Sheep are the main enterprise of the farm. Over the thirty years that we have kept sheep at South Clunes we have altered and adapted our operation to the changing technologies and breeds. Originally there was Cheviot Hirsel, which we took on with the farm. Gradually we moved into the HI health, abortion free, Highland Mules.
Over the following fifteen years we developed into becoming a self contained flock of 700 Texel cross ewes and 300 Suffolk cross ewes.
Currently we lamb our ewes indoors however we aim to create a more natural and selective system in which all lambing happens outdoors. To achieve this we have brought in four Romney Tups to increase the prolificacy and lambing ability of the ewe flock. We begin lambing outside with just a small percentage of stock in 2020 and look forward to seeing the results.
We breed all our own replacement ewe lambs. All lambs that are not kept for replacements are sold in the Dingwall Auction Mart Prime lamb sale every Tuesday. They are sold fat (40/45kg) and live to the highest bidder on the day. This traditional selling has always been the way at Clunes. The majority of the lambs are fattened off grass alone, the remainder are finished through the winter on kale, turnips and a locally produced barley mix.
At the start we had one dog, now there are seven dogs on the farm for moving and managing the sheep. Different dogs are specialized for different jobs. We carry Huntaways, which were bred in New Zealand for moving stock as they bark on demand. We also carry Collie dogs, original from the Scottish borders. They can round up sheep over a wide area and are trained to bring them back in a single mob. We periodically have pups for sale that we try to distribute to good working homes. What the dogs can do is absolutely amazing. We encourage you to come and see them hard at work on a Farm Visit here at South Clunes Farm.