Other common names: Defaid Idloes; Badger Faced Welsh Mountain Sheep; Welsh Badger-faced Sheep
Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep are a small, hardy, dual purpose type of Welsh Mountain Sheep. According to the Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep Society, "The Badger Face is a mountain breed found in many areas of Wales and has been seen for many centuries appearing in pure Welsh Mountain flocks. Sheep with the now familiar “badger” markings have been seen across Wales for as long as sheep have wandered the mountains and hills of Wales."
"Over many centuries Badger Face lambs have “turned up” in Pedigree Welsh Mountain flocks even when no Badger rams have been anywhere near. These coloured sheep were used as “markers” on the hill to help shepherds locate their flocks. In the Mid 1970’s a small group of farmers in Mid Wales, who all kept a few Badger Face sheep got together to exchange some of their sheep and started breeding Badgers Face with Badger Face. A meeting was held to form a Society in November 1976 and in the first year 32 members joined including a farmer from Anglesey who had kept Badger Face for 40 years and had a flock of about 300."
Appearance / health:
There are two color types of Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep. According to the Badger Face Welsh Mountain Sheep Society, "The face of the Torddu can be light tan, grey or white, with black markings. The hair above the nose should be black. The nose is dark. Some sheep carry a light covering of wool on the forehead, but the rest of the face is free from wool. Horns on the ram are dark coloured, and are heavily spiralled; Horns on ewes are unacceptable.
One of the most common ailments among sheep is a viral skin disease called soremouth or “orf.” Ringworm or “club lamb fungus” is a rash also common among sheep. And much like “mad cow disease,” sheep can have a similar neurological ailment called “scrapie.” Sheep health issues should be addressed by a qualified veterinarian. Good health is promoted by sanitary habitat conditions and proper nutrition.
Behavior / temperament:
Sheep are herd animals that rely on staying together as a flock to protect themselves from predators. They are highly sensitive to predators because they are basically “prey animals.” They sense the presence of threat from several hundred feet away (they are able to twist and turn their ears to detect potential danger) and instinctively flee instead of fight or attack. While fleeing, sheep run in a winding pattern to be able to see what is behind them.
As domesticated animals, sheep make good pets because they are docile and easily connect with humans, especially lambs that are bottle-fed. Miniature breeds and sheep that have hair instead of fur make ideal pets. Raising pet sheep is a popular project in the 4-H youth organization.
Housing / diet:
Sheep are grazing animals and do well living their entire lives outdoors. They get sufficient exercise and fresh air out in the field. They do need shelter from bad storms and unusually hot days. Many sheep keepers install field structures to provide shade, for example, hutches, domes, carports, and makeshift sheds. A common shade structure is a hoop house, like an open hangar or a greenhouse, which has a metal arched frame covered with tarp or other heavy-duty fabric.
Some sheep owners keep their flock in a barn or similar enclosure to protect them from predators. These enclosures must have very good ventilation because moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health.
For warmth and comfort, bedding material should be provided. The best bedding is absorbent, clean, and dry. Some options are straw, wood shaving, sawdust, corncobs, dried corn stalks, peat, hemp, paper, and alfalfa hay. Preference is determined by cost, availability, convenience, and type of sheep. Wool sheep will not appreciate sawdust because it gets in their fleece. Paper is highly absorbent but difficult to manage in the field.
Lambs start with their mother’s milk and a light diet of pasture grass at two weeks old. After weaning the lambs from ewe’s milk at six weeks old, they can start eating dry feed of grains (wheat, oats, barley, cottonseed, corn), soybean and peanut hulls, and hay. The main diet of sheep is fresh grass and other forage and pasture vegetation. The pasture must be fertile and large enough to support the grazing of sheep for about seven hours a day (morning and afternoon). Fresh water must be constantly available, especially during the warm months and if the diet is mostly dry hay. Supplements are recommended, and must be given in the middle of the day to balance the sheep’s food intake.
flock markers, novelty value, black line markings, little sheep, Torwen Welsh
Badger Face, a very Pretty Sheep
The classic badger face is white with black throat, underbelly and rump. They have two black line markings on their faces extending down from the eyes (and it's these that give them their name). However the Torwen (Welsh for 'white belly') form has the colours reversed. They are a black sheep with white belly and white lines on the face.
They are Welsh Mountain sheep bred specifically for this particular pattern of coloration and they are very cute. A few sheep with these colour patterns would occur in Welsh Mountain flocks every few generations and they were prized as living flock markers, used instead of brands to mark out ownership. In the 1970s a few breeders decided to get together to breed a pure strain with the characteristics named above.
Like everyone with Welsh Mountain sheep we would get a few badger faces every few generations. Then one spring, six strays entered our flock. No one else in the area had badger faces and though we tried we never found who owned them or where they escaped from. No one claimed them and we, to our surprise, ended up with the nucleus of a small flock.
They are terrific hardy little sheep, slightly more docile than the Welsh Mountain and with shorter and denser fleeces. They are very protective mothers, but not particularly prolific. They are very much a rarity and if you have a small flock you can typically sell ewes and rams because of their cuteness and novelty value. For meat they really only work under upland-style management and on lowland farms to be economic they need to be crossed with larger breeds, so they are only economic if you want to breed them as pedigrees or to supply other farms.
They often work in smallholdings because of their novelty value. They are also in demand by some farms as a rare breed. Though tamer than a Welsh Mountain they are probably not really tame enough to be considered good pets, despite being an unusual and very pretty looking breed..
From DLlE Sep 12 2012 3:42AM