 2020 will go to the butcher this winter.
The Noakes Grove flock is registered with the official Wiltshire Horn Sheep Society. The original ewes were born in April 2009, the lambs are usually born in late April or early May. They are enclosed in electric fenced paddocks so they can be moved to new parts of the meadow, while the part they have left recovers and any parasites they have left in the soil are given time to die. Natural parasite control is very important as the sheep.
Wiltshire Horns are one of the traditional English breed approved by Natural England for additional Environmental Stewardship grant-aid. they have two big advantages over many modern breeds: the sheep can live out year round and do not have to be shorn. the wool is molted naturally every year, so they have a permanent fairly short fleece and are much less likely to get "fly strike" problems than sheep with thick coats of wool.
The sheep are visited at least once a day to see that all is well, top up their water pots and give extra food in winter or when the ewes are feeding young lambs. These routine visits are done by a team of volunteer shepherds and shepherdesses (and their children) who live near by and any of whom can call in expert help if the need arises. We are very grateful to the current members of our Noakes Grove and Kings Field sheep teams.
Top of document