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Border Leicester Sheep

Ashley Bates

You might have seen Border Leicester sheep back in the day on the 1995 hit movie Babe. In the film, Border Leicesters debuted as the farm sheep listening to a talking, sheep-herding pig. But that’s not the only reason Border Leicesters are popular among owners.

These sheep have calm personalities, desirable wool, plentiful meat, and decent milk production. Their versatility makes them a no-brainer pick—it’s a flock you’ll want to have on your property. Let’s learn more about these broad-faced, bold sweethearts.

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Quick Facts about Border Leicester Sheep

Species Name: Ovis aries
Family name: Bovidae
Care Level: Intermediate
Temperature: Most climates
Temperament: Calm, docile
Color Form: White, black nose
Lifespan: 13 years
Size: 200-380 pounds
Diet: Feed, hay, plant matter
Minimum Land: 6-10 sheep per acre
Shelter Set-Up: Windbreak
Compatibility: Moderate

Border Leicester Overview

Border Leicester Sheep
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Border Leicester sheep were originally of British descent, but they’ve since expanded their reach. It’s said George Washington brought Border Leicester’s to America to live in small flocks on the farm.

By the 1940s, wool production decreased drastically because of industrialization and modern advancements. After that, we didn’t require sheep as much for their wool. However, thanks to master crafters, the interest in sheep’s wool reemerged in the 1970s—and they have been on the rise ever since.

You can find them in small flocks across America today. They also pop up all over the globe in Australia, Japan, and several countries throughout Europe.

Border Leicester sheep also serve as a meat source and, in some cases, offer milk supply.

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How Much Do Border Leicester Cost?

If you purchase one Border Leicester, you can expect to pay roughly $300 per ewe. The final cost will depend on quality and circumstance. Since sheep are flock-minded animals, you should have at least five.

You also have to consider overall care costs, which run about $200 annually per ewe.

Typical Behavior & Temperament

Border Leicester ewes are known for their docile, friendly nature and their outstanding maternal instincts. They take excellent care of their young during pregnancy and beyond—giving birth to very healthy party fast-growing lambs.

Border Leicesters are quite smart as far as sheep are concerned. They seem to take direction well and display obedience and compliance.

They make excellent candidates for 4H projects and showing because they are easy to manage.

Appearance & Varieties

Border Leicester sheep are one of the largest long-wooled varieties, ranking third. They have a distinct black Roman nose with white wool, and their ears stand short and alert.

The Border Leicester has a broad, muscular frame. They are sturdy, capable, and healthy to boot.

Because of the Border Leicester’s desirable traits, breeders have used the breed several times to create many crossbreeds.

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How to Take Care of Border Leicester Sheep

Caring for your flock of Border Leicester sheep use does not have to be a daunting task. If you familiarize yourself with the type of environment, shelter, care, and interaction they require, the rest should follow easily.

Habitat, Setup, Shelter

Environment

Sheep spend 8 hours per day grazing. They will need plenty of space with lots of lush grasses and shrubbery to snack on.

Enclosure

Border Leicester sheep need lots of room to roam. For a flock of up to 10 sheep, you will need to have at least one acre of land. Increase these numbers depending on how many sheep you end up buying.

Shelter

Sheep can live in open spaces as long as they have some shelter to get out of the elements. You can use a windbreak or overhead shelter that is not enclosed. Or if you so choose, you can wrangle up the troops and take them into the barn every night.

Bedding

You can essentially use a selection of options when choosing a type of bedding. However, commonly the cheapest and easiest option is traditional straw. It’s easy to clean and change—plus it keeps them warm and comfy.

Do Border Leicesters Get Along with Other Pets?

Being flock animals, Border Leicesters get along perfectly with their flock mates.

Because of the Border Leicester’s calm demeanor, they will likely get along with just about any animals they grew up with. That includes other types of livestock and domesticated household animals.

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What to Feed Your Border Leicester

If you were raising a flock of Border Leicesters, you would want to make sure that you’re giving them all of the plentiful nutrition they require. Especially if you will be breeding or milking the sheep, you will need to make sure that their diets are rich and fatty omega-3 acids and plant proteins.

As adults, you can also feed your Border Leicesters feed and hay. These sheep need less feed than other breeds since they get most of their nutrients fresh in the field.

Border Leicester Sheep in the shed
Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Keeping Your Border Leicester Healthy

Regular care is essential to the success of your flock. Because sheep live in multiples, if one of them gets a disease or illness, it can spread like wildfire throughout the flock, posing deadly risks for all members. Vaccinations and check-ups are wonderful preventatives to avoid unwanted health issues.

Sheep need their hooves trimmed every 6 to 10 weeks. The frequency does slow down as they age.

Sheep can be quite vulnerable, so keeping your flock safe from predators is equally essential to the health of your sheep. Make sure any fencing is secure and hole-free. Each square needs to be small enough to contain the sheep and prevent intruders.

Breeding

Border Leicester sheep are revered for their wonderful mothering instincts. This makes breeding a breeze.

Ewes sexually mature between six to eight months. Their gestation periods are roughly 150 days. While a ewe can become pregnant more than once a year, it is less likely.

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Are Border Leicester Suitable For You?

If you seek a flock that is easy to maintain and exceptionally financially productive, these sheep are a prize-winning pick. They will give back what you put in. However, owning a flock of sheep won’t work for just any situation. You have to make sure your home and land are suitable first.


Featured Image Credit: Pixabay

Ashley Bates

Ashley Bates is a freelance dog writer and pet enthusiast who is currently studying the art of animal therapy. A mother to four human children— and 23 furry and feathery kids, too – Ashley volunteers at local shelters, advocates for animal well-being, and rescues every creature she finds. Her mission is to create awareness, education, and entertainment about pets to prevent homelessness. Her specialties are cats and dogs.