Balwen Welsh Mountain Sheep Society

Sheep Husbandry

Frequently Asked Questions – and their answers!

Balwen are a mountain sheep, but my smallholding is a lowland one. Can I still keep them? Yes, definitely. They will thrive on your land. You will just have to be careful that they don’t get too fat. You may well find that they only need a bit of supplementary feeding at lambing time. The rest of the year they will flourish on your good grazing, and a bit of hay.

Do their long tails ever cause them a problem? No, why should they? They are born that way, after all. Tail docking is something which shepherds have done for their convenience, not the sheep’s. With long tails, there is more to get in a mess if the sheep is scouring. But with good husbandry that shouldn’t happen often, anyway. During the spring/summer season a long tail is a far more effective fly swish than a short one. At lambing time, it does make it difficult to observe from a distance, but Balwen are very private lambers. You can wait outside the stable for hours, pop in for a cup of tea for 5 minutes, and come back out to find it’s all happened! Thankfully, they are not prone to lambing problems.

Do I have to have a sheep dog? No. Balwen are easily trained to come running at the sound of a rattled bucket of feed. A little bit of patience is all that is required.

I have heard nightmare stories of illness caused by organophosphates in sheep dips. Is it still necessary to dip your sheep every year? It is no longer necessary to put either yourself or your sheep through the stress of dipping. There are now very effective spray on / pour on treatments which work just as well. The chemicals in these treatments need to be handled with respect and it always advisable to wear protective clothing and gloves during their application. They all come with full instructions.