I am an honest straight up ram breeder: no gimmicks, no self serving slant, no bullshit. Regarding my Southdown rams, what I say, what you see, is what you get. Breeding a bloody good sheep is becoming secondary to the marketing spin that is used to sell it. We’re not a hobby ram breeder with a large commercial flock making our money; we specialise in breeding rams, so they have to perform as it’s our livelihood!
Extensive performance recording: 44 years of it. Everything is weighed at weaning and again 6 to 7 weeks later, eye muscle scanning for close on 10 years now and of course fertility recording. All this allows us to breed and bring to you a sound, high growth and high meat yielding ram that matures eearly ie the first lambs to the works (the uniqueness of a southdown).
All flocks SIL performance recorded: We upload and download all our data ourselves and, as such, I can produce a report on my Southdown rams tailor made to the client’s needs if required. If anyone has any special needs, let me know I will ensure the appropriate report is readily available to you. You also have the actual data relevant to all the BVs provided.
Sires DNA profiled for footrot and cold tolerance: We have been testing all sires for the last 8 years with most sires at the top end of the scale.
Pocket Pc: This rides in the bike, everything is tagged at birth (not left till tailing or on an unreliable Dna test). Any poor mothers, poor milkers, poor constitution, assisted lambing etc is recorded on the Pocket PC and later uploaded to the computer. This translates into reliable SIL figures (as accurate pedigrees) and this accurate recording allows me to be confident that I only retain genuine easy care sheep as any problem sheep are accurately recorded and can’t slip through the system.
Scientific Research: Most of our involvement is through Lincoln University , where in the past we have assisted in footrot and cold tolerance trials and a longevity trial. All this ensures that we are aware of the latest research and are ready to uptake any meaningful scientific developments that will improve our flocks.
Stockmanship: Fast becoming a lost art, a lot of breeders are relying solely on performance data. You need a combination of both to breed good Southdown rams. I still cull everything on visual appraisal first, I cull for eyes, colour, pasterns, legs, poor hindquarter, heavy shoulders, teeth, poor wool, poor loin etc; (I am always doing this); all such bad traits if not culled for, will, I guarantee you, lead to a decline in the productivity of your flock in the long term. Good stockmanship is vital if you are to breed stock with good ongoing productivity; without it, after the hybrid vigour is gone, your productivity will decline I Guarantee it!!!!! I consider this the most significant advantage we have over many breeders.
Worm Resistance: Our ewe flock never gets drenched and we practice an extended drenching programme with all young stock we retain.