Valais Blacknose Sheep were in the "wouldn't it be cool to one day get some..." long before we even landed on the farm. And I thought they'd stay there for a good while.
We had our Southdown Babydoll ewes and were working on how to best incorporate them into the vineyard. We'd also brought on a ram (our dear Gordon Ramsay), more ewe lambs, and some wethers (nonproductive males), and had a plan to gradually grow our flock. We were getting ready for our first breeding season and also talking about whether or not we'd purchase new lambs from other farms or just work with what we had.
Then, on a Tuesday afternoon in September, Trefor joked that maybe we should get a donkey. I can't remember if there was a specific donkey that needed to be re-homed, or if it was just a random cute miniature donkey video on Facebook, because my mind went straight to another livestock post I had seen that morning.
Dreamwinds Farm, which I followed solely for cute sheep photos, had posted that they had a little flock looking for fresh pastures. Within about 48 hours, "wouldn't it be cool one day" turned into "four sheep and their guardian llama are on their way!"
Admittedly, Hope, Gabi, Gulliver, and Ivan aren't pure Valais Blacknose Sheep (those are only just becoming a reality in Canada), but they are part of what's called a "breed-up program" that aims to introduce the Swiss breed, known as the cutest sheep in the world, into Canada.
Hope, Gabi, and Gulliver are F1s: 50 per cent Valais Blacknose and 50 per cent Scottish Blackface (the "foundation" breed that started this flock). Ivan is an F2, so 75 per cent Valais Blacknose.