- Compact and docile, they are easy to handle animals and ideal smallholder's sheep
- Make excellent mothers
- Well suited to rearing and finishing on grass. Highly regarded for its quality carcass and provide good returns for the sheep breeder. They are particularly suitable for organic lamb production
- Fleece is prized by hand spinners and weavers
- Ryelands rarely suffer from foot problems
History of the Ryeland Sheep
One of Britain's oldest breeds, formerly known as the Welsh Border sheep, the Ryeland has been around for more than 800 years and so important were they that they were referred to as the 'Golden Hoof' animal of the Marches, grazing the rye fields surrounding Leominster Abbey. It is believed that the 'wool sack', the Lord Chancellor's seat in the House of Lords was originally stuffed with Ryeland fleeces. It has since been re-stuffed with wool from around the Commonwealth as a gesture of unity and friendship. The Ryeland flock Book Society was formed in 1908. Whilst listed as a rare breed during the early years of the RBST, it is now numerically healthy, but still classed as a minority breed.
Ryeland sheep sometimes produce coloured lambs as the expression of recessive coloured genes. British Ryelands have this coloured gene whilst Australian flocks do not. The coloured sheep have no gene for whiteness and so, when bred together produce coloured lambs. Fleece colour may vary from pale silver through many shades of grey to black. Occasionally, fawn or dark brown may occur and the body colour may be uniform, spotted or patched. It is the coloured fleeces from our animals that we use in our range of throws and scarves.