Mutiny Bay Farm

 

Black Welsh Mountain sheep at Mutiny Bay Farm

The small, primitive Black Welsh Mountain Sheep offer the small flock owner a wealth of wool and commercial potential. My flock has been surprisingly improved by the recent addition of British genetics; wool length and softness were the dramatic results. Bred in the Middle Ages for the deep black wool by Benedictine monks, these sheep were also considered the finest and most succulent of all mutton. These small mountain sheep are still relatively unknown in the U.S. and as of the publishing of the first Flock Book in February 2004, there are still very few breeders.

Our Black Welsh Mountain sheep are self-reliant and unspoiled, taking well to our farm pastures and woodlands. They seem to thrive on what they can find in the woods and forage a variety of plants: blackberries, new alder, thistle tips, and all grasses. I open their pasture gates in the morning letting them roam until they find their way home, preferring their small fenced field at night. Although the ewes are polled, the males sport a true mountain sheep set of curled black horns. Their tails are long and left naturally undocked, so it can truly be said, "they come home with their tails wagging behind them."

Their wool has been made famous by Welsh woolen mills, but it is only in the British genetics that I have seen its full display of its beauty. The wool is soft, but hard wearing, black but can be burnt by the sun to a striking reddish color. Each sheep's personality is a great deal of the fun and each displays its own individual characteristics. Thistle knows every gate on the farm, and remembers the secret gate to the vegetable garden. She goes there first and the others do not. Melle is the most tender mother and sleeps with her nose on her lamb and distresses when this is not so. The British twins sleep on Heulyn's back and now that they are a little larger it is a constant challenge for them all. They are as it were, easy to handle and each one different. I have never had to assist much less witness a lamb's birth. The ewes choose their time and it is their primitive instinctive nature to birth quite separate. I am continuously struck by their handsome bone structure, narrow and straight, with the "Arabian horse" elegance of the sheep world. Most of the B.W.M.S. in the United States come from the Wye Height Plantation's import to Maryland of 3 rams and 13 ewes in 1972. The British artificial insemination in the last few years has added greatly to the goals pf preserving the old breeds unique qualities. I offer lambs for sale from several lineages each year. I sincerely want to promote this charming breed and have recently been elected to the Board of Directors of the American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Association. Each lamb purchased comes with registration and pedigree and a lot of care.

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