Acquired: Bred animal myself
Congleton, Cheshire, United Kingdom
Posted Sep 05, 2012
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.