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You’ll go baa-rmy for the cutest lambs in Britain! Pair of rare blacknose sheep born on Devon farm

You’ll go baa-rmy for the cutest lambs in Britain! Pair of rare blacknose sheep are born on Devon farm

  • Chris Slee and Tom Hooper rear the breed, originally from Switzerland, in Devon and they can sell for £10,000
  • Their distinctive markings of black faces, black knees, spiralling horns and white fleece makes them popular 
  • There are only a few thousand in UK and Switzerland banned exports so any increase comes through breeding

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These newborn lambs – dubbed ‘the world’s cutest sheep’ – are already worth a small fortune. Thanks to their rarity and adorable looks they are in demand as pets.

Chris Slee and Tom Hooper rear the breed – originally from Switzerland – in Devon and they can sell for up to £10,000 for exceptional rams.

Their distinctive markings of black faces with black knees, spiralling horns and a long white fleece has earned them the reputation of the world’s cutest sheep.

There are only a few thousand of them in Britain and Switzerland has banned their export so any increase must come purely from breeding.

Chris Slee and Tom Hooper rear the breed – originally from Switzerland – in Devon and they can sell for up to £10,000 for exceptional rams

Their distinctive markings of black faces with black knees, spiralling horns and a long white fleece has earned them the reputation of the world's cutest sheep

Their distinctive markings of black faces with black knees, spiralling horns and a long white fleece has earned them the reputation of the world’s cutest sheep

There are only a few thousand of them in Britain and Switzerland has banned their export so any increase must come purely from breeding

There are only a few thousand of them in Britain and Switzerland has banned their export so any increase must come purely from breeding

The Valais blacknose are seldom seen outside Switzerland, where they are often referred to as the world’s cutest sheep.

The country, which banned exports six years ago, rear the sheep for wool as well as meat. In the UK, where there are thought to be only a few thousand and they are kept as pets, for breeding and for showing.

Mr Slee and Mr Hooper have been raising Valais blacknose at Halsbury Barton, near Bideford, since 2016, when they invested in some embryos from Scotland.

The Valais blacknose are seldom seen outside Switzerland, where they are often referred to as the world's cutest sheep

The Valais blacknose are seldom seen outside Switzerland, where they are often referred to as the world’s cutest sheep

The country, which banned exports six years ago, rear the sheep for wool as well as meat. In the UK, where there are thought to be only a few thousand and they are kept as pets, for breeding and for showing

The country, which banned exports six years ago, rear the sheep for wool as well as meat. In the UK, where there are thought to be only a few thousand and they are kept as pets, for breeding and for showing

Mr Slee and Mr Hooper have been raising Valais blacknose at Halsbury Barton, near Bideford, since 2016, when they invested in some embryos from Scotland

Mr Slee and Mr Hooper have been raising Valais blacknose at Halsbury Barton, near Bideford, since 2016, when they invested in some embryos from Scotland

Mr Hooper, a former City economist, previously said of the breed: ‘It’s a fairly straightforward case of supply and demand.

‘The supply is limited as the Swiss have prevented further exports so the ones we have in the country, which would only be a few thousand, cannot be added to by imports and it is not a particularly quick process to add naturally to a flock by breeding.

‘On the other side of the equation, there’s a lot of demand – they look great and are fairly docile so make ideal pets for those with a bit of land who want a pretty, but expensive, lawnmower.’

Mr Slee, whose family have farmed in north Devon for more than a century, previously added: ‘The prices are a bit crazy but seem to be going up for the good quality stock.

Mr Hooper, a former City economist, previously said of the breed: 'It's a fairly straightforward case of supply and demand'

Mr Hooper, a former City economist, previously said of the breed: ‘It’s a fairly straightforward case of supply and demand’

Mr Slee, whose family have farmed in north Devon for more than a century, previously added: 'The prices are a bit crazy but seem to be going up for the good quality stock'

Mr Slee, whose family have farmed in north Devon for more than a century, previously added: ‘The prices are a bit crazy but seem to be going up for the good quality stock’

He added: 'We got interested in them a few years ago after going to Holsworthy market and seeing sheep go through the ring for thousands of pounds'

He added: ‘We got interested in them a few years ago after going to Holsworthy market and seeing sheep go through the ring for thousands of pounds’

‘We got interested in them a few years ago after going to Holsworthy market and seeing sheep go through the ring for thousands of pounds.

‘I couldn’t believe it – Holsworthy is a small town in north Devon and I have kept sheep my whole life and never seen anything like it.

‘On my family farm we have about 400 commercial sheep and my sister and I breed and show Jacob sheep. But we are always being told by the Government to diversify, so Tom and I took a punt and bought some of these Valais.

‘It has worked out well so far but lambing time can be a bit more stressful as these little lambs are worth 30 or 40 times the values of normal sheep.’

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