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Beulah Speckled Face Sheep

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Other common names: Beulah Sheep, Eppynt Hill Sheep

The basics:
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

wonderful

intelligence, pretty sheep, rough upland pastures

Beulah Speckled Face Sheep Health Tip

Beulah Speckled Face Sheep

From Sep 5 2012 2:39AM

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