April 2016

Spotlight on Southdowns

25 April, 2016 - 09:06 | Lara Pollard-Jones

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The Southdown sheep has been established in the UK for over two hundred years, but has been in its current ‘improved’ state since the 1800’s with the breed society being established in 1893.  The fibre can be as fine as 29 microns (comparable to Shetland in some cases) and has been used for knitwear for many years.

Fly strike

18 April, 2016 - 13:10 | Lara Pollard-Jones

The thought of flystrike can send a chill through any shepherd; though no illness or disease in sheep is pleasant, this is one of the worst.  After a mild, very wet winter, the numbers of fly larvae around will be greater than usual, so it will be doubly important to watch out for strike and deal with it without risking  compromise to the health of the sheep or the potential to use the wool.

The economic cost of flies is estimated to reduce milk yields by 0.5 litres per cow per day and growth rates by 0.3kg per head per day in cattle, which can easily be extrapolated to sheep - it's not just the damage to an animal which has been struck, but the irritation which distracts the whole flock from getting on with eating and growing.

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Portland Sheep and the Combined Flock Book

11 April, 2016 - 13:00 | Lara Pollard-Jones

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A small flock of Portland sheep.  Image courtesy of BWMB.

When breeding any animal it is important to aim for correct and healthy offspring, but when breeding pedigree stock the breed standard is the first thing to be take into consideration. With some breeds, coloured sheep are not accepted into the breed registry and people are discouraged from breeding them; the same can be said for certain markings, as the resulting sheep is not true to type.  In breeds where there are large numbers, this is not a problem as sheep with undesirable characteristics can more easily be excluded from t

Sheep as Therapy

4 April, 2016 - 14:42 | Lara Pollard-Jones

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An example of a well turned out Ryeland sheep.
Image courtesy of Hawthorns Ryelands.

Those local to us may have seen an article in the Western Morning News at the end of last month:  ‘Cornish care home helps to save rare breed sheep.’  While the Ryeland sheep in question aren’t any longer a rare breed (they were on the RBST survival list a few years ago, but have since grown in number so that they are no longer at risk) they certainly are working wonders with people with learning disabilities at HIghdowns Farm.

 

Lambs at last!

4 April, 2016 - 13:35 | Sue Blacker

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These were the first, who arrived on 29th March: their mum Sweetheart is a pure Blue-faced Leicester and they are crossed with Gotland rams - the one with the white blaze is a ram and the black one is a ewe.  Sweetheart is not very tame or friendly and was not looking fit to burst, so her lambs' arrival was a bit of a surprise.

Meanwhile the pure bred Gotlands were obviously waiting for better weather or until all of our Easter visitors had departed, disappointed not to see Gotland lambs ...

 

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