Why this sheep farmer opted for an infusion of prize-winning Ulster genes
The Bluefaced Leicester ewes have received AI and are due to lamb down the last few days of February.
We used a new ram - purchased in Ballymena in conjunction with Joe Scahill of the Faughburren Bluefaced Leicester flock. The lamb is from M Wright and the Mullaghwee flock. The lamb is by Parkgatestone G4 and won many shows last summer as a lamb in Northern Ireland.
We are delighted with the new addition to the flock and we are hopeful that his bloodline and family history will breed through in our flocks.
Apart from having good colour, the lamb has great shape and conformation, good bone and a tight coat. He will also be used on Blackface ewes (Lanark type) to breed Mules for next year's Mayo Mule and Greyface sale.
We also AI'd some Lanark type Blackface ewes to some top sottish bloodlines. We used the famous £90,000 Blackhouse ram who has bred some brilliant sheep over the past few years and is also from a flock with great tradition and good breeding ewes. We picked some of the best Blackface ewes in the flock for this job so we can pass on the bloodline down through the rest of the flock.
I managed to purchase some Scotch Blackface type hoggets at the Mayo Blackface sale in Ballinrobe to help boost numbers.
These will join up with the rest of the flock for the busy mating period ahead. The bought-in sheep got the same prep pre-mating as did the main flock, including, fluke and worm dosing, mineral and vitamin supplementation and their tails were clipped.
One of my aims for the breeding season is to disturb the ewes as little as possible by reducing the stress of gathering, dosing. I aim to achieve this by doing all these jobs pre-breeding.