Blue Faced Leicester
The Blue faced Leicester is one of the three Leicester breeds of sheep [English Leicester Longwool, Border Leicester, and Blue faced Leicester].
The Old English Leicester, Teeswater, Dishley Leicester (or Bakewell’s “Improved Leicester”), Border Leicester, and Wensleydale all contributed to the eventual development of the Bluefaced Leicester. Therefore, the Bluefaced Leicester is classified as a longwool breed.
Though its fleece is typically at the finer end of the longwool range, it exhibits characteristics unique to longwools, most notably staple length and structure.
On both white and natural colored Bluefaced Leicesters, the wool should be tightly purled, fine, dense, semi-lustrous, and when parted, it should open cleanly to the skin. There should be an even, consistent fleece coverage on the body, and the fleece should be free of hair and kemp. There should be no tendency for the main body of fleece to “peel” (the fleece breaking and sloughing off).
The Bluefaced Leicester is classified as a longwool breed with a staple length of 3-6 inches, a fleece weight of 2½-4½ lbs., and a fiber diameter of 56s–60s count, or 24-28 microns. It creates high-quality semi-lustre yarns with soft hand, beautiful drape, and excellent dyeing properties.
It is believed that Gotland sheep are descendants of flocks first established on the Swedish island of Gotland during the Viking era. Gotland sits in the middle of the Baltic Sea, and was a thriving trading center for the Vikings, who transported sheep during their expeditions.
Gotland wool is fine, long, lustrous and dense. It can be varying shades of grey, from pale silver to a rich blue-gray to a dark charcoal or almost black. Typically, their fleeces do not discolor due to sun exposure. The fleece grows in long, fine, and lustrous distinctive curls. Soft to the touch, the smooth silky curls feel clean, having little lanolin. The fleece is typically 29 to 34 microns in diameter. Lambs wool can be in the low to mid 20’s micron range. Gotland wool falls in soft ringlets and grows about 10 to 12 inches a year.
The Cormo Sheep was developed in Tasmania by I.K. Downie. Mr. Downie crossed Corriedale Rams with 1200 carefully selected superfine Saxon Merino Ewes.
Cormo are considered easy keepers; they are somewhat smaller than many breeds and therefore require 40% less feed then larger breeds.
They are rugged animals, able to thrive in the harsh climate of eastern Montana, the humidity of the East Coast the wetness of the Northwest, and the heat of the Southwest.