What Is a Heritage Breed?

Heritage breeds are traditional livestock breeds raised by farmers in the past, before the rise of industrial agriculture (factory farming) caused a drastic reduction in breed variety. In the past 15 years, 190 breeds of farm animals have gone extinct worldwide, and there are currently 1,500 others at risk of being wiped out. Within the last ten years alone, 60 breeds of cattle, goats, pigs, horses and poultry have become extinct.

There were around 150 registered Shropshire sheep in Canada when Montana Jones established the Wholearth Shropshire flock in 2001 to ensure this important heritage breed would survive. With perseverance and dedication by a growing number of breeders, they will one day flourish in Canada again. The Wholearth flock pedigrees trace back to 1882 when the first British imports arrived from England.  John Miller and his descendants had a tremendous influence on the purebred livestock industry in Canada and the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries. The Millers were renowned innovators, importers, breeders, exhibitors, judges and promoters of Shorthorn cattle, Clydesdale horses, Berkshire and Yorkshire pigs, and Leicester and Cotswold sheep as well as Shropshires. Montana wrote a Shropshire history called  “A Likeable Sheep” which describes how Hugh Miller’s last surviving male became her foundation ram.

If you would like to help conserve rare heritage livestock while raising a beautiful sheep—look no further than the Shropshire. They’ve been dubbed “Easy Keepers” because their docility, sound constitution, extreme hardiness, prolificacy, and longevity, enables efficient flock management that involves minimal time and effort. Ewes make excellent mothers and have abundant milk, easily rearing energetic twin and triplet lambs for many years, often past the age of ten. Lambing percentage ranges from 170 to 200%.

10 thoughts on “Conservation

  1. my heart breaks for what you and your sheep have been through! watching the video and reading the story left me in tears. what these people did is an abomination, cruel and disgusting. I pray you and your farm see better days very soon! Keep your chin up, your story has touched many hearts!!!

    1. I totally agree i was so touched i feel for Shropshire sheep farm owner i cried there is so many cruel people out there. and those people have no heart at all .your in my prayers and i hope you get it all bk hugs..and good luck.

  2. I saw your video through facebook. I am baffled, the world in going completely mad. I’m so sorry for your loss and your pain, I hope one day soon you get everything you want back in life. You deserve it. Take care, and don’t stop believing good things are coming your way…because they are!

  3. Could you please put some basic summary info on your site about what the issues are– from one little snippet I am able to determine that it is something about scrapies? It’s difficult to contact a regulatory agency and tell them to stop doing something unless you know what it is they think they are doing (what laws, regs, etc.).

    1. All the info is under the News On CFIA red tab at the top…updates under the blog. We will re-arrange a few items so it easier to find a summary. Thanks for your suggestion.

  4. I wish you the every best after the very worst has happened..I was shocked to see your story about how unfair our country has been to you. I hope people that are able to help in any way spread the word in schools and across our country the need for change. I can’t believe that after the government not only destroyed your lively hood they would also make plans to Jail and fine you completely unthinkable.

  5. We are living a similar horror on a lesser scale right now for the same disease. The government is killing anything that looks like it might be a goat that came from a farm nearby. I am loosing my pet herd of 4 for sure and I have one doe left to kid and twin boys that are 6 weeks old.
    We are devastated and I am not quite sure how I am going to be able to see the joy in my farm again. My 5 yr old is going to be heartbroken as I am. I am pregnant and now on sick leave due to stress. My entire plan to stay home is up in the air, I make and sell goats milk soap and we were also are starting to become more sustainable and using the milk to make yogurt and cheese and to drink ourselves. It is unbelievably hard to walk out into the yard and have them perk up and call to me and I know there is nothing I can do to save my HEALTHY goats.

  6. I want to help save the heritage shrop I am in the us and cannot find any here I’ve been following the whole situation in horror ! I want to help but I’m not sure if this is where to ask but is there a breeders list or any resource to find any shrops still left b4 anything else happens to the rest of them preyers for the flock that had to pay the price my heart breaks for them and their shepherd

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