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After working as a shepherdess for other people for over 20 years I now have my own flock less than a mile from where I grew up.
Farming has been in my family for countless generations but sheep haven't featured for several decades.
I started with 40 Romney tegs (2 year olds) in 2015 and am slowly growing the flock. Romneys are originally from Kent. They are hardy, great forage converters, very maternal, easy to lamb and have a thick, lustrous fleece. In late Autumn the majority of my flock are mated with a Southdown ram, the native Sussex breed, to produce butchers lambs. The best Romney ewes are mated with a Romney ram and their purebred Romney ewe lambs are kept to grow the flock. The Romney ram lambs will hopefully be sold as breeding rams in future. They all lamb outdoors in May when the weather is warmer. This is cleaner and more natural than lambing in a shed and also makes use of the Spring grass during their late pregnancy and early days of lactation.
The lambs are reared slowly on a diet of milk and grass only and sold directly to local customers from August to December. They are butchered to your specification in half or whole lamb boxes, and delivered to your door by myself. The meat tastes incredible due to it's freshness, the animal's quality of life, their natural diet and the time of year that I sell them. I also keep lambs through the winter and sell them as hogget (1-2 year old) the following summer. As well as giving them a longer life they have more meat and a darker, more interesting flavour.
At shearing time the best fleeces are carefully selected and taken to Diamond Fibres, a small, local mill. 2016's Limited Edition DK 100% pure Romney Yarn is currently available on Etsy as gorgeous undyed 100g skeins.
The farm itself belongs to my Aunt and Uncle's family. It has no chemical inputs and is covered with thick hedges, wild flowers and ancient Oak trees and surrounded by deciduous bluebell woods. Every single one of us involved in the farm and in my flock feel very strongly about protecting and improving the quantity and diversity of the wildlife at Burtenshaw Farm.