Friday, June 2, 2006

Rare Black Welsh Mountain Sheep

Mr. Tom Wyman -- President (and Founder) of the American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Association and longtime resident of Maryland's Eastern Shore -- first introduced the rare Black Welsh Mountain breed to the United States in 1973, and he and his family continue to welcome new members of their flock each spring at their lovely Wye Heights Plantation just north of Easton, Maryland.

With a current worldwide Black Welsh Mountain population of approximately 9,000 sheep, these small and wonderfully personable all-black sheep are found in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. Our smaller North American population, whose own genetic basis has its origins thanks to Mr. Wyman's original importation of 16 Black Welsh Mountain sheep, numbers closer to 800 registered sheep, spread between nearly 50 small flocks located throughout the United States and Canada.

Since the late 1990s, the American Black Welsh Mountain Sheep Association and its member breeders have introduced three new UK genetic lines to Mr. Wyman's original two Black Welsh Mountain sire lines via the use of AI and UK champion Black Welsh Mountain frozen semen, thereby adding a healthy degree of genetic diversity to the existing North American population of Black Welsh Mountain sheep.

For more information on these wonderfully hardy but little-known sheep, please contact ABWMSA Secretary/Treasurer Oogie McGuire

Text and image submitted by Robin Morse, Bankside Farm, Washington State.

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