Our Flock

Bred with Swiss standards in mind

Our small foundation flock consists of 6 lovely, mature Scottish Black Faced ewes. All 6 were hand selected and registered with the Blacknose Valais Society as foundation ewes. In November of 2019, all 6 were bred using AI, to a top Blacknose Valais ram from New Zealand. Lambs are due in March 2020. We may have a few wethers for sale, but will likely be keeping all ewes in our breeding program, depending on marking and confirmtion.

About the Breed

 

The Valais Blacknose Sheep, German: Walliser Schwarznasenschaf, originated back in the 15th century from the Valais Canton region of Switzerland, but were not recognized as a breed until 1962. They are considered a rare breed of sheep. The Valais Blacknose actually were declining in numbers early in the 20th century, but until most recently - with the assistance of social media have seen quite a resurgence. Once found only in remote villages of Switzerland, they have now expanded to Germany, the United Kingdom and New Zealand.

The Valais, as they are often referred to, have a simply stunning and unique appearance. They are a long-wool breed of sheep that feature beautiful white curly wool with a distinct black face and nose – a look that you simply can’t help but to love! Black patches are found on the ears, nose, hocks and knee caps, with a black tail spot marking on ewes only. Eventually both female and male sheep grow amazing spiral or helical-shaped horns.

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They available in the US, so, how do we get them here?

We breed up using very careful selection of ewes as foundation stock and careful semen selection from abroad.

When a particular sheep breed for whatever reason (disease, economics, etc.) cannot be imported into the US, the way we "create" it here is to pick a breed with similar characteristics to the one we want. Then we import the desired breed's semen and inseminate a "stock" ewe.

 

The first generation is genetically 50% of the desired breed and 50% of the "stock" breed (in our case, Scottish blackface). The next year the 50/50 ewes are “bred” to a purebred ram of the species you want to create and so on until the desired breed's genes predominate, and the sheep can now be considered the breed you are trying to create. That's up breeding.

Scottish Blackface sheep are the first preference for use in the US up breeding program as they were one of the breeds used originally to develop the Valais Blacknose. Since animals can’t be imported to the US, semen from Blacknose sheep in other countries (Europe, and New Zealand) is used on US Scottish Blackface ewes to produce a hybrid.  After 5 generations the resulting sheep are 97% Valais Blacknose.

It goes as such:

F1 (50% Valais)

F2 (75% Valais)

F3 (88% Valais)

F4 (94% Valais)

F5 (97% Valais)

It takes a lot of time, dedication, and teamwork of so many and care to create this amazing breed. We all care deeply about the genetic diversity so we can sustain the breed. Please reach out with any questions you may have, and follow us on Instagram for adorable photos!

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