Trial & Error Acres

Scotch Mules

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 A stylish 3 month old Scotch Mule ewe lamb

 

Note:  We no longer produce Scotch Mules at Trial & Error Acres,

but please read on for information about this unique sheep breed.

   A recent addition to the breeding program at Trial & Error Acres is the production of Mules (commercial crossbred ewes).  The term "mule" (when it refers to sheep) is used for an intentionally produced crossbred sheep that is sired by a Bluefaced Leicester ram.  In the United Kingdom, Mule ewes are the backbone of the commercial sheep industry.  The various types of Mules are the most popular commercial ewes in the UK, and the Bluefaced Leicester is the number one crossing sire there.  The most widely used BFL sired crossbreds are the Scotch Mule, out of Scottish Blackface ewes; the North of England Mule, out of Swaledale or Northumberland ewes; the Welsh Mule, out of Welsh Hill or Welsh Mountain ewes;  and the Cheviot Mule, out of North Country Cheviot ewes.  There are other purebred ewes in the UK that are being used for producing mules (i.e.: Clun Mules, Dalesbred Mules, etc.), but on a smaller scale.

 

    

SBF ewe with her 3 month old Mule lamb

 

    At Trial & Error Acres, we have chosen Scottish Blackface ewes to cross with our Bluefaced Leicester rams to produce Scotch Mule lambs.  We feel that Scottish Blackface ewes offer many advantages, primarily their hardiness and ability to successfully rear their lambs with little intervention from the shepherd.  Also, we prefer the appearance of the Scotch Mules, and their fleeces are nice enough to market profitably.  The Scotch Mule ewe lambs produced at Trial & Error will be retained to be later bred to a Texel ram, for the purpose of producing prime lamb. 

 

A Scotch Mule ewe with Texel sired lambs

 

    The advantages of the Mule as a commercial ewe are many, and the Bluefaced Leicester imparts many highly desirable qualities in his crossbred daughters.   The Mule ewe will have improved maternal qualities such as early maturity, increased prolificacy, improved milk production, more capacity, in addition to hybrid vigor. 

 

SBF ewe with her 3 month old Mule lamb

 

A well grown 3 month old Scotch Mule ewe lamb

 

Scottish Blackface ewe and Scotch Mule lamb

 

A flock of Scotch Mule ewes in the UK

(photo by Brenda Lelli)

 

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This site was last updated 01/17/10