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 Sheep

We have a flock of 300 breeding ewes. They lamb from mid March onwards. At lambing time the ewes are housed in a barn about 2 weeks before they start lambing, and are then turned out to grass when the lambs are around 3-5 days and strong enough to cope with any changing weather.

The ewes are mainly the Highlander breed of sheep from New Zealand, which are a specially bred to produce twin lambs each year, and have strong feet making them less prone to lameness. We breed our own replacement ewes, which reduces our risks of buying in any sheep with diseases or problems. It also means our ewes have been born on the farm, and have learnt from their mothers the best places to graze and shelter.

We use Texel and Primera rams on the ewes, to breed a cross-bred lamb which is relatively lean and has good conformation for meat. The lambs are finished between 4 and 9 months of age and eat a diet of grass, red and white clover and lucerne, as well as their mother’s milk- they have no concentrated feed. The lamb we produce has a very good flavour from this varied diet, and not too much fat!

We are assisted in the handling of the sheep by 2 working Border Collies, Meg and Nell

The environmental impact of the meat we produce is kept to a minimum, as we use no grain based concentrates to finish our lambs. We also use minimal amounts of artificial fertiliser. We don't need to add any nitrogen to our leguminous crops (eg clover, Lucerne) as they fix their own nitrogen from the air!

We vaccinate all our sheep against the common diseases, including foot rot meaning we hardly ever use any antibiotics on our sheep. The ewes are shorn during June and we ensure the cattle and sheep rotate around the pastures on the farm to get optimize our grazing.

We also use the very latest varieties of grass when we re sow a paddock to ensure we farm in the most efficiently we can.


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Sondes Place Farm, Dorking, England