Ripon farm welcomes Shaun the Sheep

The rare Valais Blacknosed lamb, that has been called Shaun. Picture: Ross Parry agency (s).
The rare Valais Blacknosed lamb, that has been called Shaun. Picture: Ross Parry agency (s).
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A Ripon couple who have a flock of the world’s ‘cutest’ and rarest ewes which look just like Shaun The Sheep are celebrating the birth of a new lamb - called Shaun.

Becky and Richard Burniston have over 35 Valais Blacknoses - one hundredth of the world’s entire population.

People just love Valais Blacknoses, especially children. You just take one look and they melt your heart.

The breed - of which there are only 3,000 left in existence - have been dubbed the “world’s cutest” sheep.

The sheep strike an uncanny resemblance to Aardman’s famous ram starring in his own blockbuster hitting the big screen this month.

Becky and Richard have filled their pens with 35 of the animals, native to the Swiss Alps, at their farm near Ripon.

And on Tuesday, the flock welcomed a new edition - with the birth of lamb Shaun in time for spring.

Becky, 30, said: “He’s called Shaun - he’s very cute.

“People just love Valais Blacknoses, especially children. You just take one look and they melt your hearts.

“They look exactly like Shaun the Sheep which maybe explains why they’re a hit, especially with the film coming out.

“They are very rare, we are one of the few farms in the country that breed them.

“We’ve had a flock since October but this is our first lamb. It was a struggle to get them over here with all the paperwork, but it’s so worth it.

“They are just so lovely.”

Full-time farmer Becky, who runs Little Givendale Farm with husband Richard, 45, said the reason the breed are so rare was because of their “docile” nature.

“They’re incredibly chilled out, but the reason they’re so rare is because they’ve just reintroduced the wolf back in Switzerland.

“The Valais Blacknoses are too docile and I don’t think they really get the fight or flight reaction.

“As soon as I saw a picture I just knew we had to have them on the farm. I just thought they were absolutely adorable.

“They have a white fluffy coat with gorgeous black faces and legs, just like Shaun. We have 35 of them here on the farm.

“The females also have a small black patch on their chests below their chin. People, especially children, just love them.”

Becky and Richard run a mobile animal business on the side of their farm, which takes them to schools showcasing the hundreds of animals they own from all over the world.

“We have animals from all over the planet here on the farm”, Becky added.

“Apart from the Valais Blacknoses from Switzerland, we have alpacas, pygmy goats and even reindeer.

“We run a mobile education centre for children. Teachers love it - we just visit schools and bring along the animals so kids can learn about them and where their food comes from. It’s very cultural.

“I think the main attraction is that the children get to see a reindeer on their school playing fields.”