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Author Topic: Herdwick sheep  (Read 4699 times)


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Herdwick sheep
« on: March 31, 2014, 12:24:24 pm »
I fell in love with some Herdwicks at a sale last year. Would they make good pets?
You may have seen that I am probably not going to lamb again after this season but want to keep my original Ryeland/Coloured Ryeland girls and wondered if a couple of Herdwicks would be ok with them. 
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2014, 12:34:45 pm »
Many years ago my MiL knitted me a jumper in Herdwick yarn, and apparently her fingers were bleeding every time she picked up the needles.  Certainly it tries to chop my head off each time I turn when I wear it  ;D

But what lovely sheep and brilliant for floor rugs or cushion covers. :spin:

My husband would have some in a minute if we had room  :hugsheep:.

Sorry, I've no idea about keeping them with Ryelands, but they would be a wonderful contrast.

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie


  • Joined Feb 2014
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2014, 12:39:08 pm »
I also fell in love with some Herdwicks when I was 13 on a school trip to the Lakes!  some 20 years later I realised my dream of owning my own little flock of 3 ewe lambs - and they are beautiful pets!  I don't use a dog - they come to the bucket and one of them now comes just for a cuddle and a head scratch.  I bought a tup lamb and last year had the thrill of my own newborn lambs - and there are more lambs due any day now.  I have 3 of last years lambs for sale but you are a long way away from me as I'm in the scottish borders.  My Herdys get on well with everyone - living with donkeys ducks and hens happily and frequently conversing with my collie x and cats!  Good luck with your herdy hunt - they are the most beautiful sheep in my opinion! X


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #3 on: March 31, 2014, 02:18:37 pm »
Well, you two might just have talked me into it. Not that I needed much egging on  ;D

I don't have lots of land so it depends on my lambing and who stays and who goes. In Sept there is a coloured sheep sale only 15 mins from home, which is where I saw the sheep last year, so I'm not making any serious decisions until that time. Just sewing seeds at the moment.

I know their fleece isn't suitable for clothes but I have my Ryelands for that and we also get given a fair few fleeces at the spinning group so these would be a nice contrast.

Thanks ladies
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2014, 02:33:00 pm »
Liz Shankland (Tudful Tamworths) has some Herdwicks I think, so she might have some useful contacts for you.


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2014, 02:34:40 pm »
Thanks foobar. I will be at the smallholders show at Builth Wells and Liz is usually there so I might to talk her about her sheep as well as pigs.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2014, 08:18:38 pm »
Just lost a long post  ::)

Suffice to say, we used to have a flock that was half Herdies and half Rough Fells. The Herdies, whilst cute, were wild and mad. Ran up the walls out of holding pens, abandoned their lambs (not always but more often than anything else I've kept), had to rugby tackle the tup to get raddle on him......

I wouldn't say they'd make good pets. Maybe if they started as pet lambs?

When we sold the Herdie half of the flock, the whole place seemed to take a deep breath and calm down. The Roughs were miles easier to deal with, without the Herdies raising the termperature.

I thought they were so cute, with their stocky little legs and cute faces - but now, I'm happy to just admire them on the fells, where they belong.


  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Jun 2012
  • S W northumberland
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #7 on: March 31, 2014, 08:56:29 pm »
We have 2 herdwick crosses that are very friendly they follow you around like a dog and you can just get a hold of them as and when you need to do anything  our friend has 2 pure herdwicks who are bucket trained but that's about it with them she still has to catch them to do anything with them .

Tudful Tamworths

  • Joined Aug 2009
    • Liz's website
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2014, 11:45:11 pm »
Hi Bionic. I love my Herdwicks. First batch came from the Llandovery coloured breeds sale (I still have the catalogue if you want me to send you the details of the breeders who were there) and the second from Bolton. All were from big flocks and were pretty wild when I got them and it took a while to get their confidence, but they were soon following me round like dogs (and following my dogs round, too).

I would say they would make great "forever" sheep - big and tough to withstand our harsh wet weather, good feet (I've had no footrot problems at all, even with all the filthy weather we've had this past winter), and they lamb really easily.

Half the battle is getting some from a flock which are bucket-friendly. As with pigs, the mother's personality and confidence seems to be passed on to the offspring. One of the many nice things about Herdies is that their size makes them less flighty and kangaroo-like than some of our native Welsh breeds. They are more difficult to turn with brute force if you haven't mastered the "twist and tip over" skill, but once you learn it, they're easy to manage.

If you're at the May or July Royal Welsh shows, come and find me for a chat. If I'm not near my pens, ring the number on the sign, because I definitely won't be far away!
Author of the Haynes Pig Manual, Haynes Smallholding Manual, and the Haynes Sheep Manual. Three times winner of the Tamworth Champion of Champions. Teaching smallholding courses at Kate Humble's farm:


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Herdwick sheep
« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2014, 08:59:15 am »
It was Llandovery I was planning on getting them at, assuming there is something suitable this year. I will be spinning at the sheep festival on the Sat but keeping the Sun free for the sale.

I will be at both Builth shows so will definitely see you there at some stage.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


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