Patchwork Sheep

Patchwork Sheep is the name we give to our own little flock of sheep.

They are fantastic pets and also a good Smallholders sheep!

They are technically a cross, consisting of a number of different breeds.

Predominantly they are of Shetland, Jacob, some Welsh Mountain and now more recently Soay blood.

They have been selectively bred to possess desired traits of all those breeds.

Our aim is to breed an attractive, hardy, small sized, low maintenance sheep, with a nice soft fleece, sporting many varying colours/markings.

They are very easy lambing, usually requiring no assistance, and they posses fantastic protective mothering instincts.

Because of the combination of hardy, primitive breeds they have very little health complaints.

They have naturally short tails which helps prevent flystrike and they also appear not to suffer from external parasites. We very rarely use harsh chemical sprays such as Clik or Crovect on them and have no problems with parasites.

And just as importantly, we try to breed sheep that are tame, friendly, easy to handle, have great character and who enjoy human contact.

In this way they are great sheep to have as pets and also great sheep for Smallholders or people who just wish to keep a few ewes to breed for lambs, they can be bred to a larger commercial ram and still lamb with no problems.

We have tried to breed our sheep to posess horns, though not all do, we just think they look super attractive! 

Our sheep can be polled (no horns) or have from 2- 6 horns!

Unlike most sheep breeders/farmers who are breeding for big, fast growing, commercial lambs/sheep we are more interested in breeding for appearance, conformation, small size, hardiness, and personality!

We have sheep whose base colour is Black and Brown, with patterns such as Mouflon, Badger Face and White.

Most of our sheep possess white markings (Spotting), which can range from just a bit of white on their legs to a full spotted coat, similar to that of a Jacob.

The sheep are a hobby to us and are predominantly our pets, all money from selling lambs goes towards the cost of keeping 40+ sheep all year round (believe me when you have 40+ it costs a lot!)

 Why Cross-breed..?

There are many positives about cross-breeding.

Firstly you are mixing totally unrelated genes and so produce very strong healthy lambs who aren't prone to specific gene related problems associated with certain breeds.

For example, Jacob sheep are often prone to foot problems, yet Soay are renowned for having little to no problems with their feet.

By cross-breeding we try to take desired traits from each breed and combine them to produce our ideal sheep.

We first started our with a small flock of Jacob sheep and a year later they were joined by a flock of Shetland sheep.

The Jacob sheep were much more timid than the Shetlands, they just didn't have as much character and personality and weren't as attentive and protective when it came to mothering. But on the other hand Jacob sheep give birth with complete ease, not yet in 7 years of owning sheep have I had to assist one giving birth.

The smaller sized Shetlands were also much easier to handle and much more friendly and inquisitive.

And there was the issue of appearance.

There was not one sheep breed available to us that combined all the fantastic array of sheep markings possible that was also horned.

Shetlands come in such a wonderful variety of colours and markings, but mostly the ewes don't posses horns.

And so, we decided to mix Jacob and Shetlands, and the result was good.

Some Welsh Mountain blood crept in there too and this gave longer length to the wool and was also ideal as we live in the Welsh Hills, it made sense to add the blood of a sheep who is best suited to this landscape.

And then finally much more recently we have added Soay blood into the mix, and this really brought everything together, we managed to bring the size down even more, to improve the feet, to make the sheep even more hardy and disease resistant and to add the wonderful Mouflon colour!

We are constantly refining our sheep and may add different breeds in the future! But for the moment we are very happy with the outcome of lambs over the last 2 years :)

The next step is to create a database of all our sheep and all their offspring from 2012/2013 onwards and then each lamb will have their own personal certificate with will contain all their details for future reference.