North Country Cheviot Sheep Society
The North Country Cheviot (Northie) is the largest and most versatile of the UK hill breeds, combining thriftiness and health with fertility and strong maternal qualities. It is particularly suited to grassy hills and uplands where it thrives, but it will happily adapt to most environments.
As the complete all-rounder, the Northie plays a leading role in the UK’s sheep industry due to its carcase qualities and its versatility – it can be used successfully in a wide range of breeding programmes.
It can be bred pure or crossed to advantage with many other breeds to produce top quality prime lambs. But regardless of whether it is pure or crossed, the breed’s growing popularity is based on its long-proven track record of producing exactly what the market demands – quality and value without compromise.
The Northie is used more extensively and to greater effect in crossing programmes than any other hill breed, particularly in the hills and uplands. In both store and prime markets, North Country Cheviot and North Country Cheviot cross lambs constantly gain higher prices than other hill breeds. As a result, more producers are using North Country Cheviot rams on their hill ewes to increase returns.
On lower ground, many prime lamb producers are finding that using breeding ewes such as the North Country Cheviot Mule and Texel x North Country Cheviot ewe adds extra quality to the finished lamb – superior conformation and all-round finish.
North Country Cheviot ewes are being crossed successfully with terminal sires such as the Texel, Beltex, Suffolk and Charollais to produce top-class, fast growing prime lambs, with producers finding these lambs to be particularly vigorous from birth, requiring little intervention and finishing earlier than other breed, therefore costing less and increasing profit.
Most North Country Cheviot ewes are bred pure and they can be found thriving on some of the hardest and highest ground the UK has to offer. Despite this, they are particularly kind mothers, are milky, easy to handle at lambing time, and suffer few problems while producing quality lambs under the most rigorous and demanding of conditions.
They are also noted for their longevity with draft ewes sold to lower ground farms at about five years of age and consistently proving themselves to be great performers by producing another two, three or even four crops of lamb.
North Country Cheviot ewes can be found in a wide range of grazing conditions.
On marginal and low land she has traditionally been crossed with breeds such as the Border Leicester to produce Scotch Half Bred or the Blue Faced Leicester to produce the very popular Cheviot Mule.
Hill Ewe with Lamb
Park Ewe with lambs
North Country Cheviot rams have consistently proven their worth as crossing sires in large, commercial flocks. The different types of North Country Cheviot ensure that crossing rams are available to meet almost all conditions the commercial breeder requires.
The NCC breed is also known for its long working life, producing rams and ewes that are capable for performing year in, year out and for considerably longer than most other breeds.
The attraction of the North Country Cheviot (and NCC cross) lamb for finishers is its ability to retain leanness and conformation at a wide range of weights. It is suitable for both short and long keep finishing systems and can provide a carcass of the highest quality.