Pulham Market youngster owns his own flock of sheep - I kid ‘ewe’ not

Tom Alexander, 11, with some of his flock of Texel cross sheep at his home at Pulham Market. Picture

Tom Alexander, 11, with some of his flock of Texel cross sheep at his home at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

A schoolboy who begged his mother to buy him some sheep so he could start a flock is baaaarmy about his woolly friends.

Tom Alexander, 11, with Benny, one of his flock of Texel cross sheep, who he bottlefed, at his home

Tom Alexander, 11, with Benny, one of his flock of Texel cross sheep, who he bottlefed, at his home at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

Tom Alexander from Bush Green farm near Pulham Market was just nine years old when he asked his mum if she would get him some sheep.

Visits to family who farm sheep in Herefordshire had convinced the pupil from Pulham Primary nothing but a flock of sheep would do.

In the end mum, Libby Alexander, gave in, and Tom's godfather who farms near North Walsham got him his first three sheep.

'I didn't know much about sheep farming at the time,' said Tom.

A curious sheep, one of 11-year-old Tom Alexander's Texel cross flock at his home at Pulham Market.

A curious sheep, one of 11-year-old Tom Alexander's Texel cross flock at his home at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017


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'But I did know I didn't want a black sheep or a woolly headed sheep, so that narrowed it down.

'We brought the sheep back in grandad's trailer, and the next day it poured with rain but I sat out there and watched them.'

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Since then the young sheep farmer has gone from strength to strength and now has 17 in his flock.

He even has his own sheep account for sales, and uses the money to buy medication for flies and worms.

Tom Alexander, 11, with some of his flock of Texel cross sheep, including friendly Benny who Tom bot

Tom Alexander, 11, with some of his flock of Texel cross sheep, including friendly Benny who Tom bottlefed, front, at Tom's home at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

But he has also learned that he has to take the rough with the smooth and life with sheep can be a bit of a roller coaster.

'I've just finished lambing and it's been a rough lambing season - I lost two ewes and five lambs,' he said.

'The worst was the first - the ewe had ringwomb.

'When I went to school she was penned up and mum was left looking after her.

Tom Alexander, 11, with Benny, one of his flock of Texel cross sheep, who he bottlefed, at his home

Tom Alexander, 11, with Benny, one of his flock of Texel cross sheep, who he bottlefed, at his home at Pulham Market. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2017

'When I came out of school dad was there, so I knew something was wrong.'

But there have been success stories too such as the sheep that was born backwards they managed to save.

And Benny one of his lambs he bottle-fed from birth, who sticks close to the youngster and loves to be petted.

'When I get to school it seems the day has already gone because I've been up since silly o'clock,' says Tom.

'But my teachers are supportive - although I can get a bit of 'rough' from classmates about killing animals.'

And what of the inspirational youngster's future?

'I have aspirations to be a sheep farmer in Scotland - I like the cold and the hills,' he says with a big smile.

Mum looks on proud as punch: ' He's done really well because it's hard work.

'The harder it is, the more challenging it is, the better he seems to do, ' she says.

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