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  • November 9, 2008

  • Since the beginning of the last century, dairy farmers in the Freisland region of Holland have kept Zwartbles Sheep, a strikingly handsome black sheep with a distinctive white blaze and 2 to 4 white "socks." Freisland lies in the North of Holland, and these beautiful and elegant sheep serve as dual purpose animals - meat and milk. Due to changes in farming practices, numbers of Zwartbles in Holland became severely reduced until the breed was adopted by the Dutch Rare Breed Survival trust in the mid-1970s. In the last few years, a small number of Zwartbles sheep have been imported by enthusiasts to Great Britain. There are now 147 registered Zwartbles flocks (a total of about 3,500 sheep) spread throughout the UK, and they are well able to cope with the lowland and mid-altitude conditions in England, Wales, and Scotland.

    November 9, 2008

  • They are curious looking. The one in the back doesn't have a necklace.

    November 10, 2008

  • They look as though they're very, very serious about the business of being zwartbles.

    November 10, 2008

  • I want to see a picture of a 'sheep enthusiast'.

    November 10, 2008

  • Hi - I have kept Zwartbles sheep for about 4 years now. I have mixed feelings about the breed. As a complete novice I have found them usually placid and easy to work with, but rather large if they decide to put up a fight. In fact, I have seen a professional shepherd flat on his back with a stubborn ewe on top - she didn't want her feet done. Where I live, in the hills, I find the feet of the Zwartbles a problem. I also keep Ryeland sheep and find them smaller, easier to manage and virtually foot rot free. There is also a problem breeding the Zwartbles as I do not have accreditation and it is therefore virtually impossible to borrow a ram ( I don't have room to keep one). I have had to resort to Al, but I find it a barbaric practice (although 100% successful) and will be producing Ryeland crosses for the meat market next year. However, the Zwartbles grow very quickly and the meat is delicious. Zwartbles are good mothers and cannot be faulted in that regard. I trust you find this information helpful.

    --Zwartbles owner in Midlothian, Scotland

    November 11, 2008

  • Ewes like to be on top? Who's Al?

    November 11, 2008

  • What kind of Zwartbles doesn't enjoy a pedicure?

    November 11, 2008

  • Okay, I have to say it. If you go to a football match in Scotland, supporting either Inverness or Aberdeen, and your team loses, the opposing fans will chant:

    Sheep-shagging bastards

    You're only sheep-shagging bastards

    Sheep-shagging baaastards

    at you.

    To the tune of 'Guantanamera'.

    I have to object to this strenuously. As all cigar-choofing peasant revolutionaries know, the second verse of the popular Cuban song actually goes:

    Mi verso es de un verde claro

    Y de un carmín encendido

    Mi verso es de un ciervo herido

    Que busca en el monte amparo

    Guantanamera, guajira, Guantanamera

    My verse is light green

    And it is flaming crimson

    My verse is a wounded deer

    Who seeks refuge on the mountain (or in the woods).

    So, all you petulant, potty-mouthed, blowmaunging lickspigots costumed as 'Gers, Jambos, Bhoys, Hibees and worse, at least get it half-right. You should call us deer-shagging bastards.

    November 11, 2008

  • Well. That's settled.

    November 11, 2008

  • Bilby:

    Por favor, what means cigar-choofing?

    Also, do you have a ram I could borrow?


    November 12, 2008

  • Thanks, bilby. Somebody had to say it.

    November 12, 2008

  • ovine sweet talk

    February 1, 2009

  • Further to the sheep-shagging deep background below, it would be remiss of me not to offer this:

    "An Aberdeen supporter dressed as a sheep was set alight on a train on his way home from their match against Hibs on Saturday. The 24-year-old suffered serious burns to his arms and legs when his suit caught fire on a train in Fife. The victim reportedly ran through the carriage ablaze as other fans threw beer at him to try to douse the flames."

    - Football fan dressed as sheep set on fire on train,, 2 Nov 2009.

    November 2, 2009

  • I have to question whether the hapless burnt offering was in fact dressed as a Zwartbles. It seems kind of ... unlikely.

    November 3, 2009

  • We can only hope.

    November 3, 2009

  • I am horrified that this word isn't listed in the "Z" section of my trusty French dictionary.

    Horrified, I tell you.

    April 13, 2011