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Brit with lambs--Springtime 2012

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Twins born to Ethel Marie March 31, 2012

 
Welcome to Buckeye View Farm
Raising Registered Leicester Longwool Sheep
(Click on pics to embiggen.)
 
ABOUT BUCKEYE VIEW FARM:  Buckeye View Farm is a small farm in rural Southwest Virginia, and is named for the view of nearby Buckeye Mountain.  We raise critically endangered Leicester Longwool sheep, a heritage breed dating back to the 18th century.  Our mission is to contribute to the conservation of the Leicester Longwool breed, and to use responsible farming practices while doing so.  Our sheep are raised primarily on pasture, with supplemental feed given during critical stages such as lambing, lactation, and early lamb growth.   Humane handling of the animals is of paramount importance to us.


  
Waiting List:  Each year we keep a waiting list for animals that will become available.  The 2014 sheep have all been placed in great new homes in Virginia, Illinois and South Carolina.  If you are interested in lambs, a small starter flock, or wethers or other adults that are suitable to be used in a fiber flock, please contact us: britrit@gmail.com.


 

BVF Sally Gray at one year
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Sally Gray

ABOUT ME:  My name is Brit.  For the last 30 years, I've had a successful career in the environmental and agricultural laboratory business, but all my life I wanted to be a farmer.  If I couldn't be a farmer, or marry a farmer, I wanted to live on a farm.  As soon as I was on my own and could choose where I lived, I always chose rural properties.  I loved everything about rural living (except when the well went dry and I had to haul water). 

In 2000, at the ripe old age of 44, I purchased my very own small farm.  I spent the next 8 years reclaiming the fields, landscaping the yard, installing fences, painting the 100 year old house, raising pastured poultry and laying hens, and just generally making improvements to the property.  

In 2008, I purchased my first sheep, a pair of wethers from Colonial Williamsburg.  I wasn't sure that they would work out, or that the fences were secure enough to keep out coyotes, or that I would even like raising sheep. It took all of one day for me to fall totally in love with these sheep.  They quickly learned to recognize me, they had the beautiful, shiny fleece the breed is known for, and they had gentle personalities.  I was hooked.

In 2009, I purchased a starter flock from Hopping Acres.  The sheep adjusted to their new home, the weather cooperated which helped the pasture to grow well, and the fences (along with the llamas) kept the predators at bay.  The ram was turned in with the ewes five months before the desired lambing date, and it became quickly obvious that the ewes were pregnant.  All the sheep did well during an exceptionally snowy winter, and in spring of 2010 the first lambs arrived.  It was very exciting!  Four ewes gave birth to three sets of twins and one set of triplets.  Fortunately, all the ewes were good mothers, and just one of the triplets needed supplementation with a bottle.  The lambs did well all summer.  In the fall, the ram lambs were sold locally for meat, and the ewe lambs were kept to replace some of the older ewes.  All in all, my first year as a shepherd was successful and rewarding.

Since then I've had more successful lambing seasons, learned to deal with different birthing scenarios, and experienced the joys and heartbreaks that come with keeping sheep.  I feel very fortunate to be able to be living my dream.  

 

ABOUT THE SHEEP:  The Leicester Longwools, or English Leicesters, were developed in the 18th century by the pioneer of selective breeding, Robert Bakewell. They are a large framed, dual-purpose sheep carrying a heavy, long-stapled, lustrous fleece.  More than 50 breeds of sheep today are descended from the Leicester Longwool breed.  You can read about the history of the sheep here:  http://www.leicesterlongwool.org/.

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Darley, a yearling ewe, enjoying being scratched

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Kathryn, Darley's ewe lamb--is the smile genetic?

In 2010, Buckeye View Farm acquired two new rams, each from a different bloodline.  These rams are a nice addition to our original ram as this will expand our ability to conserve the different genetic strains, an important aspect of breed conservation.  Hopping Acres' Major Man is a black Leicester Longwool ram.  He is a large-framed sheep with very black fleece.  Grazing Herd Farm's Tony DiNozzo is a white ram with beautiful, evenly crimped fleece. He has the black nose and hooves that are part of the breed description, and he passed that trait along to his offspring.  My original ram, Tattersleigh TL-63, is still with us and has been very productive, both for me and for his previous owners.  
 

HomeRAMS

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2011 lambs in the orchard

Lambing News

2011:  Six ewes gave us 12 lambs:  1 single, 4 sets of twins and one set of triplets.  Eight ram lambs and 4 ewe lambs are all doing fine and growing well.  Ten of the lambs are purebred Leicester Longwools and were sired by HA Major Man, who has black fleece.  He gave us our first colored lambs--it was very exciting!  This year the fleeces of the lambs range from white to gray to black.

In 2011 we also crossbred a Hog Island ewe to a Leicester Longwool ram, TL-63, to see if the hybrid vigor would give significantly better growth for market lambs.  Hog Island sheep are another critically endangered breed, unique to the United States, and you can find information about them here:  http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/hogisland.html.  The crossbred lambs, a set of twin rams, are doing extremely well and are growing rapidly.  This is good news because in order for these heritage breeds to survive, they have to have a job.  The Hog Island sheep can't compete on their own for either the wool or the meat market.  If they can be crossbred to produce good quality, heritage breed market lambs, it will increase their usefulness in these modern times. 

 

2012Lambing is done for this year, and after a rough start, all went smoothly.  In February a dog got into the pasture and chased the pregnant ewes around for about 20 minutes.  Nobody was hurt, but a couple of weeks later Penny, my senior ewe, miscarried two beautiful, black ewe lambs.  Then Millie, a first time mom, laid down on her new lamb and suffocated it.  It was a heartbreaking start to the lambing season.  I was nervous how the rest of the season would go, but all of the other ewes lambed successfully.  The total for the year was 6 ram lambs and 4 ewe lambs. 

The long staple of the Leicester Longwool fleece makes it delightful to spin.  It is highly lustrous, and takes dye beautifully.  It will also felt readily and can be used in many crafts.  Our sheep are not always coated so there may be some vegetable matter in the fleece, but it is easily removed in the carding process.
 
We offer:
 
*White and natural colored raw fleece
*Roving
*Handspun Yarn
*Breeding stock (contact us for availability)  

Roving, fleece, and other wooly items are available in my Etsy shop. Please take a look!



Proud member of the following organizations:
 
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
http://www.albc-usa.org/

The Leicester Longwool Sheep Breeders Association
http://www.leicesterlongwool.org/

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Freshly shorn Etta in 2012, eating the redbud.

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Etta as a lamb in 2011: little and cute!