UK accolade for NI Champion Dorset Flock

September born ram lambs selected for breeding
September born ram lambs selected for breeding

The Kildowney Poll Dorset Flock of Graham and Mary Cubitt of Glarryford, Ballymena, has been awarded both the title of Champion Flock in the 2018 NI Dorset Flock competition and also 2018 Best Small Flock in UK.

In addition to these recent accolades, the past year has had the Kildowney Flock awarded with the 2017 N I Premier Sale Champion, 2017 Carlisle Reserve Champion, and 2018 Carlisle Overall Champion and Reserve Champion.

This is a brilliant reflection on the Kildowney Flock and a wonderful achievement given the quality of sheep and standard of flocks entered for the NI and overall UK shows and sales. With Graham and Mary having devoted a lot of time and effort to the establishing and development of the Kildowney Flock they are no doubt delighted by the results of their efforts. Graham has also taken a keen interest in the development of the Dorset as a sheep breed, serving on Committees and holding various offices within the organisation of the Dorset Horn & Poll Dorset Sheep Breeders’ Association, with this year seeing him take up office as Chairman of the Society having been appointed at the December Council meeting in December.

In order to acknowledge Graham and Mary’s success, Saturday 12th January saw a great attendance of fellow Dorset breeders making their way to the Kildowney farm , to join with the family in celebrating their recent flock winning achievements. In keeping with the recent weather, the conditions were excellent as was the venue and the sheep to be viewed were in great form.

The event commenced with a large turnout of breeders being welcomed by Club Chairperson Amy McConnell, following which Graham gave an outline of the journey made since establishing the flock in 2001. The foundation stock consisted of six ewe lambs being purchased from the Downkillybegs Flock of W&K Carson, all being bred of the renowned Slemish Warrior. With most of the current 40 breeding ewes having been home bred, the blood line of the original foundation stock has been retained and developed since founding the Kildowney name, with the two current stock rams being in co with the Galgorm Flock of M&C Maybin.

Following this, the visitors’ first stop was to view the ram lambs which had been selected as potential breeding stock. These were of superb quality and some of them will be going forward to the inaugural Society Carlisle Spring Sale to be held on 25th March 2019. Nearby, the visitors were able to view December lambing hoggets with young at foot and the plan is that these hoggets will then join the ewes and tups in April for September lambing, this being the commencement of the Dorset year. With the qualities of the two tups having also been viewed, the highlight of the day was the visit to the Kildowney ewes and it was soon apparent why this flock had won the NI Champion Flock Competition, and overall UK Best Small Flock. While the ewes presented as being very uniform in quality, type and prescence, Graham’s knowledge of all the sheep in his flock soon came to the fore with attributes of many of these superb Dorset ewes being discussed and admired by all present. It was very apparent that the high quality of tracking and recording of each individual member of the flock by Graham and Mary has certainly paid dividends both in the show and the sale ring. Graham’s final sentiment was “Having run Dorsets since 2001, I have never considered any other breed”.

The day had been enjoyed by all present and was finished off with a delicious spread of food presented by the Cubitt family and friends. The NI Dorset Club would wish to thank Graham and Mary for hosting this event, and wish them continuing success. Thanks are also due to all who contributed in any way to the success of the day.