Molly the Mule Sheep (Glamorgan Welsh ewe x Blue Face Leicester) is this weeks PONT Grazer of the Week. She is part of the herd of Welsh Mountain Sheep (various breeds, mainly Sennybridge Cheviots) that grazes RSPB Ramsey Island.
Molly was the first ever molly lamb when RSPB started lambing on Ramsey in 2008. She lambed up until 2015 and is now ‘in retirement’ but still going strong at 11 years old. Molly is a great help in showing stubborn new ewes the way when they refuse to listen to the dog!
The 2 island staff do all the shepherding. Site Manager Greg and Warden Lisa had no farming experience when they first came to the island and trained under local farmer Derek Rees for the first 2 years. Since then they have done all the lambing and husbandry themselves, apart from shearing. (calling on Derek for help in emergencies!). They couldn’t do any of this without their trusty Border Collie, Dewi, who Greg trained as a pup using DVD’s and text books!
The sheep graze on the island primarily for the benefit of chough, but also to keep the SSSI acid grassland in good condition. Chough rely on short, grazed swards on which to access their soil invertebrate prey. Ramsey is one of the most important sites for chough in Wales. At just 242 ha it is home to up to 11 pairs of chough. To put this in context there are approx. 75 pairs in Pembrokeshire, 250 in Wales and 400 in the UK. This rare member of the crow family is at the northern edge of it’s range in the UK and confined to the western side of the country (Cornwall, Wales, Isle of Man, NI and the western isles of Scotland).
Would you like to show off your grazing animals? You can enter your animals for the chance to feature as ‘Grazer of the Week’ by using #grazeroftheweek and tagging @pontcymru on Instagram and Facebook. Tell us a bit about you and your animals, we love to hear your stories.
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Contact us if you have a site that needs conservation grazing.