Woolly wonders are the talk of the farm in West Norfolk
PUBLISHED: 11:20 21 May 2015 | UPDATED: 11:20 21 May 2015
© Archant Norfolk 2015
Everyone is talking about these new arrivals at a West Norfolk farm.
With their fluffy woolly coats, distinctive black faces and matching knee patches, they certainly stand out from the crowd.
The Valais blacknose sheep are a rare breed originating from the Valais region of the Swiss Alps.
They usually graze on steep and stony slopes, and the four females are settling into very different terrain at their new home at Church Farm, in Stow Bardolph, near Downham Market.
Farm manager Paul Furness said: “This is a very rare breed of sheep, even in Switzerland.
About Church Farm in Stow Bardolph
Church Farm is home for many animals, including rare breeds of sheep, pigs and cows.
It’s officially credited as a farm park for rare breeds with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust. With this, it has to meet strict guidelines when it comes to looking after, and caring for, such animals.
Its rare breeds include
White Park cattle: These are one of the country’s oldest breeds of cattle.
At present there are only between 750 and 1500 registered adult breeding females left.
Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs: These have been around for around 200 years and were popular during the 1920s and 1930s until more modern breeds took over.
Tamworth pigs: Originating from the Midlands, this an ancient British breed is closest to the traditional pig that would have roamed the woods during medieval times.
“They’re very authentic and only found in that particular region of the country.
“As their numbers are declining, more and more people have taken on breeding them. In the UK, there are fewer than 200 breeding females – that isn’t many sheep.”
They were all born in the Swiss Alps, and have been given very Swiss pet names in keeping with their native: Edelweiss, Emmental, Heidi and Yodel. Members of the public will be able to see them at the farm from Saturday.
Mr Furness added: “There are two main reasons why we got the sheep.
“They are such an interesting breed and look amazing.
As we’re a farm that specialises in rare breeds, they fit into exactly what we’re trying to do here.
“We are also interested in breeding to maintain the numbers.
“Finding a ram is going to be difficult as the breed is so rare in the UK, so we will have to artificially inseminate.
“And we’ll be working with the relevant experts to make sure the process is all above board.”
He described their nature as docile, but explained they were also inquisitive and friendly.
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