Black Welsh Mountain are an easy to manage small breed with a natural resistance to diseases. They will graze well on rough grazing but are also happy on the lowlands or a smallholding.
They are prolific and undemanding, hardy and self-reliant. They produce premium quality, lean meat with an excellent meat to bone ratio and a full flavour.
The key attributes of the breed are:
- Excellent maternal characteristics
- Fast growth
- Easy keeping nature
- Quality meat
- Resistance to fly attack
- Resistance to foot infections and unsoundness
Taken together, these atributes make the Breed ideal for both the smallholder and the commercial producer.
Prolificacy and lambing
The ewes lamb confidently in the open and mortality rates are usually very low under normal management. Lambing usually takes place from February to March, with lambing percentages in the order of 175% per ewe throughout registered flocks with individual flocks recording percentages well over 200%.
The ewes have natural maternal qualities and milky, dedicated mothers. The new-born lambs are fast to their feet, quick to suckle and grow rapidly. Few breeds are more trouble-free at lambing time.
Hardiness and self-reliance are two outstanding features of the Breed. Many Black Welsh Mountain hill flocks taste no other food than short, upland grass yet they adapt well to improved, lowland management and feeding.
As profitable scavengers of rough, unploughable land and for parkland herbage control they stand second to none.
On lowland management they tend to attain a greater size of frame by generation and give heavier wool clips.
The breed produces premium quality meat. The grain is close and the bone is light with a very favourable meat to bone ratio.
The small joints, so popular today, are full of succulent, lean meat and with a minimum of wasteful fat. The meat is rich in colour and full of flavour. The major proportion of the weight is in the more valuable joints.
The breed has strong historical links with the Royal Smithfield Show, which date back to the 1920's and many successes have been scored at this show.
The finished lambs of the purebred average 14-19kg carcass weight and so are well-suited to present day demand. The average weight of a mature ewe would be around 45kg, with the average ram making 60-65kg.
The ewes cross well with meat producing rams for prime lamb production.
The wool is black, short, thick and firm to handle and it does not require dyeing.
It is most suitable for making-up into cloth which is durable, light and warm. When used with good quality white wool it blends into attractive checks and patterns. The USA, Canada and Japan have all shown special interest in the wool or home spinning and weaving. On several occasions the Breed has taken top honours in the Mountain and the Coloured Fleece classes at Shows.
Wool clip averages 1-2.5kg per fleece.
When cured, the rich, deep-pile black fleeced skins are in demand as floor rugs and chair backs.