There are several different breeds of sheep at Mayfields.
The Norfolk Horn is an ancient breed with a long historical connection with Norfolk. The Old Norfolk Horn sheep were longer legged and lighter bodied than the modern type, but they were very thrifty and able to look after themselves, surviving on poor grazing. Both sexes have horns, although these are larger in the male.
The breed almost became extinct in the 1950s but was saved by careful breeding using the last few animals with some input from the Suffolk breed (the Suffolk was developed from the Norfolk Horn and the Southdown) and were said to have had particularly well flavoured meat.
Black Welsh Moutain
Originating from the uplands in Wales, Welsh Moutain sheep come with a variation of both black and white wool, which is short and dense. The Black Welsh Mountain is a small, hardy sheep which is effective for maintainance and/or restoration grazing, and will maintain condition on even low quality forage.
The Scottish Blackface is a small hardy sheep that come from the hills and mountains of Scotland. They are all horned, with black or black and white face and legs. The fleece should be free of black fibre and can vary from short, fine wool used for carpets and tweeds to strong coarse wool, which is sold mainly for the Italian mattress trade.
The Scottish Blackface are excellent for dog training, especially for more advanced dogs.
Although the Shetland is one of the smallest British breeds, it is a hardy and thrifty sheep, often noted for its fine, soft wool, which sheds naturally in the spring. The wool comes in range of colours, thus elimiating the need for dyeing. From the Shetland Islands of Scotland, the Shetland is thought to have evolved from Viking settlers, and is therefore considered a primitive breed today. It is ideal for conservation grazing as it is a versatile forager.
The Hebridean was originally a four-horned sheep, however two-horns have now more commonly come to dominate the breed. As a prime native breed from the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, until recently it was considered endangered. Formally known as St. Kilda sheep, the Rare Breeds Surivial Trust (RBST) formalised the breed specification and renamed it Hebridean. The modern Hebridean has black coarse wool, which often becomes grey with age. It is a hardy breed, and particularly effective for scrub control.
The Cheviot sheep is white faced and gets its name from the Cheviot hills that it grazes on the Scottish border. It is expected to live off the hill throughout the year, and was recognised for its durability as early as the 14th century. It is a dual-purpose breed, being raised commericially primarily for meat and wool.
The Ryeland is one of the oldest of British sheep, going back seven centuries to when the monks of Leominster in Herefordshire bred sheep and grazed them on the rye pastures and stubbles, giving them their name. They are one of the breeds used to introduce the poll gene (no horns) to the Dorset breed in the development of the Poll Dorset. These sheep are very similar to the Southdowns. They were much prized for the quality of their wool. They are placid sheep and very useful for starting young dogs.