Our foundation flock consists of around 120 Exmoor horn and Exmoor mule ewes (Exmoor horn x blueface Leicester). However, this year we have bought two Border Leicester rams to replace our blueface rams because Border Leicesters tend to be hardier. Their cross-bred lambs are known as Exmoor halfbreds. When we started farming here at West Ilkerton over 30 years ago the flock was 50 / 50 Exmoor horn and Exmoor halfbred, and the system worked well, but unfortunately we followed the fashion for other crosses, which all had their problems, so now it’s time to go full circle! The only trouble is that Border Leicesters are very rare nowadays, so we’ve had to travel a long way to buy some.
Lambing takes place during the last week of March and first half of April. The ewes are housed in the sheds for lambing. When the lambs are about four days old, and if they are strong enough, they are taken out to sheltered meadows with their mothers.
The sheep are kept for wool and meat. The lambs are grass-fed on the wildflower-rich traditional pastures of West Ilkerton. We like to think our animals appreciate the wonderful and varied views from their fields!
Exmoor Horns are famed for the quality of their wool, which is robust and hard-wearing, but unfortunately the value of wool nowadays barely covers the cost of shearing the sheep.
The best ewe lambs are kept to join the flock or sold to other farmers for breeding. Please contact us if you are interested in buying breeding stock.
The other lambs are destined for the table. We sell some as boxed meat in the autumn (as boxed half lambs) and the rest go to market. Our long-term plan is to sell most of our lamb directly to customers ourselves.
Please see www.exmoorhornbreeders.co.uk for more information about Exmoor horn sheep
Please contact us if you are interested in buying cattle or sheep from us or you would like to order some beef or lamb.
Whether you are interested in meat for your family or larger quantities for catering, we will do our best to provide you with what you want. Please see the Buy Our Meat page for further details.