skip to Main Content

A second generation breeder of coloured sheep

By Mistelle Jack

I grew up on the outskirts of town, and by that I mean town was on one side and paddocks were over the back fence! My parents came from two different parts of the country; Dad grew up with the beautiful botanicals and English gardens of Christchurch, and Mum the rugged back country and outdoors of Kaikoura.

I remember when it first began…. I was about 11 years old when a family friend dropped off an orphan lamb one night and my mother nursed it through till morning. ‘Lucky’ we called her as she was lucky to be alive. When Lucky was too big for the back yard we had to find her a place to live. From these humble beginnings I found myself feeding lambs in my teens and watching my mum grow her flock of sheep on a lifestyle block we eventually ‘had’ to purchase to keep them all! Some were for meat and others were for their fleece colours. I learned which ones suited the land and the weather: in Dunedin it can get quite wet in winter, so good feet are important for low maintenance; which breeds were easier to handle, we had one merino ewe who, when fully pregnant, would clear the yards from standing still – she wasn’t a keeper! We also tried alpacas and I had a pet goat called Clementine.

Growing up I think I was more passively involved with the animals, but I could clearly see the work and progress my mother was making with her flock, improving the overall frame of the animal, selecting of rams for either stature, colour of wool, handle of fleece etc. It was obvious to see the improvements over time. After a couple of house moves and some poor health her flock was reduced to just four ewes. In this time, I had grown up, been to university, lived and worked overseas and returned home again. I was now looking for my own turangawaewae, and having never felt settled with a city job and living in the concrete jungle, it didn’t surprise me that I was longing for the land. For me it represented family, community and purpose. So, the remaining lucky ladies were purchased a five acre paddock just up off the Taieri Plains in 2017 and a new generation of lifestyle farmer was begun.

As I still work in the city, it has been a blessing to have the support of my mum and all her knowledge, a family friend who is an agriscientist, a retired sheep farmer from the Maniototo (who at 83 built my yards) and spending time with the other the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders in the area. Although I am only starting on my journey it has been full of adventure and learning. I look forward to sharing some more adventures with you soon…..

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top