The Gotland and Wensleydale sheep
Dover Farm is home to a flock of over 75 Gotland and Wensleydale sheep. Known for their friendly and curious natures, Gotlands and Wensleydales are a growing presence in the North American fibre sheep community. Dover Farm is a proud to contributor to the development of Gotland sheep in North America and is committed to excellence in breeding stock and bloodlines.
Originally from Sweden and a member of the Northern European Short-Tailed Family, the Gotland is the modern descendent of the ancient Gute (Gutefar) sheep. Today's Gotland is a member of the Lustre Long Wools, which includes breeds such as the Teeswater, Wensleydale and Blue Face Leicester, and is known for producing remarkably fine fleece with beautiful lustre.
Gotland colours range through the gray scale, from silver to charcoal with subtle shading within the fleece. Locks are long (3-7 inches) and lustrous with a strong wavy crimp. Gotland fleece is known for its incredible softness in relation to micron counts that fall between 29 and 34 for adults and in the low to mid 20s for a lamb. Dover Farm's use of Finnsheep (see below) as a foundation breed produces Gotland fleeces with micron counts in the mid to high 20s.
Dover Farm is a member of American Gotland Sheep Society and follows their established breeding standards. Finnsheep were used as the foundation breed for developing their Gotland bloodlines. Dover Farm is proud to use Gotland rams from Martin Dally, who first imported Gotland semen to North America.
Dover Farm offers Gotland breeding stock, as well as a limited supply of whethers. Please contact Dover Farm for more information.
THE WENSLEYDALE SHEEP The Wensleydales were a new addition to Dover Farm in the fall of 2017, when two ewes were brought in from Oregon, with two more ewes and a ram coming from Nova Scotia. In the spring of 2018 five more ewes and two more rams were brought in from Washington and Oregon States.
Wensleydale sheep originate from the Wensleydale area in North Yorkshire, where today the rams are used in crossbreeding programs, to produce fast growing market lambs, as well as high quality wool. Here in North America they are highly sought after for their lusterous, long, curly locks that fibre artists and dollmakers adore. On Dover Farm, we have both white and coloured Wensleydales.
The Wensleys have been a great addition to the farm and although they may not be quite as inquisitive and friendly as the Gotlands, they have made their mark with their strong personalities and opinions!
Quality care creates quality Fleece
The Shepherd and the Hand Spinner both believe that to create a high quality fleece, a sheep must be both happy and healthy. Dover Farm sheep live a free range life on 63 acres of managed pastures that encompass both certified organic and chemical free fields. Pastures are maintained through careful rotational grazing, regular mowing and the application of manure as fertilizer.
The flock is protected from natural predators by Bess and Bella, the farm's 2 Maremma dogs, who live with the sheep year round.