‘SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE…’: PASTORAL DORSET


Alpaca Dorset

For six years we had our neighbour’s 3 alpacas in our paddock. Advantages: they mowed the grass and were decorative. Drawbacks: they caused a lot of damage by digging and from their peculiarly toxic waste; and were annoyingly passive / aggressive. So we moved them off, spent last winter filling in all the holes with a ton of topsoil and re-seeding, followed by a programme of regular harrowing, mowing and rolling to make the field ready for our son’s wedding on midsummer’s day (where we had our own reception a few years decades ago).

Wed Pad

Now what? The answer is: sheep. Peaceful, munching grazers with no obvious drawbacks. A young farmer in the village has put 7 pregnant Poll Dorset sheep in the paddock. Result: pastoral scenes, evenly cropped grass, and a damage-free field – with pre-Christmas lambs in prospect. Dorset Poll Sheep 7Dorset Poll Sheep 1Dorset Poll Sheep 8Dorset Poll Sheep 6Dorset Poll Sheep 3

The Dorset breed of sheep comes in both poll and horn varieties. Here are specimens of each kind photographed at a recent show in Dorset. The breed is hardy (as befits Hardy country), and unusually they can lamb 3 times over the course of 2 years, making them a productive option for a young farmer building up his flock. 

Dorset Poll Sheep, Stock Oak Fair Dorset Horn Sheep - Stock Oak Fair

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4 thoughts on “‘SHEEP MAY SAFELY GRAZE…’: PASTORAL DORSET

  1. It is a bit of an old joke when someone says they need to get some sheep to mow the lawn but you’ve actually done it! They seem a particularly attractive breed, but then I have a penchant for sheep. Do yours have curls like the one in the show or did she get a perm first? Amelia

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    • They are rather lovely. And very silent, barely a baa. That may all change with lambs, though. The alpacas were a fair idea, but became a right pain! Ours haven’t the curls (yet). I suspect the show ones (it was actually the Chagford show, Dartmoor last month, Mrs RH reminds me) were allowed to grow their wool – and it’s plainly been bathed in Pantene 2-in-1 Shampoo / Conditioner for extra sheen. Then permed.

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  2. 🙂 Love your writing, 👍 RH! 😄 Excellent swop withe the peaceful sheep, hehe. You have some garden, wow! – just the right size for a BIG party! Now we all look forward to the wedding, staging a wedding is seriously hard work, did you know that?

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    • It a very peaceful place to be, when we aren’t in London (or Abaco). Mrs RH’s family home, in fact. The wedding was actually this June; our own reception was in the same field 35+ years ago. Hmmmmm. That’s a while back… RH

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