Slipperfield Hebridean Sheep
Breeding stock for SALE. Please contact me for more information.
We started our flock of pedigree registered Hebridean Sheep in 2010 and fell in love with the breed. Since then we have been actively involved in the Hebridean Sheep Society (Jonathan has been a Trustee since 2015), supporting the breed and spreading the word. We regularly show our sheep with some success (Royal Highland Show, Border Union Show, Great Yorkshire Show & Peebles) and attend the Society's main supported Rare Breed Sales throughout the year (Lanark, York & Melton) as well as other Rare Breed Sales. We primarily run a Breeding Flock with the surplus rams and any ewes not 'making the grade', providing us with a supply a tasty lamb/hogget (also availiable for sale).
Hebridean Sheep History
The sheep which were kept throughout Britain up to the Iron Age were small, short-tailed, and varied in colour. These survived into the 19th century in the Highlands and Islands as the Scottish Dunface, which had various local varieties, most of which are now extinct (some do survive, such as the Shetland and North Ronaldsay). The Dunfaces kept in the Hebrides were very small, with white faces and legs; their bodies were usually white, but often black, brown, russet or grey. The fleece was short and soft and they were typically horned in both sexes, many of them having two or even three pairs of horns. The Dunface was gradually replaced with long-tailed breeds such as the Scottish Blackface and Cheviot; it died out on the mainland and eventually also on the Hebridean islands. The last known native Hebridean sheep survived on Uist, and in the 1880's some were taken from there to Storr Hall at Windermere in Cumbria. These sheep were distributed as ornamental animals to various estates in England and Scotland, generally being called "St Kilda" sheep. Eventually only black sheep remained in these flocks. The black gene carried by Hebrideans is absent from endemic European sheep, but does occur in some Middle Eastern types. It is thought that it was acquired at some time by the Hebridean (and also by the Black Welsh Mountain) through interbreeding with the Jacob, which is thought to be derived from the Middle Eastern or Mediterranean sheep and which has also been widely kept as an ornamental animal.
In 1973 the ornamental Hebrideans were identified by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust as being in need of conservation. Since then the breed has been revived, and it is no longer regarded as 'at risk'.