HIGH ROAD SHEEP 

North Country Cheviots .. Suffolks

 EWE FLOCKS



                     

          
       NORTH COUNTRY CHEVIOT


                                         
       FOUNDATION                                       

   The North Country Cheviot breed in Scotland along with the Scottish Blackface, is a mainstay of the hill sheep industry, stocking the marginal and low fertility upland grazing.The breed was developed primarily in the county of Caithness, Scotland's rugged northern extremity, and home of my maternal forebears. Clearly the breed can handle adversity, be it nutritional or climatological, which would make it especially suited to help meet the ever increasing market for low input, sustainable seedstock. Over the years many Scottish North Country Cheviots found their way to Canada, and I was fortunate to have the chance to import many of their descendants into Maryland for Mr Willis starting in 1966. More detailed background information is provided on our "North Country History" page.            

                                

    The Miller ewes from New York as yearlings. Bennet 6 in the rear is the dam of two powerful stud rams, Highland Banner and Highland Piper. Miller 611 is the dam of Highland Patrol, Champion at Petersburg 2011, selling for $700, plus three keeper ewe lambs. Ron Fletcher bought those ewes for us in Illinois at the National Sale. Good job, Ron.
  
    
Wesley Woods hired me to put together a sheep operation for him in Highland County, Virginia in 2008, including North Country Cheviots, and I relished the chance to re-establish a flock in such prime sheep country. Our first stop was to visit Ron Fletcher, long a West Virginia breed stalwart whose foundation came from the Willis flock. Over 20 ewes came from Ron, and with his help we added several more. Three ewes and a ram came from Bonnie Henny in Oregon, one of the nation's premier breeders, to whom I had sent 30 ewes in the seventies. Two outstanding ewes were purchased from the Miller flock in New York and one from Roger Billiter,West Virginia, those three via the National Sale. Five females were added from Kenny Hammer, including two originally from Ron descending from the Bob Totten flock, at Ronceverte,WV, whose foundation came from our West Virginia operation. 
    Wesley had a change of plans in early 2009 and we bought the flock, moving them to nearby Alleghany County, some 40 miles to the south.
                                                                                                     

                 

       Henny bred ewe, lamb by AHF 2558. The lamb was champion at Petersburg as a yearling.

Philosophy
  
As always, we strive to breed North Country sheep with the true breed type, character and bone of the imports, with girth, depth of rib and flank, providing the volume and constitution to provide sustainability on grass. We plan to avoid extremes and want sheep with adequate frame size, stature and volume without an excess of leg or height. We think the breed offers real value to the commercial sheep business as a superior crossbreeding sire. Lamb vigor at birth is unmatched. Maternal efficiency and longevity along with hardiness and disease resistance are also clearly valuable traits. We will participate in ram performance testing in order to help identify those individuals superior in growth and carcass value Artificial insemination will likely be utilized to ensure genetic diversity.   
     



                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        



                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Miller 611 ewe with her first lambs


                                                                                                                                                              

                                        
                                                          
 
       
                           
    This is the kind of ewe we like to have around. One of the last daughters of AHF 2558, she was breed champion ewe at the West Virginia sale 2011. We were not bid enough to part with her, so she came home and raised the bst ram lamb we had the next year. 

                             OUR NEWEST ADDITION

       

          We saw this fancy yearling ewe at the 2015 National Sale in Petersburg,WV, at the end of May. She came from Tom Barkham in Michigan, and I decided that she needed to come home with us. I thought she should have been champion female,( but they didn't ask me to judge.) She placed fifth in a class of seven as I remember.

      I thought if I put some more condition on her, and she grew some wool, she might look pretty good by fair time in mid August.
                                     
          
         

     The ewe really came together, so we thought we might show her at the National Show, nearby in West Virginia to help support the event. Since we were tied up taking pictures at the fair (for the 17th year) we had Ashley Craun fit and show her, and lo and behold -
   Reserve Grand Champion female.    
   The Champion female from the Kramers in Indiana also came from Dr.Barkham. 
   Thanks to Ashley for his good work.


  FALL 2017

   SOME PASTURE SHOTS OF SOME EWES,ILLUSTRATING THE KIND WE LIKE TO KEEP AROUND- STOUT, BIG BARRELED, WITH BONE AND REAL BREED TYPE.

       
           




      


        



         






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SUFFOLK
                                  
                                                                                                                                                                  

       Foundation

     
A lifelong wish was realized when I was offered the chance to establish a Suffolk flock, in this instance for Wesley Woods. I have long admired the breed, but must admit to a high degree of trepidation regarding the direction taken in recent decades. It seemed to me that many Suffolks had become far too large in frame and structure to practically perform in the commercial environment in which they should excel. Seeking a ewe foundation more in line with the direction I had in mind, I was very fortunate to connect with John Scott near Princeton, West Virginia. Upon his return from Vietnam, John spent the next thirty years breeding practical Suffolks with function, uniformity and maternal efficiency. Using several rams from the Mint Gold Ranch program, he ensured carcass merit and generous loin eye area. His rams are consistently standout performers at several of the eastern performance tests. Our Suffolk foundation consisted of 25 females, mostly ewe lambs, all purchased from John, providing us uniformity in phenotype and genetic predictability. They have developed into exactly the kind of handsome and thrifty ewe flock I had envisioned, and I am grateful to John for not only sharing his fine sheep, but also a wealth of sage advice and experience.    
    Wesley Woods kindly gave us the opportunity to purchase the young Suffolk flock, and they moved south to Allegheny County.   
                           

                                                
                                                 Scott yearling ewe, lambs by MGR 9016

                                    
                                                                                                   Scott ewe lambs after arrival                  

 

Philosophy

    Our motto could appropriately be "SENSIBLY SIZED SUFFOLKS". We are committed to producing sheep with girth and constitution, but with moderation of frame to enhance profitable function and low input grass based performance. We plan to produce rams suited to the commercial shepherd, with feed efficiency and carcass quality.
    Performance testing will be emphasized to help identify desirable production traits.  Our approach will not include any emphasis on the showring. We  are gratified that several customers have already shown confidence in our program. Clearly, customer acceptance will best reveal whether or not our approach has merit.   Pictures of Suffolks sold appear on our "SALES" page. 

                                                                                                                               
              
  
                                          Scott foundation ewe lambs, 2008
    

        
       
                                                                                      Ewe lamb with twins
                           






       
     Here is our oldest 2612 daughter who should lamb in January to our new stud ram Reno 510, "Joe Montana".

  
        The first two daughters of "Joe Montana".           


    
 We like to brag about our Emenheiser 1P daughters. Here is a shot of High Road 301, the dam of our Virginia ram test $1500 sale topper in 2015. 
     She is the kind we are building with, and we have several fine sisters to her.

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THE CROSSBREEDING  OPTION      
 
          
     Suffolk bred as a lamb with her crossbreds  sired by "Hammer". Sje is a "Lambeau" daughter.        

   
             Crossbred NCC x Suffolk Yearling ewe with lambs by Suffolk ram. She was raised on the bottle, so got to stay in the flock. Much as we would like to keep a bunch of these crossbred ewes, we do not have room.
                     
                         

                                                  
    
Without doubt some of the more useful and highly productive sheep I have encountered over the years have been North Country Cheviot - Suffolk crossbreds. Handsome, speckle faced and powerful, thick topped and full of meat, they offer top grading market lambs, or high quality commercial seedstock. With this in mind we are producing a number annually from our purebred ewe flocks, all F1 hybrids either Suffolk or N.C. sired. Some might question our using registered ewes to crossbreed, but as uniformly good as the lambs are, I have no problem with it.  Our first 3 crossbreds were the top performing breed group at the 2010 Virginia Ram Lamb Performance Test, averaging 1.1 lbs daily
gain.  Our second Test group in 2011 numbering 5 again topped the gain figures, averaging 1.12 lbs, including the two top gaining rams overall.  Our crossbred females are in great demand and we hope to have more numbers for sale next year. Space does not permit us to keep a crossbred ewe flock, so our crossbred  ewe lambs are available every year, providing a real opportunity for anyone seeking some real flock improvers.       
  
            Pictured at about 8 weeks below is our top gaining 2010 crossbred lamb that came off test weighing  200 lbs  at less  than 6 months of age.

                                   

                                                                
                             


                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
                             




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

#303   Our headliner at the 2011 Virginia Ram Test Sale. 2nd high seller at $725 to Lee Blagg, Doe Hill, Highland County,VA.



                 

                   Three of our crossbreds at the 2011  Performance Test - top gaining and top selling group average.
                        #302 - $680                                        #301 - $600                                        #303  - $725              




                          

                                                   #303            #305                                                                                                       
     
     We think this picture really shows why people appreciate these crossbreds - how many sheep do you see with the girth and capacity of these two at  around six months of age? The day the ram on the left was born, I came home and told Julie he would top the ram test sale. I didn't quite hit it - he was second high seller.

                                                  
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                       FLOCK SECURITY DIVISION
                                          
   Since the coyotes cost us our last sheep operation many years ago, we were not about to suffer that fate again, and determined we would not run sheep without predator protection. After some research, we determined that guard dogs seemed the logical option.
     Ron Fletcher, Middlebourne, West Virginia, runs a pair of capable dogs with his flock that produce pups regularly. We thought that two females would be the way to go, so were lucky enough to get two litter sisters from Ron when we got our first sheep. The dogs are three way crossbreds, including Great Pyrenees, Maremma and Anatolian Shepherd.
      As was recommended, we penned the pups in close quarters with a few sheep for two weeks, providing a corner barrier to allow the pups refuge. This normally results in the dogs bonding with the sheep. Our dogs have lived with the flock ever since. Both are spayed.
    We raised many Border Collies over the years, but  this is our first experience with guard dogs. They are a little different, but our our relationship has been very rewarding. We could not run sheep without them, since coyotes are all around. The dogs bark at strange people, but do not attack them. Presumably they do not extend predators the same courtesy.
    We include the dogs in our EWE FLOCK page since that is where they live and work. They are named RED and BLUE which corresponds with the color of their collars. We apologize for our total lack of creativity in naming our guardian friends. 



   I told Julie if we get another dog,
  we'll have to name it "Whitey"
                                                                             
  
                 



                   
          Woe betide any trespassing coyote with Red on the alert. (The teachers used to say "woe betide you" to us when I was a kid in school. I was not sure what the term meant, but supposed it implied some kind of threat.


                                        
                                     


                      

SEPTEMBER 2016

       Our dogs have been on duty since 2008, so maybe the time had come to provide them some reinforcement.  We thought about a donkey, but none were immediately available nearby, but this llama was.


           
     The seller,Olivia, runs several llamas near White Sulphur Springs,WV, about 30 miles away. She advised us that female llamas are more protective  than males,(not to mention twice as big) and assured us that this one would do the job if any would. We shall find out. Of course the dogs could not figure out what this new beast was, and barked at her constantly, but they seem to have arranged a truce.
The llama name is "May" and she stands an inch or two taller than me. I asked Olivia what would the llama do if upset - like bite you, kick you butt you in the crotch or what?
          Olivia replied "She will spit in your face."
          " Thanks for sharing that", I thought, and about twenty minutes later got it                                            right between the eyes.



                     


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DOG UPDATE


  SAD TO SAY,WE LOST RED WITH LYMPHOMA LATE IN 2016. SHE HAD BEEN THE LEAD GUARD DOG FOR ALMOST 10 YEARS, AND NATURALLY WE HATED TO LOSE SUCH A VALUABLE HELPER.  WE G OT TWO NEW PYRENEES PUPS FROM DAVID CHILDERS IN GREENBRIER COUNTY,WV. LITTER MATE BROTHER AND SISTER, JACK AND JILL.  THEY WENT ON FULL TIME GUARD DUTY IN MAY 2017. THE COYOTES HAD HIT US LATE IN LAMBING, BEFORE THE PUPS WERE READY TO WORK. WE HOPE THE BALANCE OF POWER IS TIPPED IN OUR FAVOR NOW. OLD BLUE IS NOW IN CHARGE AND WE TRUST SHE WILL TEACH THE YOUNG DOGS HOW THINGS WORK.




      
             JACK                                                        JILL


                       
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