Renowned for its easy lambing, carcass conformation and tremendous kill-out traits, the Blue Texel breed is set to make significantly greater inroads within the local sheep sector over the coming years.
Loughgall breeder Jonathan Redmond confirmed that the breed was introduced into the UK 30 years ago.
“But it’s only in more recent times that they have been brought into Northern Ireland. Demand for breeding stock was extremely strong from the outset. However, this is likely to grow still further over the coming years,” he said.
Jonathan manages a pedigree flock of 15 Blue Texel ewes. Lambing gets underway in January.
“Normally I would expect a rearing figure of around 180%,” he said. “The ewes are great mothers. They have plenty of milk and lambs grow accordingly.”
Jonathan ensures that all the nutritional needs of his ewes and lambs are met at all times. This is particularly so, where mineral and vitamins are concerned.
To ensure this will always be the case, he regularly drenches the ewes and lambs with Liquid Gold Sheep, the bespoke mineral and vitamin drench from HVS Animal Health.
The company’s Paul Elwood was a recent visitor to the Redmond farm.
“Ewes should be drenched with Liquid Gold Sheep at this time of the year in order to encourage milk production,” he said.
“The nucleotides in the product will help boost red blood cell counts. This, in turn, should increase ewe vigour and general performance levels.”
He added: “The reality is that an animal can only perform to the level of the greatest deficiency or imbalance in its diet.”
Research has confirmed that for trace elements to be available to stock, they must be of high quality and must link up with one or more amino acids or peptides in the rumen, prior to being absorbed through the gut wall into the blood stream. Stock are not ideally equipped to effect this “link up” and a significant proportion of trace elements and vitamins supplied in conventional form, pass straight through the body and are excreted.
Where sheep are concerned Liquid Gold can be used pre tupping and pre lambing to improve lambing percentages, reduce the number of barren ewes within a flock and to tighten up lambing dates. The dosage rate is 20 mls per ewe.
“Liquid Gold can also be given to lambs, from one month-of-age onwards,” Paul Elwood concluded.
“Lambs born some weeks ago, and are currently outdoors, will particularly benefit from this approach, given the cold conditions they had to endure during the first fortnight of April. The dosage rate is 5 mls per animal.”
For further information, contact HVS Animal Health on: (028) 4483 1700.