Parkdale Valais Blacknose Sheep

Flock #8 - Established 2018 - Owned by Hayden and Melissa Cowan, North Canterbury

Melissa and Hayden, along with Emma (6 years) and Ben (5 years), own and operate an 850-acre mixed cropping and grazing property in picturesque Motunau Beach in North Canterbury.

After having quietly followed the breed for about a year, Melissa showed me a picture of a Valais one night and told me a bit about them. It didn’t take long for Melissa to convince me we needed to look into the breed a bit more. I did some research and made a few phone calls and our first shipment of embryos arrived from the UK in 2018. These embryos came from one of the top UK breeders, Jamie Woods, with all embryos coming from sires (namely Prendwick Basil and Prendwick Eros) and dams having scored maximum points based on the Swiss grading, the best genetics available.

In August 2018 out first 18 Valais Blacknose lambs were born and we’ve never looked back! We are also lucky to have the first (and only) “spitti” Valais born in NZ. A “spitti” is a Valais that has the reverse colouring, being predominately black, and they are considered good luck in Switzerland.

Melissa and Hayden Cowan
Melissa and Hayden Cowan

We have recently implanted more embryos (sourced from several different UK breeders) into our surrogate ewes for our 2019 breeding season. Our aim is to build our breeding flock to 50 Valais ewes, whilst retaining our best rams every year for breeding and selling the surplus ram lambs and wethers. We also intend to sell semen and embryos both within NZ and into the booming USA market.

We are also excited to be part of the Valais breed-up programme and have had two of our rams out with our Romney ewes this autumn. We chose to use Romney’s due to them having similar conformation to the Valais Blacknose. We are expecting our first F1 (50% Valais 50% Romney) lambs in October and can’t wait to see what Valais traits they exhibit. We will be offering some for sale.

Parkdale Basil
Parkdale Basil

The Valais Blacknose Sheep have an incredible temperament, addictive personalities and super cute looks and of course they have a story behind them that everyone loves, coming from the Swiss Alps. Emma and Ben love spending time out in the paddock with them and having such great personalities means they can give them cuddles and Emma can ‘do their hair’ and dress them up for picnics together!

Our family have been involved in the Hereford Stud industry for many years and I have made life-long friends from all over the world as a result. Melissa and I hope that we will have the same experience with the Valais Blacknose Stud industry and look forward to working with other breeders both within NZ and wider afield.

Emma Cowan plays with her friends
Emma Cowan plays with her friends