Wiltshire sheep, also known as the Wiltshire Horn and Wiltshire Pole, are a breed of sheep bred for their meat. The breed originated in Wiltshire in England and are sometimes called the Wiltshire Horn as both male and females bear horns. Our sheep are Wiltshire Pole as their horns have been bred out of this line of Wiltshire sheep. During the eighteenth century, Wiltshire sheep roamed free on the Wiltshire Downs, fertilising the wheat with their urine and dung. Now, they are used widely for meat production around the world as unlike most sheep, they do not need to be sheared. Every spring, Wiltshire sheep will naturally moult their coats, making them a cost-effective, low maintenance sheep breed. They typically rub against the fences and established farm trees to remove their wool as the weather gets warmer.
At Green Olive at Red Hill, we have a small flock of Wiltshire sheep consisting of 15 females (ewes) and one male (ram). Last August, Sue’s father, vet Peter Hardy, delivered two little lambs that are now healthy sheep and adjusting well to life on the farm. In 2010, after we had planted the vineyard, we noticed that the grass was growing in the mid rows of both the vineyard and the olive grove so we thought we could use some “lawn mowers”… a.k.a sheep! Growing up on a farm with carpet wool sheep, Sue was used to shearing sheep, but Sue and Greg thought that shearing a flock of sheep on a small farm like Green Olive at Red Hill would be too big a job. So they decided that the right choice for them were Wiltshires who “shear” themselves and produce great quality meat for tapas dishes. They are also known to have twins which is great for the small holding of Green Olive at Red Hill. As the business has become busier, the sheep spend less time in the vineyard and olive grove and instead predominately graze below the house and in the bush. Our sheep are all ear aged with our property identification code and colour coded for the year they were born which meets the government livestock regulations. This is the way we provide safe meat for the Australian consumer.
Here are some photos of our 2019 lambs:
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