A closed commercial flock running 200 homebred ewe’s, predominantly now Rouge X Texel/Beltex. Our aim is to produce good quality smart commercial lambs and good reliable replacement females. Originally a dairy farm running a small flock of ewe’s alongside. When milk production ceased it left the way for a increase in sheep numbers. Once I returned home to farm full time we wanted to improve and modernise our foundation flock of good quality Texel bred ewe’s. I wanted to improve on the flock’s lambing percentage and the ease of which they lambed, I felt lambs could be more vigorous at birth and ewe’s milkier. I also wanted to produce a better quality carcase and produce a flock that was ideally better to handle due to my bad back and health issues.
Having had experience of several breeds and non proving to be of our liking, we decided to purchase a Rouge ram in 2009, Jets Highway, along with two females, our decision was based on the Rouge’s fine bone and carcase quality. This proved to be for us a valuable decision. The resulting gimmer shearing’s have gone on to be the turning point in our flock. They had remarkable ease of lambing, excellent mothering abilities, were extremely milky with excellent feet. Something the original Texel’s struggled with, on our very sandy soils. The next year we purchased our first Beltex ram, purely to add extra shape and tightness of frame to the finished lamb. In 2010 we purchased another Rouge ram, Langlands Lord Almighty, who has produced some outstanding and much valued daughter’s in our flock. The ewe’s we are now running, some now being three quarter bred Rouge, have proved they are excellent prolific mothers, easy to handle, can adapt to change quickly, being on sandy land we can go from lush grass to dessert like conditions in a matter of days so its important ewe’s can adapt, they have good strong feet and produce quality quick growing solid lambs.
Lambing mid January to late February, we like to sell all male lambs by ideally mid to late June, selling them as they feel fit, weighing from 34Kg to 42kg, producing a good solid carcase. We then run the gimmer lambs on to be either finished as hogs or retained for breeding. A number of Gimmer shearlings are available for sale each year along with a couple of Rouge X Beltex Ram’s.
All stock is sold through Wharfedale Farmers Auction Market, Otley. Having been very successful at the Monthly Show & Sale of prime lambs and Christmas Fat Stock Show’s winning many prize’s. This year proving to be our best let having gained prizes in every class we have entered so far, winning the July show for under 42kg recently. We have also been fortunate to top the market on many occasions not just with lambs or hogs but also our cull ewe’s. Although new to commercial lamb classes, a pair of our black Rouge X gimmer lambs came 5th at The English Winter Fair last year and we hope to compete at Countryside Live and English Winter Fair this year with a team of lambs.
In my opinion the Rouge helps create the perfect product not only for this flock but today’s modern commercial flock in general, meeting the demands of a changing modern market equally well. I look forward to meeting new faces at forth coming sale’s show’s and would like to take the opportunity to thank the society for asking me to help promote the breed and if I may my mum and dad, especially my mum, who not only provided me with a excellent foundation flock to begin with but who taught me everything in the beginning so I could build upon their years of hard work.