Updated: Mar 8, 2020
We are really excited to welcome our new eco lawn mowers Maya and Bunty, two tiny Ouessant ewes. The Ouessant breed of sheep originate from the Isle of Oussant, around 12 miles off the coast of Brittany France. They are a hardy sheep, well adapted to all weather, rarely suffering foot rot problems, they lamb independently and can be kept outside all year round. They were found only on the Island of Ouessant until the 19th c. and were almost wiped out at the start of the 20th c. They are still on the EU and UK lists of 'At Risk' rare and heritage breeds. Ouessants are the worlds smallest naturally occurring breed of sheep, they are not a miniaturised version of a larger breed. Their size when fully grown is around 20kg and around 17 -18 inches at the shoulder. They were made small by the harsh environment and poor grazing on their native island, barren with lots of rocks and very few trees. The island is also frequently battered by Atlantic gales and storms. These little sheep are mainly black or white, but can also, more rarely, be caramel or grey. There wool is 27-28microns thick on average and makes a good fine knitting yarn and soft weaving yarn.
We chose this breed as they are so small and friendly little things, great for children to meet and ideal for nibbling the grass around the site. We have planned to keep sheep for some long time now and have researched several breeds, looking for the right pet breed. Our little field is already registered as a smallholding which is a type of small farm, because we have so many fruit trees which give us a lovely crop each autumn. A previous owner named the smallholding Ingleton Farm, which is a name we have kept. We intend to increase our mini flock over time and encourage our guests to meet, feed and pet the sheep. Their fleece is long with a dense undercoat which is supposed to be good for spinning so we may try this out in the summer. There main role will be as our eco lawn mowers so they will be working their way around the smallholding getting to all the difficult bits for us.