The Mule is one of the most common breeds of sheep in the UK. It’s a mongrel breed which owes much of its origins to the hill farms of Northern England.
It’s estimated that 50% of all the sheep kept in the UK are mules of one sort.
The Mule is a mixture of various sheep breeds, it’s not a pedigree animal. The goal of this combination was to produce good all-rounder which satisfies modern market demands. The father is always a Bluefaced Leicester – this allows the offspring to gain size power and prolificness from the father and then hardiness and mothering qualities from the hill ewe it’s crossed with
Some of the properties of the Mule include:
- They are good mothers – produce a decent quantity of milk and can raise two lambs easily.
- Lean fleshed – offspring produce the type of meat that’s wanted by the market. Namely, meat that is lean containing little or no fat.
- Early maturing – Mule lambs mature quickly. They also have a good feed to weight conversion ratio.
- Good foraging capability – Mule sheep can be kept in a variety of areas and different lambing systems. They do not need specific grass or feed type to do well.
- Has a good lambing percentage – it’s not uncommon for Mule sheep to reach lambing percentages of between 150% – 200%.
At the Sheep Fair this year we will have the following mule sheep on show:
North of England Mules