History of Our Flock
Bev has been breeding and selling pedigree Wiltshire Horn sheep since 1998. She was responsible for getting the breed accepted into the NZ Sheepbreeders Association Flock book in 2004 (Flock book 100). The Muriwai Valley Farm (MVF) flock was founded using organically reared ewes from Tim Gow’s Mangapiri Downs flock in Southland, and then using top stud rams imported from one of the best flocks in Australia, the Byarlea Stud of Brian & Jill Wilson near Adelaide. We have brought in two separate consignments of rams from Byarlea, in 2002 and 2006. We have also brought in top quality ewes from David Horton’s stud near Canberra. By founding the flock on the best pedigree (full-shedding) stock available, as well as using the hardiest organically bred stock in NZ, we believe we have created and developed a flock that is unrivalled in its constitional toughness, as well as being true to breed type and most essentially retaining that all important full-shedding ability that is the key feature of the breed. Certainly this is proven to us year in year out, in the way the sheep handle the extreme conditions of wet, dry & humid here in lower Northland, and thrive unsupported by the usual chemicals & vaccinations. As far as we know, we are the only fully organic flock north of Auckland.
Since 2006 we have run a closed flock, without the influx of any additional outside blood. This has been deliberate to genetically ‘fix’ these desired traits by not diluting or weakening them with any further outside genes. We were particularly wanting to select for the breed’s natural hardiness and adaptability. When line-breeding at a commercial stocking density in a farming regime that relies upon the genetic integrity of the livestock for its performance, you are strongly selecting for genetic virility and any weakness in the genetic pool will quickly be eradicated. So whilst our sheep may not necessarily be the biggest, we know that when shifted to other farms and crossed with other bloodlines, they will bring their natural vigour and strong genetics to their new flock.
Between 2010 and 2014 we concentrated on breeding and rearing for our commercial organic meat venture. We sold our superb organic lamb through our own retail butchery in Warkworth, and through to selected outlets in Auckland, including Farro Fresh. We built up a strong demand and clientele who appreciated the particularly fine eating qualities of Wiltshire meat. Last year we on-sold the butchery, and so this year we are pleased to be able to be back selling our top pedigree breeding stock again. We no longer register our flock with the NZ Sheepbreeders Assn, as we found this to be largely undesired by customers and didn’t offer any extra value. We are one of a handful of larger flocks in NZ- we run over 400 breeding ewes- and we believe one of the top studs in terms of quality and hardiness. Also, we can guarantee our sheep are full-shedding.