A real passion for Bluefaced Leicesters

The Blaneys with some of their Bluefaced Leicesters
The Blaneys with some of their Bluefaced Leicesters

When it comes to breeding and producing today’s most productive and indeed most profitable ewe, there is nothing to beat the blackface ewe and her popular scotch mule ewe lamb.

The scotch mule is undoubtedly the most sought after lowland sheep for commercial lamb production due to its good mothering instincts, good sized lambs, prolificacy and good milk production.

Brendan Blaney and Sons, John and Brendan, run 600 blackface ewes plus followers on Tievebuaile farm, near Cushendall.

The whole farm is LFA extending to 1800ft. The majority of the blackie ewes are crossed with the Bluefaced Leicester with a small number run pure to breed replacements. As well as the ewes, a herd of 50 suckler cows run with a Charolais bull.

Most years 320 mule ewe lambs are sold between two association sales at Armoy Livestock Mart, which in the past have peaked to £168 per head with averages to £107 per head. Renowned for breeding quality mule ewe lambs coupled with their enthusiasm to show sheep has resulted in them winning four championships in the past five years.

The ‘Tievebuaile’ flock of pedigree Bluefaced Leicesters consists of 30 pure ewes, and was established for breeding crossing tups. The late John Blaney was one of the first people to bring in pure Bluefaced Leicester stock into Northern Ireland from Scotland and England. With the Blaneys having established the first registered flock in Northern Ireland, breeding Bluefaced Leicester sheep runs deep in the bloodlines.

The foundation of the ‘Tievebuaile’ flock is based on the purchase on in-lamb Midlock females over the years, with further purchases of females from the noted Hewgill, Duhonw and Kirkby Redgate flocks.

The Blaneys have also been very successful in the show ring with their Bluefaced Leicester flock, the icing on the cake was winning the championship at Balmoral in 2014 and 2015 with a ewe they purchased at an in-lamb sale in Carlisle from Michael James, Duhonw flock.

The Blaney family will be selling some of their pedigree Bluefaced Leicester Rams at the NI Bluefaced Leicester Sheep Breeders annual show and sale of 352 Registered Bluefaced Leicesters, consisting of 191 shearling rams, 135 ram lambs and 26 females, on Saturday 19th September in Ballymena Livestock Market. The show will start at 8.00am sharp and the sale will commence at 10.00am.

The sponsor for the show and sale is Glens Farm Supplies Ltd.