26 May 2009

Fabrice and one of our new Basco Bearnaise lambs

We got these sheep as a gift from two women farmers from the Pyrénées who came to Bourrou several months ago with the promise of taking over a farm from a retiring farmer.

They packed and stored their belongings and transported their tractor and farming equipment along with with their herd of 150 pregnant sheep on to their newly rented farm, hoping to start commercial milk production in the spring of this year.

After two months and for reasons known only to himself, the farmer changed his mind, sold his barn and rented his land to someone else. Threatened with expulsion, the girls had no choice but to dry off their ewes, keep the herd off the spring grazing and keep them inside in cramped and unhealthy conditions for several weeks while searching for somewhere to put them.

In desperation, they came to ask for our help and fortunately we found them enough land and a barn on an exploitation just a few kilometres from their temporary accommodation near our farm.

Basco Bearnaise lamb's faceThe girls have managed to sell some adults in their herd and almost all the lambs have gone for meat but these two little females from exceptionally good stock were bottle fed and it seems criminal to kill them.

They are big lambs - these two are just over two months old and, with a strange "Roman" face and a good appetite for milk! (We're still bottle feeding for a while to get them used to us.)

The Basco Béarnaise originated in South West of France, they're a good all-round breed and give milk for cheese, meat and wool and they've been designated a HERITAGE breed.

Heritage Sheep Breeds (HSBs) are defined as genetically distinct, geographically concentrated and adapted to their environments.
Basco Bearnaise lamb from the sideTypically, these sheep breeds are "local" breeds, traditionally farmed for commercial use and play an important role in the culture and rural economy of the regions in which they are managed.

Heritage Sheep Breeds are already used to support the environmental and economic sustainability of local rural communities and may reasonably be expected to become even more significant in agriculture in the community as low input farming systems are prioritised. In addition, with the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), breeds such as HSBs that are environmentally adapted to their local geographical regions will become even more important given the de-coupling of subsidies from production, with increased focus on the environmental status of agricultural holdings.

We've called the very white one Juliette and the bigger one Coco and we're hoping they'll do well enough to provide us with milk for cheese next year, I've already started Googling for recipes !


Jamie Sandford said...


My name is Jamie Sandford and I run a regional website about the Languedoc Roussillon - www.frenchentree.com/languedoc

My wife and I, Greca, do our best to create as comprehensive a site about the region as we can. Having recently started reading a few blogs I thought it would be great for our readers to have a resource of the best blogs in the region and France. We would like to add your blog to the list if you are happy for us to do so.

If you like what we are trying to achieve with our site, we would be very grateful if you could add a link to us somewhere on your blog.

Please let me know if you would like your blog to be included.

Kind regards,


jaz said...

oooohhhh...i love those sheep. what a wonderful reward for your generosity! i hope you get enough milk to make cheese.

MrsL said...

Ah, they're lovely! I have sheep envy. Again. LOL


bobo creek said...

dear hwh and fabrice,
i am in love with your blog! i have looked at so many similar blogs as we have endured the protracted purchasing of our dream property in nsw, australia (it's still not quite ours) and of all i've read it is yours that i would most seek to emulate. congratulations on the inspiration you have obviously been to so many, as well as your generosity in sharing your lifestyle and all its joys and sorrows.
kind regards,

detroit dog said...

Yay! Such cute sheep. I look forward to reading about your cheese-making.

Val Grainger said...

We don't have these sheep in GB....if we did there would be no stopping me.....they are lovely!

Mouse said...

Darn it! I have a lovely collection of books on cheese-making over at my house in Brittany! If I were nearer I could send you a few, as it is I am stuck in the UK. Is this another reason, after a day from hell in the corporate cage, to cut my losses and return to France, or am I just desperately seeking signs?

Anonymous said...

We have just moved to 10acres of bliss just up the road - these look fab. May consider getting a couple some time in the future!

Kind regards

La Ferme de Sourrou said...

Jamie, of course you can add my blog to your list ! :-)

Thanks for your comments Jaz, MrsL, and bobo creek, Detroit Dog and Val. It's always nice to come in and see who's been looking at what we're up to.

Mouse - shame you can't get away, is there nothing you can do to escape ? - not just for the books bien sur !

Anita, you mean "Just up the road" from us - in Bourrou ?

Attends said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Jill said...

What a beautiful farm and what delightful pictures. I peruse your blog with daydreams of visiting your area some day.
Thank you for sharing your daily life with us. We who are city bound love to see it!
Jill B.
San Diego, CA. USA

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