|We milk our Dairymeade ewes every day in the afternoons, throughout the milking season (early August – early April). The flock of 250 are very used to the routine and really do skip to get their treats each day. They are each given a cup full of specially formulated dry food which supplements their green pasture diet, and helps to naturally enrich the milk and good health of the animals. Our milking staff are all trained to keep a close eye on our precious ewes, and milking time is used to monitor the health and milking levels of each sheep. We know most of them by name (or number!) and handle them gently and with care. The sheep are very friendly and seem quite content to give up their milk for us. When they have lambs, we milk the ewes with their babies at foot. Milking actually increases the milk output so it's good for the cheeses and the lambs.|
Our 250 Dairymeade ewes are arguably the most important part of the business, because they are the ones who produce the fantastic milk, without which, it would be impossible to make great tasting sheep's cheeses.
We take great care to look after our sheep. They are rotated frequently around the farm. The fertile clover and lucerne pastures support almost all of their dietary needs. We provide shade and shelter for them all year round with lots of poplar trees and shelter belts. Irrigation of the land is kept to just what is necessary in the hot summers, in order to retain the nutrients in the land and avoid effluent waste.
They skip to the milking everyday, which we think means they are very happy. The lambs are kept alongside their mums until they are fully grown and healthy. Many of them become part of the milking flock, and are fully accustomed to the routine as they have grown up with it. The health of the ewes and lambs are monitored closely by Miles and the farm staff and they have regular veterinary checks.
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Traditionally, East Friesians were used as milking sheep (mostly in Europe). They are known as friendly, clever, robust, highly fertile (they usually have twins or triplets) and are extremely good milkers.
With years of Miles' care, selective breeding and detailed genetics studies, Kingsmeade's original flock of 200 East Fresians has evolved into its own breed - Dairymeade - and is now certified as New Zealand's first dairy sheep breed.
Today, the Dairymeade ewes are particularly sought after for their excellent health. For enquiries about purchasing our lambs or for more information about Dairymeade sheep, please email us here.