The Lower Mansty RAM
Prolific, Docile, Low Depreciation, High Output, Rare Breed
The Lower Mansty Flock are led by the resident RAM, Nobby. He is a registered Charndon Llanwenog. Ideal for Smallholdings and improving commercial stock. The latest addition to the Ram collection is Ted, also a fine example of a Llanwenog and Nobby's son Parker who will serve his first Ewes in Autumn 2012.
Shawny - Nobby's hand-reared son
Shawny was sold to be a companion to a pony at a smallholding.
HISTORY OF THE BREED
The development of Llanwenog sheep began in the late 19th century when Shropshire Down sheep were introduced to the Teifi valley in West Wales. Crossbreeding with the local hill ewe (a now extinct, horned blackface, the Llanllwni, named after the mountain it was kept on) produced a polled, blackface ewe which combined the merits of both parents, notably the wool, meat and conformation of the ram with the hardiness and milkiness of the Llanllwni.
However, it was prolifacy - which particularly stimulated the interest of agriculturalists and in 1957 the Llanwenog Sheep Society was established to develop and promote the breed.
The breed is designated as 'semi-lowland', in other words it will thrive on land up to 1,000ft above sea level, but has sufficient size to take advantage of better lowland pasture. The ewes are very hardy and will thrive at heights more than 1,000ft above sea level but, not being a true hill breed, the lambs are not born with the type of coat which enables them to survive at a greater height.
Nowadays however, with the swing towards indoor lambing that aspect is no longer so important, although it can affect how quickly the ewes and their lambs can be turned out after lambing if the land is very high and exposed.
Under commercial conditions, an average of 180% lambs reared to ewes tupped can be expected. The occurrence of some highly prolific female lines lead to their successful involvement in the creation of the Cambridge breed.
The Llanwenog is also renowned for its placid temperament, it has lost its wanderlust, is easily handled and readily contained. In the winter the housed ewe does not become a highly strung bundle of nerves.
The wool is considered to be among the finest in the UK with a Bradford count of 56/58 and a staple length of 7.5 cm. Fleeces average around 2.75 kilos. The wool is ideal for hand spinners and weavers.
Interest in the breed has increased dramatically since it was listed by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in 1994 and the number of registered flocks now approaches the all time high of the 1960s.
RBST assistance for a range of breed improvement projects and the creation of the English Support Group has been followed by the establishment of many new Llanwenog flocks across England and Wales.
New marketing initiatives in rare breed meat and wool offer further opportunities for the breed. Anyone considering the organic recommendation of the Soil Association "to maintain traditional, local or rare breeds of livestock to retain genetic diversity" would be wise to look at the strong commercial merits of the Llanwenog.
Llanwenog sheep compare most favourably with more fashionable modern cross breds in this respect. Nor are productive lives cut short by early tooth loss—their teeth tend to wear out rather than drop out.
High levels of production and profit can be achieved through the combination of the ewe's high prolifacy and medium mature size (55kg). Carcass weights from pure breeding flocks average 17kg with careful management but higher weights are attained when using a larger terminal sire breed.
A consistent demand for pure bred ewe lambs for breeding assures their premium in the sales. Well grown ewe lambs will readily take the ram in their first autumn.