This weeks Follow the Flock takes us to Northumberland with Ailsa Forsyth’s from the Three Farms Flock.
Ailsa chose Kerry Hills as she wanted a sheep with character and style, that didn’t need pampering and was suitable for a hill farm. These Kerry Hill traits led to Three Farms flock being formed in 2014 with 2 ewes from the Mowhaugh flock and then further purchases being made later at the Society’s Carlise sale. The flock now has 46 ewes, which also run alongside the farms other breeds of Zwartables, Shetlands, and Badger Faced Welsh Moutain Sheep. Ailsa confesses she is “sheep obsessed”!
Ailsa aims to breed a Kerry that is as “correct as possible” that can flourish on her hill farm without a constant need to be fed. She looks for “a clean face, with the black being dark and no spots or black in the wool, sparky, tight fleeced, big ears and correct teeth and feet”. Ailsa says she would not buy anything that is going to “melt” or with too much blue on the underside of the tail. Another piece of advice she was told was to “get a good pair of running shoes” but fortunately she has a collie instead!
June 2018 saw Three Farms Flock take to the show ring and gaining a champion rosette at Cumberland show with a homebred ewe lamb. This success continued in 2019 with the flock never returning home without a rosette in Kerry Hill or Any Other Native Classes. Ailsa says in the next five years she hopes to be “selling at Society sales and winning a big show”.
She would also like to hold an Open day and expand her flock. Including using the Kerrys commercially crossing with Texels to produce excellent fat lamb, as she has done in the past. This year Ailsa also crossed the Kerrys with “Blackies” to breed replacement commercial ewes to use rather than mules.
When Ailsa is not fulfilling her sheep obsession she works in a local school with Pre-school children, has a passion for photography and her dogs particularly Collies and Border Terriers. She loves being outdoors but don’t ask her to drive a tractor, tractor work is certainly not a passion!
*We hope that you have enjoyed reading this feature. If you would like to be involved in the next one please fill in the questionnaire found here and return it back to the Society’s administrator, Linda Bull. We look forward to hearing from breeders old and new.