Other common names: Hexham Leicester Sheep
According to the Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders' Association, "The Bluefaced Leicester evolved from a breeding scheme, to develop the Longwool sheep in the 1700's, by Robert Bakewell. Originally known as the Dishly Leicester, the breed was developed over the next 200 years and became commonly known as the Hexham Leicester due to its early concentration in the North of England."
When crossed with any ewe, the Bluefaced Leicester produces the famous "Mule". The Bluefaced Leicester is now the most popular crossing sire in the United Kingdom. Some of the important mules include the North of England Mule, the Cheviot Mule, and the Scotch Mule.
Appearance / health:
Bluefaced Leicesters are recognizable for their Roman noses, which have a dark blue skin which can be seen through the white hair, hence the name. They are related to the original Leicester Longwool breed, and are commonly used as sires for mules. They have curly threadlike wool which makes it considerably lighter than others. Some fleeces only weigh 1 to 3 kg (2.2 to 6.6 lb).
Fully grown Blueface rams can weigh up to 110 kg (240 lb) and ewes up to 89 kg (200 lb). At maturity and at the withers, rams are 90 cm (35 in) tall and ewes 85 cm (33 in) tall.
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.
low 20 microns, lustrous wool, perky personality, wet climates, great pets, wool
Mules cross breeds
Ok, so leicestures are only have a couple interesting pieces of info. They make a ton of wool. Its very long will so they provide all the wool you need..
The other surprise was amazing meat. It's very flavorful for sheep. The one thing you have to be careful-about when harvesting is wool rott. You can lose the entire harvest if they are wet for too long. Their wool really absorbs water like a sponge so this can be a major problem. Their temperament and personalities seem unremarkable to me. They are pretty docile though which makes shearing a snap..
From AnimalLoverr Mar 26 2016 7:37PM
Bluefaced Leicester Rams for Breeding
Of all the sheep breeds I have dealt with over the years, this is the only one where I have experience only of the rams. This is because, like many Welsh farms, we used them for the production of Welsh Mules (cross breeds with Beulah, Welsh Mountain and Welsh Hill Speckle Faced sheep for improved meat production — the crosses are known as 'Welsh Mules')
If you are used to the smaller hill breeds then when you first see the bluefaced Leicester, they are really huge; they are almost 1m tall at the withers. The rams can weigh up to 125kg and they are a big beast to handle during shearing time or to treat their feet.
Their wool is very fine and the purebred sheep produces a light, high-quality fleece. They need to be shorn once a year to cool them for the summer months. They have distinctive Roman noses and the skin is blue which shows through the fine fur of the nose and legs.
Of all the sheep breeds this is probably the calmest and pet owners love them for this. They do not run away from humans and even like to be petted. If raised from bottle or bucket-trained they can be a bit of a nuisance, behaving more like goats than sheep. They will come up to people, will nuzzle you and will nibble at clothes and hair.
This makes them adorable in a way... but a nuisance in another. On a working farm they can be hard to herd and are more inclined to be bucket led. Of course, their calm nature makes them excellent show animals. But, when you need to move them in a race or in a stockade and they just stand there looking at you in distain as all the other sheep are running around like mad things it can be frustrating. More than one I have had to jump into a sheep race to physically shove or drag a Bluefaced Leicester out of the way.
The advantage of the calmness is that, despite their size they will stand still as you manhandle them. The rams are not aggressive so they are ideally suited to all male flocks outside of breeding time. They also seem to have a calming influence on other rams. At tupping time they mark out territories and stick to them. Fights between Bluefaced Leicesters does not seem to be a common occurrence.
If you are looking for an unusual breed for a smallholding then I think the Bluefaced Leicesters would be ideal. I can definitely recommend them as rams for anyone trying to improve the conformation and meat qualities of their flock. One thing to note. Because of their size they have a smaller surface area to volume ratio than many other sheep breeds. They can be prone to heat-stroke in summer as a result. If keeping them make certain that they have plenty of water and shade..
From DLlE Sep 5 2012 3:06AM
Mayo Black Face
This brand of sheep was snapped up in the local petting zoo who had two orphan lambs for sale. The thing with the local midland, Irish locals is they will tell you anything to off-load something they don't want. These two poor, beautifully formed black face lambs had been gifted to the zoo by a local farmer a matter of hours before and they made a quick 60 Euro off us in no time. One male, one female who needed to be bottle fed – they didn't want the bottle, or at least not what we were told they should have. As beginners we thought it was tough going not to mention the real danger of Mr.. Fox having his way at night.
Fast forward a couple of months and we get a visit from a local friend who informs us they are mountain sheep not Mayo wetland sheep (grrrr), which we had started to figure out by the fact they could clear any fence you had set up for say pigs or normal sheep. The male we were told would get playful; he sure did! Playful by taking a huge run at me every time I entered the field, it hurts. My experience has been fine, just make sure that you get a sheep with a full motor service history, only keeping a ram if you have 6 ewes stocked. The ram will be going to slaughter in a month with an intake of new ewes in the spring. I'm going to enjoy my lamb chops that's for damn sure..
From mabshawn Feb 10 2014 6:46AM