Wethers – castrated male sheep – were once traditionally kept as a key part of the mountain flock in the Elan Valley area. Wethers are tougher than ewes and are able to guide the flock to safety or to find food in the hard winter months. For this reason, they are known locally as ‘the kings of the mountain’.
Recently, the lack of a defined market for wethers has seen the loss of this type of animal from our hills. However, wether meat is delicious and in this project we will pilot its promotion through local outlets such as Elan Valley’s Visitor Centre and local hotels. The project will see if sustainably produced wether meat could become a component of local farming systems once again.
In addition, the Woodland Project has identified a need to re-introduce grazing in a number of broadleaved woodlands to help control ground vegetation. It is proposed that wethers, as stronger animals, could have a role to play without becoming entangled in briars.
Over the next five years, the aim is to achieve:
- Market development and testing for wether lamb meat, including roll-out to catering outlets on a trial basis
- More effective woodland management at minimal cost with positive benefits.