Fernyford Valais Blacknoses

In November 2014 we have become the proud owners of "the world's cutest sheep”. It has been said several times and it is true, they are definitely the cutest sheep in the world! It is a really exciting adventure for all of us here on the farm. Our small flock at Fernyford farm is the first flock of this breed in Middle England, right in the heart of the Peak District (but probably not for long, as they are becoming more and more sort after).

The Valais is a unique breed found in the Upper Valais region of the German-speaking part of the canton of Valais. They are native only to Switzerland, where they are "worshipped" for their "black hole" faces, shaggy coats and spiral horns. The Valais Blacknose is a heritage breed. These domesticated animals are well suited to live in the extreme climatic conditions of the high mountains and are good at grazing on steep, rocky slopes. They are amazingly hardy animals and being a true hill sheep breed, they live and thrive on the mountain grasses of the Alps all summer, coming down the hills to avoid the huge amounts of snowfall between September and March.

They have been raised in the Swiss Alps for hundreds of years. There are signs that this breed has been in existence since the 15th century. Their earliest mention dates back to 1400 A.D., but they were first recognized as a separate breed in 1962.

Their most notable features are: a black face, black ears, black knees, black hocks and feet. The rest of their coat is stringy, white (off white when not washed) and unbelievably fluffy; you'd just want to cuddle up with them.

Traits - weight: male 80–130kg, female 70–90kg; height: male 75–83cm, female: 72–78cm. Both rams and ewes are horned.

They are a dual-purpose breed, raised both for meat and for wool. Each sheep produces about 4 kilos of wool a year. Their wool is growing quite quickly so they have to be sheared twice a year. Good luck Neil!

We hope to increase the size of our small flock and we will strive to maintain the characteristics of the breed.

Valais Blacknoses

See more photographs in the Galleries section.

Big Fernyford Farm, Reapsmoor, Longnor, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 0NA
T : 01298 83422 | E : farm@fernyford.co.uk

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