All Saints Valais Blacknose Sheep of Middle Tennessee
("The cutest sheep in the world," y'all!)
Ruminations on faith, our flock, & following the Good Shepherd
About Valais Blacknose Sheep & The ASV Breed-up Program
The Valais Blacknose Sheep have a long history (to the 15th century!) of being a mountaintop breed. While we’re breeding-up to the Swiss standards here in the USA, the VBN originated in the remote villages of the Upper Valais region of Switzerland where they’re suited to harsh mountain terrain and extreme weather conditions. They’re masters at climbing steep, rocky slopes thanks to their sturdy, straight legs, sure-footed gait, and a hardiness that surpasses many other breeds. In Switzerland, they spend the summer in alpine pastures grazing on grass and wild herbs, and are shepherded to the lower region of the Valais in the winter. Our rolling hills here in Middle Tennessee can’t compare with Swiss alps, but our sheep still manage to find their own mountaintop experiences. It’s lovely to see their nature and genetics express themselves, whether it’s on a bulldozed mound of gravel, atop a mounting block, or simply by choosing to graze upon the highest knoll in our pastures. You won't find sweeter, more gentle companions to add to your farm--they don't call them "paddock puppies" for nothing! :) We started our VBN breed-up program with four F2 ewes (vs. starting from scratch with foundation ewes, aka "F"). There's plenty of good information out there on the breed-up program in general, but the short course is as follows:
First generation is a F1 (50% Valais), second generation is a F2 (75% Valais), third generation is a F3 (88% Valais), fourth generation is a F4 (94% Valais), and the fifth generation is a F5 (97% Valais). Ewes can be registered as domestic purebreds at the F4 level, while rams must attain a level of F5. As you can see from the photo below of our "Josie" -- even at F2, you'll start to see a lot of the Valais "look" (and personality!) coming through!
Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or just want to chat about "the cutest sheep in the world!" We're happy to share our journey with you!