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The Noakes Grove Sheep are Wiltshire Horns

The Noakes Grove sheep: Wiltshire Horn ewes

 

We have thirteen ewe sheep four of which have produced seven lambs. Six of the ewes without lambs usually live at Kings Field in Hempstead. We do not own our own ram, we borrow an unrelated ram from neighbouring flocks. In autumn 2018 Asterix, belonging to Chris Eastcott, spent a few weeks with some of our ewes.

The Noakes Grove flock is registered with the official Wiltshire Horn Sheep Society. The original ewes were born in April 2009, the lambs are usually born in late April or early May. They are enclosed in electric fenced paddocks so they can be moved to new parts of the meadow, while the part they have left recovers and any parasites they have left in the soil are given time to die. Natural parasite control is very important as the sheep are not given any regular, routine medication (only medicines prescribed by a vet as appropriate if they get sick).

The 2019 plans: The original ewes are now ten years old and will move slowly into retirement from breeding every year. We now have six one or two-year old ewes born at Noakes Grove and they will become our main breeding flock.

Wiltshire Horns are one of the traditional English breed approved by Natural England for additional Environmental Stewardship grant-aid. they have two big advantages over many modern breeds: the sheep can live out year round and do not have to be shorn. the wool is molted naturally every year, so they have a permanent fairly short fleece and are much less likely to get "fly strike" problems than sheep with thick coats of wool.

The sheep are visited at least once a day to see that all is well, top up their water pots and give extra food in winter or when the ewes are feeding young lambs. These routine visits are done by a team of volunteer shepherds and shepherdesses (and their children) who live near by and any of whom can call in expert help if the need arises. We are very grateful to the current members of our Noakes Grove and Kings Field sheep teams.

The weaned lambs are sometimes moved to graze under the apple trees in our apple orchard - a field at Ellis Green, Wimbish.

Wiltshore Horn lambs at Ellis Green, Wimbish

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