Why Lleyn 

The Lleyn Breed


The Lleyn Breed

A medium-sized maternal sheep breed originating in the Lleyn Peninsula in North West Wales, almost unknown in the 1960s, but now widespread across the whole British Isles and beyond. The Lleyn Sheep Society was formed in 1971 and its dynamic promotion of this excellent breed has resulted in Lleyn being one of the most numerically important maternal breeds in the UK.

The success of the breed is well founded on the outstanding maternal qualities of the Lleyn ewe and the resulting productivity, efficiency and minimal environmental impact. All of these attributes are key to the future of the UK and Irish sheep industry.

Medium Sized and Easily Handled

The Lleyn ewe is smaller in size (65-85 kg) than other breeds used to produce prime lamb, but is capable of rearing more than her own body weight of lambs at 14 weeks. This enables a higher stocking rate to be achieved, maximising kg of lamb produced per Ha.

These medium-sized ewes are easily handled, are generally very docile and thrive under a variety of conditions.

Easy Lambing and Prolific

The breed is well known for its ease of lambing. Benchmarking surveys indicate that over 90% of lambing's occur with no assistance at all. The new family is quickly established with the milky ewe looking after her vigorous new born lambs.

Naturally prolific, 180-200% scanning and lambing is common.

Outstandingly Maternal and Productive

The Lleyn ewe mothers her new born lambs without any fuss, but with great enthusiasm, whether she is an older, experienced ewe or a ewe lamb lambing for the first time. She is an excellent milker and her lambs are remarkably quick getting to their feet and suckling, particularly important when lambing outside in less-than-perfect-weather conditions! Her long and productive lactation ensures that the lambs continue to thrive.

Efficient, with Low Environmental Impact

With the current climate change debate and the incentive to reduce methane emissions, Ewe Efficiency is of paramount importance. In this respect, the grass-fed Lleyn ewe really excels. Capable of rearing more than her body weight of lambs at 14 weeks and thriving under low input conditions (with minimal concentrate use), the Lleyn ewe’s efficiency is second to none. Being medium sized allows higher-than-normal stocking rates, more kg of lamb per Ha and, importantly, fewer methane emissions per kg of lamb produced. A true win/win situation.

The Lleyn Sheep Society has its own (simple-to-use) Ewe Efficiency Scheme (LLEYN GOLD), free to its members, enabling them to identify the most efficient ewes in their flocks, allowing retention of breeding ewe lambs from the best ewes and culling of the others. Very significant flock performance and efficiency gains can be seen in only 4 or 5 years.


Pure-bred, Cross-bred and Carcase Quality

The Lleyn ewe delivers outstanding maternal performance and efficiency, whether bred pure or crossed with any terminal sire. Pure-bred twins can be ready for slaughter at 14-16 weeks of age and with highly satisfactory carcases (R3L or better).

When crossed with a terminal sire, the cross-bred lambs grow and grade extremely well (typically Es and Us).

Hardy, Healthy and Long lived

Lleyn sheep are naturally hardy, healthy and durable. The versatility of the breed, performing successfully in a variety of environments and systems (lowland and upland), is well documented. Whether lambing outdoors or inside, and with minimal concentrate use, the ewes go on to rear their lambs efficiently and without fuss. The ewes are also durable and long-lived. Nine or ten year old ewes successfully rearing lambs are not uncommon.

Two other key attributes: (i) from the early days of the Society, MV Accreditation was considered important; almost all sheep sold at Society Sales are MV Accredited, (ii) analysis of ram DNA has shown that 85% of Lleyn are Scrapie Resistant (R1) and over 90% are R1 and R2).

Lleyn Rams

Lleyn rams are widely used for crossing on other breeds, particularly hill and upland breeds to increase lambing percentage of the resultant breeding ewes and to improve carcase quality. Lleyn rams have also been successfully used for the same reasons on commercial crossbreds with too-high terminal content.

Lleyn - The Ultimate Maternal Ewe

Network of Society Sales

The Network of Lleyn Sheep Society Sales around Great Britain, Northern Ireland and Eire means that no
potential breeder has to go too far to buy stock. However, there is another positive feature - a few years after buying foundation stock, the new breeder has an outlet to sell registered, pedigree stock of his/her own.

Stock to Suit Commercial and Pedigree Breeders

Lleyn Sheep Society Sales have quality stock to suit both commercial and pedigree breeders and this is reflected in the prices.
All Society Sales, except Builth Wells Ram Sale, have all classes of stock: Ewes, Ewe Lambs and Rams, including LLEYN GOLD and Signet Stock. Females are sold first in reverse age order, ie old
ewes, shearling ewes and ewe lambs. Most rams forward are shearlings, but some older rams are also sold throughout the draw.

Gold Standard

An inspection before the Sale should convince you of the high quality of stock on offer at a Lleyn Sheep Society Sale. If you want to get the Genuine Article, ie proper, registered Lleyn sheep, then a Lleyn Sheep Society Sale is the place to go. Despite this, prices are normally not significantly higher than those achieved at commercial sales - So, go to a Lleyn Sheep Society Sale and Buy the Genuine Article at the Right Price!

Buy with Confidence

You can have confidence in stock you buy at a Lleyn Sheep Society Sale. All stock are inspected pre-Sale for Health and Type. All rams have been inspected by the Society Ram Inspector and are licensed for life.
Some stock will have Posters indicating that they come from LLEYN GOLD flocks and some stock will have DNA Posters indicating that the animals have been DNA genotyped for specific characteristics (health, prolificacy, conformation)