My perfectly serviceable mixed flock

The sheep at Horse Drawn Farms are a motley crew, there’s no doubt about that. Lucy and Lettie are mostly Suffolk. Charlotte has the Charolais spot on her shoulder, Daisy has a top-knot and a milk-sheep udder that would keep a family of six going, plus a lamb. Emily has the fantastic wool of a Romney and Spotty Legs a clean white head reminiscent of a Dorper. Run together as a flock, they look more like an international convention than a unified force. All are extremely healthy and vigourous, and superior mothers. I was perfectly content with my girls.  Their lambs, although varied, were of good size and fetched a nice price on the grass-fed market.

But then. A fellow shepherd keeping a purebred line of sheep contacted me out of the blue. I had purchased a few sheep feeders from her the previous year, but hadn’t had a close look at her charges who were out in her fields. She was now downsizing, and would I be interested in two of her sheep? I looked up the breed, Clun Forest, and was immediately smitten.

“They’re wonderful sheep,” she said. “Good wool. Good meat. Excellent mothers.”

Wikipedia agreed with her. “Hardy. Adaptable. Good foragers. Long-lived,” it said. But it wasn’t that which convinced me. It was something in the pictures… those ears. Those beautiful upright ears, giving the breed a sharp, polished appearance. They were so different from the airplane ears of my typical grade ewes. The Cluns on Wikipedia were jaw-dropping. Draped with ribbons, proud and square and stern and…cool. Dignified and elegant and aristocratic.  Ears like sharp little spears that pierced the heavens and dropped stars on their backs.  Glancing back and forth from my home sheep pictures to the sleek show pictures of magnificently coiffed Cluns began to be like comparing a old Ford minivan to a fighter jet.  I wanted those ears.

I bought the sheep. My little flock has grown by two, and will grow again as I pick up a registered Clun ram for the autumn.

After juggling rabbit pedigrees this way and that for four years, trying to keep my bloodlines straight and pulling my hair out to find a Toggenburg buck for my registered dairy herd, one would have thought I’d had enough of this heritage thing. Alas, I’m a sucker for looks. The fighter jets are movin’ in.

Stolen from the internet (the picture, not the Clun)

Stolen from the internet (picture, not Clun)