White recently began raising Valais Blacknose sheep, a rare breed from the Valais region, high in the alpine region of southern Switzerland. Valais Blacknose sheep are mostly white, but have distinctive black faces and leg markings. They’re prized for their looks, gentle temperament and outstanding wool production. Her first 100% Valais Blacknose lamb was born on March 26.Photo by Paul Post
“I’m not a fan of golf courses, I think they should all be dotted with sheep. So, instead of mowing and maintaining the 20-acre property with fossil fuel-powered machines, she thought, why not use grazing animals? But the timing wasn’t quite right for livestock, so she waited until her children were old enough to do chores and research how to run a small hobby farm, which turned out to be a valuable home-school project as well.
A decade later, when the children headed off to college, White was faced with a major decision about her small hobby farm — scale back or get big. “Instead of downsizing, I had the infrastructure from working with these animals for 10 years, and I had the knowledge of how to manage and market the product. So, instead of keeping it small because I was on my own, I decided I would grow it and that would be my career,” she said. Today, her Wing & A Prayer Farm raises a variety of fiber-producing animals — sheep, goats, alpacas — and is home to a handful of geese, Royal Palm heritage turkeys, and a giant pig named Peppermint Princess, all watched over by protective guardian dogs that greet visitors and keep predators away.
The Valais Blacknose sheep are a breed native to the mountains of southern Switzerland. The breed, which looks like sheep as imagined by Wallace & Gromit, is marked by a jet-black face, ears, knees, boots, and in the ewe’s case, posteriors. Both rams and ewes develop spiral horns.
The Valais, as they are often referred to, have a simply stunning and unique appearance. They are a long-wool breed of sheep that feature beautiful white curly wool with a distinct black face and nose – a look that you simply can’t help but to love! Black patches are found on the ears, nose, hocks and knee caps, with a black tail spot marking on ewes only. Eventually both female and male sheep grow amazing spiral or helical-shaped horns.
Valais Blacknose Sheep Price
$1,000 to $10,000