The U.R.B.A. Border Leicester section will hold their 104th Annual Show and Sale of Rams, Ram Lambs, Ewes and Ewe Lambs on Monday, 30th September in Ballymena Mart, Show 4.30pm, sale 6.30pm in Ring 1 with David Walker, Alticane, Scotland judging.
Sale organisers would like to thank the sponsors once again for all their support at this event, including Danske Bank, Moore Animal Feeds, Fane Valley and A.S.C. Farm Services.
New to the Border Leicester world are new breeders Alison and Wade McCrabbe from Raphoe, Co. Donegal and better known for their prizewinning Ardstewart Beltex flock. Their new flock of Border Leicester ewes was established in 2018.
A Border Leicester ram was bought to run with the commercial flock of 60 ewes last season, and after seeing what he could do both Wade and Alison were really impressed and decided to purchase ewes and breed some of these rams to sell.
Once the Border Leicester ram was introduced to the commercial flock (Suffolk, Milford and Texel cross ewes) 17 ewes were served within the first 24 hours at the ram’s ease (Alison says he was that active he would have done the neighbours ewes as well). Out of those 17 ewes covered they scanned doubles, two triplets and one single.
“The Border Leicester is the sire of choice for us when crossed with our commercial ewes,” she said. “The progeny is lively and thrive well with minimal management. Ewe lambs are real flock builders with a sharp feminine head, and a great frame. When putting the ram out in late November I know that the Border Leicester is not going to hang about and gets the job done in all weather conditions. They are a hardy breed and can face weather and poor grazing conditions with ease.
“Lambs are born with great vigor and are up and suckled in no time and seldom require assistance. They are more than capable to stand the roughest of weather conditions. Ewes and lambs are turned out within the first 24 hours of birth. No concentrate feed is given, only a lick bucket. Lambs have a high growth rate and rams’ lambs are finished off the grass around 12 weeks weighing from 46 – 50kg with 90% of them killing into a U grade.
“Ewe lambs were sold at the local Livestock Market in Raphoe in early September at the breeding ewe sale topping the sale price of 170 euro and averaging 150 euro. These are end of March/April born lambs.”