the best frocked flock in town.
The Leicester Longwool is one of the fabulous "luster longwool" breeds. So named because of their high-gloss shine and the length of their beutiful locks. Indeed, our sheep glow just after shearing. When the clean wool next to their skin catches the sunlight--- watch out! The sheen is so brillliant you'll want your shades!
Though modern-day handspinners wrestle each other to obtain these rare and gorgeous fleeces, the Leicester is actually an heirloom breed. Developed in England in the mid-1700's by an innovative breeder, Rober Bakewell was the first to use modern selection techniques to improve livestock breeds. This makes Leicesters the first modern, or improved, breed of livestock. Though listed as threatened by the LIvestock Conservancy, this wonderful breed has much to offer the small-scale shepherd. We love them for their calm temperaments, gorgeous wool, and tasty meat.
RoundAbout leicester longwool sheep >
A large framed, dual-purpose sheep carrying a heavy long-stapled fleece, the Leicester Longwool is a sturdy, efficient and adaptable breed. Making good use of marginal forages they can thrive in a wide variety of climatic conditions.
Rams average 250 lbs, and ewes 180 lbs. Ewes are good mothers giving plenty of rich milk, with a lambing percentage of 120-150% and higher in selected flocks.
Founding fathers George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both had large flocks of sheep and took pains to bring in good Leicester rams from England to improve their stock.World travelers, Leicester Longwools have been exported to mainland Europe, North and South America, Australia and New Zealand.
In 1826 the Leicester Longwool was one of the first pure breeds to be imported into Australia. Today it is known there as the "English Leicester," and is valued as a crossing sire to improve the carcass qualities of finewool breeds.During the late 19th and early 20th century the Leicester gradually fell out of favor as it was replaced by newer breeds. By the 1930's it was nearly extinct in North America.
In 1990, after a long search for a correct breed of 18th century sheep, the Coach and Livestock Department of Colonial Williamsburg imported 10 purebred Leicester Longwools from Tasmania. With the help of third generation Leicester breeder, Ivan Heazlewood, a flock from a variety of bloodlines was assembled and transported to Virginia. Through careful breeding, a satellite flock program and later with private flocks the numbers have grown. Importations of semen from New Zealand, Australia and England have expanded the genetic diversity of the breed and introduced colored fleeced animals.
Today it's classified as "rare" by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, but is enjoying a revival of interest due to the wonderful lustrous fleece and other desirable traits.
Our Breeding Program
At RoundAbout Farm, we aim to produce healthy, beautiful animals with even, gentle temperaments. Our Leicesters are handled daily, sheered twice a year, fed high-quality food, fenced safely, and loved to pieces. And it shows in our babies! You will never regret opening your home and heart to a RoundABout Leicester Longwool.
Like it raw? >
Raw Leicester Longwool fleece
Handspinners and crafters love our fleece for its curl, soft handle and lustrous beauty.
The wool dyes exceptionally well, maintaining the purity of color and the natural luster still shines through.
We have both white, "English" blue, and black.
Example of Mr. Big's fleece after washing.
Example of that same fleece as roving.
Example of our first time spinning Mr. Big's fleece into yarn.