The North of England Mule
The success of the North of England Mule has assured its place throughout the country, but they are produced on the upland and hill farms of northern England.
This medium sized, cross-bred sheep is sired by a Bluefaced Leicester ram, a breed which is prolific, milky, lean fleshed and early maturing. The dam is a Swaledale or a Northumberland type Blackface, two breeds born and reared on the harsh northern fells and moors and noted for qualities of hardiness, thriftiness and longevity.
The hybrid vigour produced by crossing the contrasting pure breeds results in the Mule retaining the best qualities of both. The Mule ewe has an ability to produce and rear ample crops of lambs under any system including in-wintering. She will make the optimum use of food provided and will lamb with the minimum of attention to any breed of ram. Lamb crops from well bred Mule ewes average 175% - 200% and over 200% is not unusual in capable managed flocks. It is general practice to breed from the ewe lamb in its first year. Selectively bred for the specific purpose of becoming a top class mother of prime meat lambs, the Mule also produces a very useful and easily clipped fleece, good to handle and weighing well.
Lambs from the Mule by a Down or Continental type breed of sire give a first class carcass, at 17-22kg ideally suited to both home and continental markets. The superb mothering ability of the Mule offers an ease of shepherding remarkable in the production of prime lambs, a feature that has witnessed its rapid spread throughout the country.
The Mule wether lamb, like its sister has outstanding commercial advantages. Ranging over high land under a great variety of environments produces consistent quality lamb carcasses at acceptable weights that can be readily marketed over a long period (July- March). Noted for being an excellent finisher on grass, it has very good live weight gain and carcass realisation price.