About Littledove Farm

Littledove Farm is located on a limestone ridge in Fisherville, Kentucky, an old farming community in the watershed of Floyds Fork, Jefferson County’s last living stream. The limestone soil here is ideal for growing bluegrass pasture and the well-drained, high ground on the ridge is excellent for keeping sheep. About one-third of Littledove’s acreage is active farmland; the rest serves as riparian buffer and is dedicated habitat for the abundant bird and wildlife populations in the area.

All three color lines

I started my purebred Shetland flock in 1995 with breeding stock from the original U.S. importers. Shetlands are small, hardy, primitive sheep originally from the Shetland Islands north of Scotland. The breed was on the verge of extinction in the 1970s when efforts were begun in earnest to preserve endangered agricultural breeds. Over the past 15 years I’ve managed my flock for conformation to traditional Shetland standards. I am a member of the North American Shetland Sheepbreeders Association and the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

PastureI use sustainable agriculture practices throughout my farm, raising healthy sheep in a healthy environment. I originally seeded my pastures with bluegrass and clover, and maintain them without added fertilizer. I maintain a low stocking rate and graze my sheep rotationally, keeping parasites low and pastures fresh and building muscle on my lambs. My sheep are raised on this bluegrass pasture, grain, & hay with no artificial additives, antibiotics, hormones, or GMOs. I have been enrolled in the Voluntary Scrapie Flock Certification Program since 2002 & certified since 2007; my flock is examined and certified healthy annually by the USDA veterinarian.

Shetland sheep are best known for their gorgeous fleeces. Shetland wool is fine and lustrous, and far softer in handle than other finewool breeds. We shear twice a year and get a 2-4 lb, 4-6 inch clip per head. I handwash our fleeces and have them processed into yarn and blankets.

Less well known is the exceptional flavor of Shetland meat. The American lamb market fell off drastically in the 1940s and commercial sheep operations here began producing large lambs with low-grade wool and poor quality meat. With the revival of small flocks of traditional breeds, we’ve begun in the past few decades to rebuild the American lamb market. Littledove Kentucky bluegrass lamb is entirely pasture-raised and processed with no additives of any kind.

Gotland Pony

I also keep registered purebred Gotland ponies, another rare, hardy, primitive livestock breed. In 2008, I started a small herd of registered Lowline Angus cattle with my friends Peter & Angela Jones of Breezy Ridge Farm in Howardstown, Kentucky. Lowlines were developed from original Scottish Angus genetics, selecting for small size and low growth-rate. They produce hardier, more efficient cattle closer to those of the early 20th century than modern Angus, and yield leaner, more tender meat.


Green Heron

Because my work on the farm is inseparable from the land that holds it, I am deeply invested in preserving the long-term health of the natural environment. In 2007 I put my farm in a conservation easement with the Louisville/Jefferson County Environmental Trust. This agreement preserves the lands’s use for agriculture and wildlife habitat, and its environmental integrity, in perpetuity.

My work here at the farm is a very small part of a far greater whole--conserving an ancient breed with unique characteristics and passing it on intact to future breeders and practicing responsible stewardship of our land and water. I’m happy to have dedicated Littledove Farm to the preservation of our community.

--Frances Aprile
Littledove Farm, 2011




Littledove Farm Fisherville KY