In 2013 I decided to look into what pure breed I really wanted for myself. When searching online I came across the Dorset and was extremely interested. Therefore I went on the hunt and came across these 3 gimmers at the rare breed sale in Dingwall and instantly fell in love.
Luckily it was my birthday 5 days after the sale so thanks to my Mum and Dad my present was bought. At this point, I couldn’t afford a tup so that year so we decided to cross my 3 gimmers with the Suffolk. When lambing time came around we were very nervous about what Mum called a “cute fluffy sheep” could produce. As my favourite gimmer out the three started to lamb we stood back and watched as this chunky single ewe lamb popped out with no issues. So as she started to lick the lamb I ran inside to the house to grab my phone for a photo and when I sprinted back out to the shed the lamb was already on its feet and making its way to the udder. It was at this point where Mum realised that my “cute fluffy sheep” were more than that.
The following year I managed to source a pure Dorset Tup and a few more ewes to add to my small flock. Between then and 2018 I was up to a total of 16 ewes, 2 of which were Dorset horns which I just ran with the polled tup. With only starting with 4 the numbers fairly started to creep up, this was between keeping all ewe lambs born and bought in a few each year from Smallburn farm through various sales. Due to the persuasion of Alistair Morton I decided to become a registered flock in 2018. 3 Since then the flock has expanded with currently 30 ewes, 24 of these being polled and the other 6 being Dorset Horns. The flock being improved by purchasing ewes for the Huish, Ballytaggart, Dun Eideann and Downkillybeggs flocks.
Last year I bought my first registered tup for the poll ewes. This was at the new Dorset Stirling show and sale and was the reserve champion tup lamb Dun Eideann Belveidere. The reason for this purchase was my ewes were becoming quite narrow and needed more depth and width about them. This tup looked perfect for this with his chucky attributes and style. Also seeing photographs of his sire, Sherborne Zodiac, I could see there was some brilliant breeding behind him.
As you’ve probably noticed the Dorset Horn numbers have increased (this wasn’t due to my hand accidentally waving at the mart). I was at Dingwall mart having a look at the Polled Dorset’s in the pens. Walking along I saw these 4 Dorset Horn ewes that caught my eye, and in a complete ‘begger it’ moment I decided to go for horned rather than polled. Once I had made my rash decision I then decided not to put the ewes to the tup until I found myself a good Dorset horned tup, so off they went out with the hoggs, with only hay and a very small amount of bruised barley. I was absolutely delighted to see how they maintained condition over the winter and when weighed in March they had actually gained 5kg.
Thanks to James from the Bennachie flock I managed to purchase High Rakes Anchor Man from the Reivers Flock. With nothing being easy living so far up north, we had to travel a roughly 350 miles round trip to pick him up. This came with another accidental purchase of a horned gimmer from the Dynamite flock and horned ewe lamb from the High Rakes flock. I dare say my horned flock was officially established.