On our farm we keep a small flock of Romney sheep. Romney are known for their beautiful long and fluffy fleece and their exceptional mild meat flavour. Since the Romney lambs tend to grow a little slower than most breeds, they’re not exactly popular among meat sheep breeders, but make the perfect homestead sheep instead. Originally bred in the swampy Romney marshes of England, this very hardy sheep is an easy keeper. They’re more resistant to sheep foot rot and liver flukes than most breeds and can better withstand rain and snow because of their dense fleeces. Although presently I lack the time for spinning, their long silky wool which comes in an assortment of colours, from very white, cream, light greys, blue greys, charcoals, black, and brown makes them much desirable to any spinner.
I initially came across this lovely breed when I did research for an article about wool and visited a local small-scale wool mill to watch the procedure from sheep to coloured knitting yarn. The sheep shearer was giving their flock of Romney sheep a hair cut that day and by the time I’d taken enough photos and notes in both the barn and the mill I ended up loading a male lamb into my SUV which eventually became the dad of my first cross-bred Dorset/Romney and later pure-bred Romney lambs.
Fast forward twelve years and I found myself in need of a new ram. This summer I had the great difficulty of picking just one from the handsome bunch of Romney lambs (shown in the photo underneath) from the flock owned by Bonnie Perry of Owen Sound.
The white ones were gorgeous, but reminded me too much of the old ram I had. Besides, I wanted to introduce a new colour to my white and cream coloured ewes. So we ended up with “Monty,” a five month old baby ram who rode home with our Bernese Mountain dog keeping him company in the back of our Toyota Highlander.
Our last Dorset that I kept because of sentimental reasons, Granny Sazou, was exhilarated to take the little guy under her motherly care. Previously too tired of getting up and being bothered to even eat, this little ram surely got her going again.
Friendly as his breed is famous for, Monty greets me every morning now when I enter the barn to release the flock into the field. I enjoy to watch him growing up and I can’t wait for the many colourful lambs that might be born next spring.
Whether you’re a hobby farmer, a fibre artist, gourmet chef, or spinner, or perhaps you simply like to see cuddly sheep, stay tuned for my spring update on the much anticipated new lambs.
And in case you are interested in delicious Romney meat, their silky fibre, cozy sheep’s skins or just have questions or comments in general, (perhaps you feel the need of counting sheep before you fall asleep) feel free to contact me either by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or in the comment section underneath. – We love to hear from you!