RBST Watchlist Category 5: Minority (1500-3000)
The Balwen breed produce a small sized lamb, similar to a Badger Face Welsh Mountain. However, should a larger size be required through cross-breeding, the Balwen ewe is an excellent, hardy mother and lambs easily. Due to its easy maintenance, the breed is popular with small holders and as a result has become more wide-spread in recent years.
As recently as 1947, Balwen Sheep were to be found in only one location – the Tywi valley in Wales. Consequently, during the disastrous winter of that year, the breed was nearly wiped out with only one ram surviving. However, numbers of animals slowly increased and during the1970s there was interest in the breed outside its valley home.
The name Balwen means “white blaze” in Welsh. Balwen Welsh Mountain sheep have a very distinctive blaze from the top of the head to the nose. Traditionally, the Balwen was bred to make them distinct from the other mountain breeds, like the Badger Face, and they were useful colour markers when searching for flocks.