There are a few dairy sheep breeds that you could add to your farm. Two of the commonest dairy sheep breeds used in Ireland are the East Fresian and the Lacaune. Their milk is usually described as pure and wholesome with high butterfat and protein content and excellent milk flavor. It is well suited to making a wide array of cheeses. In Ireland sheeps milk is being used by producers for milk, cheese, icecream and yoghurt ! Details of some of these are below…Read More
Hardy, adaptable and with exceptional carcass qualities, the Texel has become the dominant terminal sire breed in Ireland and the popularity of this distinctive breed is growing. Bred for meat, specifically lamb the Texel is known for the breed’s excellent carcass quality and, in particular, the high lean content and large eye muscle of the Texel cross carcasses. Blue Texels are similar to white Texels, but express the "blue" (Abl ) coat pattern. This is a recessive gene in the Texel breed, and Blue Texels breed true for it. Blue sheep are found in all Texel types from the smaller Dutch Texels to the larger Texels common in Britain. There is evidence of higher fertility in Blue Texels. The blue pattern can vary from very pale animals to quite dark, but no part of the fleece is fully black or white. The black head, ears and legs have symmetrical white markings. The flank wool is lighter than the shoulders and belly, sometimes a pale silvery blue. If two white Texels carry the blue gene, there is a 25% chance of a blue lamb from a mating. Matings between blue sheep will always produce blue lambs.Read More
The Blackface Breed
There are many different breeds of sheep in Ireland. The most common is the blackface mountain breed on upland farms. They are very hardy and can put up with cold, wind and rain. They are very nimble and roam about looking for grass. Several strains of Scotch Blackface have evolved down through the years in Scotland and Northern Ireland there are three types namely Perth, Newton Stewart and Lanark. In Ireland there are the Mayo/Connemara type, Kerry Blackface and the Waterford and Donegal types which are very similar to the Perth strain in Scotland. There has also been a lot of crossing and merging of the types in recent years especially in Scotland where the Newton Stewart and Lanark are almost totally merged.Read More
Suffolk sheep are a black-faced, open-faced breed of domestic sheep raised primarily for meat. They are polled and have black open faces along with black legs and white woolled bodies. Suffolks are considered a large breed of sheep, their large frame and muscular bodies make them an ideal breed for meat production, however; they are also good for wool production as well. These strong and hardy animals are good mothers.
The Suffolk evolved from the mating of Norfolk Horn ewes with Southdown rams in the Bury St Edmunds area of the UK. These sheep were known as Southdown Norfolks, or locally, as “Black faces.” The first recording is in 1797 when in his “General view of agriculture in the county of Suffolk” Arthur Young stated: “These ought to be called the Suffolk breed, the mutton has superior texture, flavour, quantity and colour of gravy.”
The Belclare is a maternal sheep breed, the society says and Belclare rams will add prolifically into the flock with daughters producing 2+ lambs/ewe. They produce good hardly lambs at birth which can also produce a good quality carcass. Belclare ewes are great mothers which produce plenty of milk.Read More
Over the next two months we will introduce you to different sheep breeds in Ireland. The National Sheep Breeders Association is a good source of information on sheep breeds and events throughout the year if you are interested in seeing these breeds. You will also find information on breeds and breeders on the individual breed society social media sites. This week we start with the Galway Sheep.
The Galway Sheep Breeders Association was established in 1923. The Association was founded to encourage the breeding and conservation of Galway Sheep and to maintain the Sheep as a pure breed.Read More
Project Baa Baa will launch at Teagasc SHEEP 2018 - Farm to Fork. This is a big day out with exhibit and demonstrations ranging covering wool craft, food and equipment and working sheep dog displays.Read More