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Monday, December 5, 2022

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Toy-Like Blacknose Sheep’s Amazing Bond with Owners—’The Best Pets in the World’


The owner of an adorable flock of black-nosed sheep says the fluffy creatures are truly the best pets in the world. The photogenic flock has even gained a massive following on social media.

April Higgins, 30, runs the BoPeep flock of rare Valais blacknose sheep in County Limerick, Ireland, with her fiancé, Alymer Power. She first became aware of the breed, nicknamed “the cutest sheep in the world,” after seeing photos on social media.

“My first reaction was pure amazement, and I did wonder, like many others, if they were real,” April told The Epoch Times. “To my great surprise I quickly found out they were, and from that day on I dreamed of owning a flock of this fluffy rare breed.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)

When one walks into a field of Valais blacknose sheep, the fluffy flock desire nothing but human love and affection, said April, claiming this trait is “very unique for a sheep.”

“Their amazing spiral horns and unique black markings, resembling knee patches and boots, make them look very majestic and almost like a cuddly toy,” she added. “They are quite funny, too, and this year I even trained one of our lambs, Jimmy, to unzip and zip up my coat!”

April and Alymer’s blacknose sheep are cared for like all other sheep on their farm; the couple also keep Charollais, Texel, and Hampshire Down pedigree sheep, beef cows, and three donkeys, but insists the blacknose sheep are “by far the cutest and friendliest.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)

Lambing takes place indoors from January to March, after which the flock spends the rest of spring and summer grazing with their lambs. April and Alymer supplement with grains to help ewes produce enough milk to feed their babies.

Blacknose sheep grow up to 4 kilograms (9 pounds) of beautiful, crimped wool every year—almost twice the amount of other sheep—and need to be shorn every six months. “The fleece can sometimes get so long that it can cover their eyes, so we tie a little bun on top of their heads so they have full vision until shearing day arrives,” said April. “Neighbors probably think we’ve lost the plot!”

Besides the sheep’s fluffiness, cuteness, and love for human affection, April has also observed a quirk among her Blacknose flock: they adore ginger nut biscuits. “It all happened by accident when we were feeding our three donkeys,” she explained. “The Valais showed extremely keen interest in the ginger snack … we have even had visitors bring packets.”

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)

But April insists that while Valais blacknose sheep do make fantastic pets, they’re not for everyone: they need a substantial amount of grassland, facilities, and the proper housing in order to live their best lives.

April grew up farming with her parents. Alymer and his father bred other types of pedigree sheep. Getting “roped in” was inevitable, said April, and when a family friend told her about a beautiful blacknose ewe for sale, she and her fiancé knew the time was right to add to their flock.

They purchased her in August of 2020.

April, who studied animal science at college and works in the animal pharmaceutical industry, works on the farm when not at her day job. Their pedigree flock is growing, with over 30 lambs born in 2022.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)
Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of BoPeep Valais Blacknose)

The couple run an Instagram page to share with the world the cutest, funniest moments from their BoPeep flock.

“We never thought they would go viral!” April said. “People’s most common reactions are, ‘Are they real?’ ‘Oh look, it’s Shaun the sheep!’ ‘Do they have eyes?’ and most common of all, ‘We need one!’

“We simply love to share them with the world, and are lucky enough to have them here on our farm to care for and enjoy every day.”

Share your stories with us at emg.inspired@epochtimes.com, and continue to get your daily dose of inspiration by signing up for the Inspired newsletter at TheEpochTimes.com/newsletter





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