It was drawn to my attention that in the field opposite my cottage there were a handful of ugly sheep, it was mentioned in an almost apologetic manner. "I know you like sheep, but they really are ugly" I really couldn't agree more. A fine observation and totally true, they were indeed ugly sheep.
Fortunately they have since been moved and I no longer have to look out onto them but I tracked them down with my camera to share with you their 'beauty'!.
The Leicester is used as a crossing tup onto the hill ewes (blackfaces or swaledales) to produce the much sought after mule ewe lamb and there was a slow recognition that the black ones did possibly throw more colour into the lamb (face and leg colour), the modern day crossing tup has gone even further, he can be a mottly smudgy browny faced creature, still bares the same body shape but the blueness has given way to a browness. How things change.
The bluefaced leicester was also known as the Hexham Leicester due to its origins being in that area, it is well used in Tarset running with ewes on the lower and kinder ground within our area to produce the mule ewe lamb. Unfortunately there is a standing joke that a leicester will just die, slightly unfortunate for the beast but there is some truth in the saying, they do require a bit more TLC (tender loving care) than other breeds but they are worth looking after especially if they cross well and produce decent lambs.
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