Station 11 Meet the Sheep Trail

On the last post of our “Meet the Sheep” themed trail, you will see a brief summary of the most important features and characteristics. Simply scan the QR code on the last Cairn family member!

A summary of details on the Blacknose sheep

The small, light and robust sheep have less meat than normal breeding sheep. However, Blacknose sheep have up to 30% less fat, which makes their meat a ten­der delicacy. But that’s not all. These are the riches of the Blacknose sheep:

  • It is no problem to use the sheep’s meat into old age, whereas the meat of breeding sheep becomes almost inedible once the animals reach middle age (about 5-6 years) as the fat content gives the meat such a strong “potent” smell.

  • It is easy to use the long wool to make felt. It can be used to make practical everyday things (also water­proof to a degree!) such as seat cushions, slippers, bags and hats.

  • The wool is unusually fluffy, velvety soft, long and curly, snow white.

  • Their physical build allows them to graze into the uppermost vegetated areas, where life is just being born out of the rock.

  • And remember: hardly any other sheep is so trust­ing and cuddly. Pure love! How do you feel when you immerse your hands in this thick curly wool and the lamb smiles happily? A beautiful relationship be­tween animals and humans.

The flock on the Gornergrat is not uncommon in Valais, but certainly more used to guests than any other flock. Everyone who works with Blacknose sheep adores these special animals. Want to know more about the Blacknose sheep? Fabienne Truffer, a farmer from Val­ais, has written a wonderful book about this special and unique breed of sheep: read

Overall, the Blacknose sheep shows us how precious a total understanding of agriculture and food consump­tion is. It is a sheep that is loved passionately and that returns its affection and infinite attachment to you. It spends its entire life in nature and at the same time cares for nature, promotes biodiversity and defies mass farming with all its peculiarities. The sheep’s resources are fully utilised into old age. Here in the Alps, we find a healthy and respectful way of life that includes the entire ecosystem and our culture.

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