Other common names: Beulah Sheep, Eppynt Hill Sheep
The Beulah Speckled Face Sheep is a medium-sized, hardy, dual-purpose white breed which was developed on the hills of Mid Wales. According to the Beulah Speckled Face Sheep Society, "The Speckled Face Sheep has been bred on the hills of Eppynt, Llanafan, Abergwesyn and Llanwrtyd Wells for over one hundred years, without any introduction of female stocks."
The Beulah is a hardy breed, well suited to grazing rough pasture. The Beulah sheep is characterized by hairless head and feet with distinctive black speckling. The fleece is fairly long and quite fine, so the breed is suitable for commercial shearing.
Appearance / health:
The base color is white. The head and feet are hairless and have distinct black speckled markings. Typical facial markings are a white base with black patches on the nose and around the eyes (these can extend up to the ears). There is considerable variation and the black markings can merge to give an almost completely black face. The legs also have a white background with black speckling on the knees.
Both males and females are hornless (polled).
Beulah Speckled Face Sheep are generally a low-maintenance breed requiring minimal husbandry. But like all sheep they need hoof trimming on richer pastures. On their native upland pastures foot rot is rear and trimming is required only once a year. They can be left outside all year and as long as there is sufficient fodder they will not wander. They are very good and protective mothers and on average produce a 160% lambing rate in a season (though this an rise to 180% on lowland farms).
Being a hardy breed, Beulahs are quite healthy under most conditions. But in large flocks they are prone to the viral and parasitic diseases that affect all sheep. Soremouth (orf) is not uncommon, but can be treated by vaccination. Lambs are prone to ringworm and intestinal parasites, so a worming regimen is always recommended.
Behavior / temperament:
On uplands farms with minimal management they tend to be more skittish. But under lowland management they are a calm breed with quite high intelligent. They are easy to train, which makes them easy to herd or to bring indoors with the enticement of food. Because they can be trained they excellent in a mixed flock for leading other sheep. The Beulah will typically ignore dogs, unless they have lambs with them where they may attack. They also get used to humans very readily and are not particularly nervous in the presence of people. This makes them a good choice for sites that have public access.
As a domestic animal, the Beulah's intelligence and calm nature makes it an excellent pet or for use for small-scale rearing, particularly if they have been bottle-fed. But they are flock animals, so you need to keep several together for their sense of security.
Housing / diet:
Being a hardy hill sheep the Beulah can be kept outside all year round and as long as they have sufficient fodder they will thrive even in the harshest weathers. Under lowland management sheep are often brought indoors over winter. This partly protects pastureland, improving spring growth, but it is also done to reduce stress on the sheep which are often heavily pregnant to give spring lambs during the coldest of the winters. If you are overwintering sheep indoors they need plenty of fodder and water, dry bedding (typically straw or dry bracken) an they need lots of ventilation. Air must be allowed to move freely in any housing suitable for sheep, as moisture and poor air conditions lead to the sheep’s poor health (respiratory illnesses such as pneumonia are not uncommon).
The lambs start with their mothers' milk and like most sheep breeds they absolutely must have the first milk or colostrum for the protective antibodies it contains. On the hills the sheep will be out all the time, even through winter and lambing though the diet may be supplemented with mineral licks, hay or silage and commercial feed. Under lowland management, where the labs are born earlier the sheep may be brought indoors over winter and will be brought indoors subsequent to lambing. After lambing they are turned out and their feed is supplemented with mineral licks, molasses and commercial feed. The lambs will naturally begin to eat grass at about six weeks. Beulah sheep are hardy and can thrive on rough pasture. Indeed, they are one of the recommended breeds for grazing management of nature reserves.
Written by Dyfed Lloyd Evans
intelligence, pretty sheep, rough upland pastures
Beulahs, the first flock owned for myself
I will say upfront before I mention anything else that the Beulah Specklefaced Sheep are some of my favourite sheep. I have a soft spot for them because they are the first sheep I owned outright. A starter flock of 10 that I eventually grew into 50.
The Beulah is a very pretty sheep with good conformation and a square back. Characteristically, the head and feet are bare of wool and are marked with black speckling, typically on the nose, around the eyes and ears and on the knees. Otherwise they are classed as a white breed.
Classified as a medium-sized breed they are half-way in size between the small mountain breeds such as the Welsh Mountain and the larger lowland breeds such as the Bluefaced Leicester. Despite this they are a hardy breed originally developed in the mountains of Mid Wales near Eppynt.
This is a low-management breed developed to graze on rough upland pastures and moors and as long as there is sufficient fodder they need little care, apart from being sheared and having their feet trimmed once a year. As a hill breed they are good and protective mothers and though normally docile they can attack during lambing season.
They are known for their intelligence and ease of training and they make excellent sheep for low-management flocks, particularly in conservation areas. But their intelligence and innate docility also makes them great pets or sheep for smallholdings. Even on the mountains they are not typically afraid of humans and if hand reared they become extremely tame. Their intelligence also means that they can easily be trained and will learn to be herded or to be led with a bucket. They are excellent as lead sheep in a mixed flock.
Typically they have a lambing percentage of about 160% but this can raise to 180% on richer pastures. But in this case they will need feed supplementation to maintain milk production. Under typical management they are used as base stock for breeding-up being crossed with Bluefaced Leicesters to produce Welsh Mules which are then crossed with Suffolk or Texel rams for meat lambs.
If raising Beulahs as pets you have to be aware that they are a slightly bigger breed and need more manhandling than some other breeds though their docile natures usually means that not too troublesome to handle.
They are a dual-purpose breed, used both for meat and for their fleeces. Due to their use in the production of Welsh Mules for meat production, there is a good market in purebred Beulahs for seeding starter flocks.
The rams are also typically quite docile but they are a powerful breed and inadvertent accidents can happen just because they are not particularly afraid of humans (typically crush injuries). I would not say that this is a point against them, just something you have to be aware of in confined conditions..
From DLlE Sep 5 2012 2:39AM