APPROXIMATELY 40 Zwartbles Irish Branch members and friends met recently at the Gil-Good Lodge in Moira.

The winners of the annual flock competition were announced.  This year’s competition was judged by Mr Matthew Simpson from Scotland (Tardoes Flock) and there were a record number of entries from throughout the whole of Ireland.  Matthew spent three days travelling around Ireland judging the various flocks.  He was very impressed with the overall quality of sheep placed before him which made selecting his winners extremely difficult.

Matthew selected the following winners:

Small flock (up to 10 ewes): 1st Melvyn Dorman; 2nd Andrew Park; 3rd Mrs Judy Maxwell; 4th Miss Caroline Lyons

 Medium Flock (11 to 30 ewes): 1st Mrs Noleen Henry; 2nd Murray Brennan; 3rd Alex McAuley: 4th.equal.Ml Conlin and Mrs Mary Cashel

Large Flock (31 ewes and upwards): 1st C D & L Cromie

The winner of the Champion flock was awarded to Mrs Noleen Henry (Fedney Hill flock) who received the Kee Cup for the flock.  Noleen’s Fedney Zwartbles flock is run as part of the family’s larger flock of Texel x, Suffolk x and Kerry Hill sheep. Noleen says that they find the pedigree Zwartbles have not only proved to be profitable in their own right but are a marvellous cross with their other breeds, providing replacement ewes that are very “milky” and give lambs a great start in life.

The Reserve flock was awarded to Mr Melvyn Dorman’s Dairy Lough Zwartbles. This is a small but select flock that enjoys major success in the show ring every year.

Veterinary surgeon Patrick Grant from the Parklands Veterinary Group gave a very detailed and informative talk on Embryo Transfer and Artificial Insemination.  Patrick fully explained both procedures including the costs involved and the benefits to the individual breeder.  It was clear from the many questions asked that quite a few members will go down one of these routes if not both.

Selina McAuley from Town and Country Sales, Glenarm then talked to the members on the benefit of feeding minerals to ewes pre tupping, pre lambing and post lambing.  This was another very informative talk which was greatly enjoyed by all.

Zwartbles Ireland member, Suzanna Crampton from Kilkenny, also gave a talk on the Zwartbles Ireland website and Zwartbles Ireland Facebook page that she manages for the benefit of all Zwartbles Sheep members all over Ireland. These sites have created great interest, not only in Ireland but also in GB and around the world too, with regular contributors from Germany, France and Holland and even the USA.

In between lectures everyone enjoyed a light supper which was provided by the Gil-Good Lodge.

This was a very nice evening which was greatly enjoyed by everyone.

Updated: April 16, 2014 — 1:15 pm