Foot Flats Farm - Amherst Island, Ontario, Canada Sheep at Foot Flats Farm

At Foot Flats Farm we run a commercial flock of over 1500 ewes. The ewes are half Coopworth, quarter Border Cheviot, quarter Romanov. Coopworth for their easy-care lambing, good foraging ability, good mothering and lambing percentage, Romanov for their high fertility, good feet and udders and overall toughness and Border Cheviot for their easy-care, excellent foraging ability with great feet, udders and muscling.

Our philosophy is based on the New Zealand style easy-care, low labour and input system with an emphasis on matching the ewe’s production requirements to seasonal grass growth (hence the use of New Zealand Coopworths).

Mark and his dogs move a mob of sheep along the south shore.

Our sheep breeding program and selection process of the last 20 years is now paying dividends. Footflats Easy-Care Composite Ewes are giving results comparable to the those of the composites developed in New Zealand with the additional benefit that our sheep have been selected to do well under Canadian conditions (harsh winters and dry summers).

As Coopworths are no longer available in Canada we are importing fresh Coopworth bloodlines from New Zealand by semen importation this year with the added benefit of the parasite resistance that they have been selecting for and measuring for 20 years. The term "easy care" was coined in New Zealand over 40 years ago to denote ewes that required NO intervention in the lambing and mothering up process. Selection against ewes requiring assistance was and still must be rigorous so that large numbers of sheep can be looked after with a low labour input.

The ewes are all lambed on pasture in May. Despite our long winters the concept of matching lambing to grass growth applies as strongly here as in New Zealand for building a consistently profitable system.

The selection process for our replacement ewe lambs is rigorous and as a personal philosophy we will not sell ewe lambs for breeding stock unless we would be prepared to keep them ourselves. Ewes must raise lambs as Hoggets (i.e. at a year old). If we have to assist any ewe with lambing or mothering up, she and her offspring will be subsequently culled. If their foot conformation is poor they are culled. We do not have to trim feet. We do not select replacement ewe lambs from a ewe until she is lambing in the flock for the second time and has therefore proved her worth over two lambing seasons.

Our first time lambing ewes are mated to Border Cheviot rams. The smaller lambs and their vigour at birth are advantages for the young ewes and the offspring grow into a small, well-muscled carcass that suits the ethnic market. We run a small flock of 80 purebred non-registered Border Cheviot ewes to produce our Border Cheviot rams and we do have rams for sale. For prices and more information, please contact us.