Perth Blackfaces are number one for the Watson’s Mayfair flock

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The Watsons have been producing Perth type blackfaces for over 30 years. Formally sold under Watson Brothers by Ian and Willard, it’s only in the last five years, when the flock was split, that the Mayfair flock was introduced by Willard and son, Gavin.

Gavin explains: “Ironically, my first love of blackfaces wasn’t actually Perth type, it all stemmed from Lanark type ewes, when my father and uncle bought cast ewes from the Gosland flock in Scotland.”

Although Gavin was very young he remembers these ewes, which were very unlike the Perth ewes of the time. They had neat short skins and super breedy heads with great nose ends, as well as the size and body associated with the Perth type.

Gavin continued: “At that time a few of the breeders, including us, started to use some select Lanark blood across the Perth flocks. We could see this added modern character, shortened skins, while maintaining size and colours. The perth ewes of today that we breed, if you look back threw old photos and journals are now like the Gosland ewes bought all those years ago.”

Gavin and Willard sell their ewe lambs privately. They are crossed to produce mule lambs and with this in mind, the stock tups are chosen accordingly.

Gavin added: “Good nose ends, hair and cocky lugs are a must and not forgetting a good thick body with a big enough frame to carry weight, giving enough pelvic frame for easier lambing in both our own ewes and also the lambs that are sold on and eventually crossed. Skins are also important, we like a short thick coat but never too bare. It is also essential not to substitute commercial power and body for the finer details of our breed and not forgetting being correct on both legs and feet.”

Gavin and Willard look forward to the tup sales both in Ireland and Scotland, and will have both lambs and shearlings on offer at the URBA sale on Monday, October 2, at Ballymena mart and with the quality, enthusiasm and numbers viewed at this year’s summer shows in Ireland and the same at the national show in Scotland they know the Perth type are in good stead for years to come.