Bluefaced Leicesters and Border Leicesters are two of the three modern Leicester breeds Leicester-breed sheep originated in the 1700s with Robert Bakewell’s research into improving strains of animals, developing what we now know as “breeds.” Prior to his pioneering work, many farmers bred animals according to personal lore or random chance. Bakewell’s improved Leicester was the progenitor of the Border Leicester, Bluefaced Leicester and Leicester Longwool.
The Bluefaced Leicester is a distinctive sheep with a strong roman nose and black skin under white fur, creating a “blue” hue to the face. Used primarily for improving size, width, prolificacy and general conformation in Britain’s hill breeds, the Bluefaced Leicester excels as a crossing sire to create ewe offspring with the ruggedness of their Highland dams and the better frame and lamb production of their sires. The Bluefaced Leicester adds width, strength and finer wool in almost every cross with another breed. It has an almost exaggerated conformation with wide-set front legs, a broad, long back, long neck, and wide hips and hind legs. The first BFLs I got were half again wider and longer than my existing mixed-breed flock.
What I love about the Bluefaced Leicester is the size and grace of the animal and the fine, delightful wool it produces. The Blue is a fine dual-purpose animal in its ability to make fine meat and desirable wool simultaneously. That’s harder to find than you’d think.
Our Bluefaced Leicester flock is sourced from several premier Midwestern flocks. We began our flock a ram and ewes from Pitchfork Ranch in Michigan and Smiling Sheep Farm in New Hampshire. Our first adult ram came from Beechtree Farm in Michigan. In 2017, we received a handsome new ram lamb Terra Mia Farm in Oregon, with exciting lines from Jared Lloyd’s SonCroft Farm in Colorado.
This year, we’ve added some new lines from Ohio, including sheep with parentage from Lisa Rodenfels’ famous and now-dispersed Somerhill flock. These sheep epitomize my conformation goals for the flock, and Lisa has been a valuable mentor to me as I start my BFL journey. We purchased additional ewes from BlueLand Farm in Maryland, from Sharon and Bill O’Donnell in Ohio, from Bernhardt Family Farm in Ohio, and from Anne Bisdorf at Wool’n’Wood farm.
For everyone interested in breeding stock: We are building our flock for the next few years and will have very limited numbers of ewes available. We are most able to offer rams, non-registered ewes and BFL/Border crossbred ewes. If you are interested in breeding stock of any kind, get in touch using the form below and we will see what we can do for you. We have contacts who may have more BFL and Border Leicesters available and we are happy to make referrals.