The high intellectual standards of the white faced breed.

I must confess to wondering, with modest trepidation and not a little anticipation; whether the title of this blog will provoke a twitter storm. Frankly I suspect the answer is a resounding ‘no’ if only because I imagine not enough people will ever see it.

But still, on with the motley; I have used the phrase, ‘bluidy auld witch’ about sheep in the past. But this phrase needs modification.

Firstly we have here a picture of a texel cross




Then we have a texel cross with a mule in the background.



Finally we have a Suffolk cross.




So now you know. These sheep are pictured in our very temporary holding pens. They lamb, often outside or in the building they’re brought into for night. Then they’re whisked across here with their lambs and they stay for as little time as possible, just so we can check they have accepted their lambs and have the milk to feed them. If all is well and the lamb has a full tummy, next day they’ll be back out in the field as a happy family unit.


But when the ewe has just lambed in the field you have to get the mother and lambs home to make sure they’re all right. A lamb that spends the nigh outside without having been licked down properly by mum and without a full stomach is probably dead. So muggings here turns up with quad and trailer. The routine procedure is simple.

Pick up lamb or lambs, place in trailer. Stand out of way so mum can get in trailer. Close gate, fetch happy family home.

And sometimes it actually happens like that.


Mules, especially those who’ve done it before, tend to be OK with it. Every so often you get one that plays silly beggars, but by and large they’re OK.

Suffolks fall into the ‘nice but dim’ category but by and large they’re not difficult to load.

Your white faced texel cross on the other hand can be mad as a bucket of frogs. In agricultural terms, speaking as a cattleman, they could do with crossing with Limi just to calm them down.

When you put the lamb in the trailer you don’t know whether she’ll knock you down trying to get in; get in and knock you down trying to get out, or run fifty yards away and try and find the lamb over there because that’s the idea that is currently ricocheting around the inside of an otherwise largely empty skull.

But by and large, sooner or later, you get them loaded and get them home.


And sometimes when you’re doing this, it isn’t raining. Which is nice.


But then it’s usually raining. So for your comfort, in paperback or ebook we proudly present


As a reviewer commented, “This book charts a year in the life of a Cumbrian sheep farmer. It’s sprinkled with anecdotes and memories of other years. Some parts (especially when featuring Sal, the Border Collie) were so funny as to cause me to have to read them out loud to my husband. It’s very interesting to read these things from the pen of the man who is actually out there doing it – usually in the rain! A very good read.”

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16 thoughts on “The high intellectual standards of the white faced breed.

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 13, 2016 at 3:01 pm Reply

    I love posts like this (though sorry my amusement is at your expense) that let me into a world I can just barely imagine.

    One question: if they are such a pain to deal with, why do you keep texel cross sheep? Is their wool or meat worth it?

    • jwebster2 April 13, 2016 at 9:54 pm Reply

      Meat. They have excellent carcass confirmation with plenty of meat in the higher quality cuts.

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 13, 2016 at 11:58 pm

        And the lambs are cute.

      • jwebster2 April 14, 2016 at 10:12 am

        It’s a survival mechanism. When you depend for your safety on a mother whose idea of aggressive intent is to Stamp a front foot, you really need to have your own techniques 🙂

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 3:23 am

        I’m pretty sure ‘cute’ isn’t a survival technique with wolves.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 5:43 am

        round here tourists are a bigger problem 😉

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 5:47 am

        If I saw (and probably did not smell) one of your lambìns, I would probably be one of your tourist problems.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 8:37 am

        It’s not so much a problem round here but in the Lake District it can be a nightmare. What will happen is the ewe goes off grazing and the lamb snoozes and waits for her to come back.
        But along comes a tourist, decides the lamb is ‘lost’. They then turn up at the next farm they see and present them with the lamb.
        Except they haven’t a clue where exactly they found it, or whether it even belonged to the farmer they’re foisting it off onto and get very hurt when they’re told to ‘bugger off and put it back where you found it’ because somewhere up there there is a mother running round frantically looking for it 😦

      • Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt April 15, 2016 at 12:19 pm

        Likely resulting in an enormous amount of work for the farmer if they even get reunited.

        It’s best not to meddle where you don’t have knowledge! Or udders.

        Note to self: leave the lambs alone.

        But then the people who read this blog and the people who would do something like pick up livestock because it looks lost, are not the same people. Sigh.

      • jwebster2 April 15, 2016 at 2:45 pm

        Yep. Some people won’t be told because they know best 😦

  2. M T McGuire April 14, 2016 at 6:13 am Reply

    I particularly liked the last line which had me chuckling … A lot. 🙂



  3. […] Jim Webster […]

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