Other common names: Llyn Sheep
Lleyn sheep are a breed which developed on the lleyn peninsula ('Lleyn') in Gwynedd, north-west Wales. According to the Lleyn Sheep Society, "The roots of the Lleyn are in Ireland, and to trace the early beginnings of the breed, the clock has to be turned back to around 1750. The pioneer breeder of cattle and sheep Robert Bakewell was in his prime and had exported some of his Dishley Leicester rams to Ireland to improve indigenous Irish sheep, resulting in the formation of the breed known as Roscommon. Probably it was around the beginning of the 19th Century that the first Roscommon ewes arrived in Wales on the Lleyn Peninsula."
The Lleyn ewe is known for its strong maternal instincts, ease of lambing, longevity and prolificacy. The breed is suited to both upland and lowland grazing.
Appearance / health:
According to the Lleyn Sheep Society, the Lleyn sheep should have the following characteristics:
* HEAD Distinctive and feminine; warm white in colour; wide forehead; good length from eye to nose – straight to slightly dished and narrowing towards the nose; bright, lively eyes; black nose.
* EARS Medium size and thickness and black spots desirable; base preferably starting from the wool.
* LEGS Average length, with no wool lower than hock. Colour warm white.
* WOOL Containing no kemp, of good length, dense and of high quality.
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.
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.
easy care, greater lamb weights, good forage converter, good milk production, good mother
average carcase weight, proper welsh spelling, native llyn peninsula, mediumsized ewe
I farm 400 Lleyn ewes on a easy care, low input system with myself as the only labour.
The Lleyn ewe is very versatile. She is a medium-sized ewe, docile, prolific,
lambs easily, is a good mother, a good forage converter and is long
lived. You can breed her pure or put another breed on her. I only use
Lleyn rams and the majority of lambs going for meat meet the R3L
classification or better with an average carcase weight of 20 kg. Nearly all the females and the better males are sold for breeding.
As the Lleyn is a pure breed, you can breed your own replacements, thereby preventing bringing disease onto your farm when buying sheep from other breeders. Before starting the Lleyn flock I had a commercial flock of North Country Mules, where I was buying replacements from different breeders every year.
I am very satisfied with the Lleyn as a breed and it fits well into my farming system.
From Bearwood Jun 12 2011 4:39AM
Llyn Sheep for Low-input Systems
They Llyn sheep (to give it its proper Welsh spelling [Lleyn is a 19th century Anglicization]) is my native and local sheep breed and they were everywhere when I was growing up.
The breed almost became extinct in the 1920s and they were outbred with Texels to improve conformation and genetics. They were then back-crossed to make the breed pure again and by the 1980s the numbers had bounced back remarkably. They are a medium-sized sheep that are suitable to lowland and hill farming methods. They are also very suitable to marginal land (which much of their native Llyn peninsula is).
They have the maternal instincts of hill sheep but good milk production like lowland sheep. The fleece is thick but not particularly fine, but it does mean that it is very suitable for clipping and shaping for show sheep. The conformation is very stocky with a broad back. This means that you get plenty of meat in the forequarters and hind quarters and a good feel on the back and the base of the tail.
They can be kept pure (where the lambs will average 20kg carcass weight) or can be crossed with Bluefaced Leicesters for mules or with Suffolk for greater lamb weights. This is a generally calm breed and you get both large flocks and small smallholder flocks on the Llyn Peninsula. They are therefore suitable for low-involvement and more hands-on management styles.
The ewes lamb readily and are good mothers. Twinning is common. If overwintered indoors they can be managed to birth in January of February for spring lamb sales.
They are excellent for low-input systems and as they are not very skittish are good if you have public access to your land. They are not particularly afraid of dogs either and it's traditional to have slightly more agressive sheepdogs like the Welsh Sheepdog to herd them.
Like all sheep that are not particularly afraid of humans, they are not particularly suitable for small children just because they will not shie away and injuries can occur inadvertently..
From DLlE Sep 8 2012 2:52AM