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Quinn Farm Lamb - image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission
Quinn Farm Lamb – image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission

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Quinn Farm - image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission
Quinn Farm – image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission

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Quinn Farm piglet - image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission
Quinn Farm piglet – image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission

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Quinn Far ewe and lamb - image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission
Quinn Far ewe and lamb – image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission

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A: We’ve given some presentations to a few guilds, they’re very enthusiastic; yes it really helps. The connection helps both us, the organization & farmers/producers and the Guild members. Quinn Farm’s annual public sheep-shearing demos should have the presence & enthusiasm of various guild-groups and wool-artisans… maybe you could help spread the word, please?

Q: Many Shepherds have issues with what they get paid for their fleeces. Do you think the market will change positively for farmers to get what they consider fair pay for their fleeces?

A: Wool is grossly under-rated. Growing up in the UK, we had a healthy respect for it and knew, as a fibre, nothing can take its place. I think it’s up to the breeders & producers to try and help themselves by working together to promote & market this excellent product. We don’t need every consumer to fall in love with wool, but we need to find niche markets and hope satisfied customers will tell their friends.

The CCWG (Canadian Cooperative Wool Growers) is the body that helps promote sales for Canada’s major sheep farmers & wool producers.

Fortunately Ruth Mathewson has recently joined them as their new Atlantic Region Director. Ruth is very passionate about promoting quality wool from Canadian flocks. Brian Greaves, Director from MB.and originally from New Zealand, along with Ruth, will hopefully work together on strengthening the market opportunities for woollen producers. Ruth has poured her own savings into a Mini-Mill on her farm where she lives & farms with her mother Greta, near Truro, NS. Her heart is set on re-establishing & maintaining the Maritime cottage industry, giving work to stay-at-home Mums and other folks, using woolen yarn produced by her own & and other local producers’ flocks of sheep. She has to be one of Nova Scotia’s best-kept secrets!

thesis statement about helping others Comparing Rare Breeds Canada with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK

Q: Have you found any differences between Rare Breeds Canada and Rare Breeds Survival Trust in the UK

A: Yes. There are a several breeds unique to both countries. Canada also farms extensively and Britain is more intensive. It’s quite
different and does affect what animals are around us. Britain’s population is double to Canada’s, squeezed into the size of Manitoba & Saskatchewan, so people are much closer to everything in Britain. This means the public are more aware of agriculture in general, and
of course the historical significance of farm livestock breeds that date back hundreds and sometimes thousands of years. They are valued much more highly & with awareness are respected among the general public.

what is a methodology page in a research paper Advice for would-be rare breed shepherds?

Q: In closing is there any advice you would give someone who is considering becoming a Shepherd of Rare Breeds that you wished someone had shared with you, when you began your own journey?

A: Yes, buy a barn-camera when you can afford one, to help at lambing time. It’s less-intrusive. Get a good one that covers all your barn, allowing you to check your ewes without disturbing them or yourself. When you go out into the cold night-air you can’t get back to sleep very quickly. Fix it up in your bedroom with a monitor so you can observe from the warmth of your bed, with one eye open… just like a good Border Collie!

Thank you very much Nancy, for giving us this opportunity to reach a few more good folks who enjoy wool. Please keep in touch and feel free to contact us anytime at or Tel. 204 573 8204.

Nancy: Pam and Elwood, thank you so much for sharing a glimpse into the busy life of a Shepherd of Rare Breeds Sheep in Canada. I look forward to that field trip in the near future…

2495 boul. Perrot,
N.D. de L’Ile Perrot, QC J7V 8P4
Tel: 514-941-1510
Link to FB: @LaFermeQuinn
Written by Nancy MacMillan
(NancyKnot on Ravelry) knitter, spinner, knitwear designer and lover of
all things WOOL.
All photos courtesy of Quinn Farm

Quinn Farm - image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission
Quinn Farm – image © Quinn Farm and used with kind permission

Many thanks to Nancy, Pam and Elwood – Wovember readers might be interested to know that Rare Breeds Canada run a project called Sheep and Woolly connections, enabling spinners and rare breed shepherds like Pam and Elwood to link up. We applaud these kinds of measures that help to bring producers and consumers of wool closer together, and the day to day work on farms like Quinn Farm that enable rare breed sheep and their special wool to be preserved for future generations of wool growers and wool wearers.

2 thoughts on “Q&A with Rare Breeds of Canada Shepherds: working at the (literal) grassroots to maintain rare breeds

  1. I met Pam heat that upper Canada Village at the rare breeds exhibit and I bought some of her shop shower roving. I would love to be a rare breeds shepherds!

  2. This was so interesting to read. I have been really enjoying listening to the KnitBritish podcast and learning about British sheep. It is wonderful to hear about similar efforts here in Canada to promote local wool and rare breeds. I have recently purchased a set of mini skeins from Sweet Paprika Designs- “Elora is a completely Canadian locally-sourced yarn, spun from Rambouillet-cross fleeces”. I will continue to look for more “home-grown” yarn and support local wool!

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