Chairman:¬†Gill Adams (Flock 847)¬†01872 501749 firstname.lastname@example.org¬†
Secretary: Cathy Evans, Oldaport Barn, Modbury, Ivybridge, Devon, PL21 0TG
Telephone: 01548 830842 ¬† Email: email@example.com
Vice-Chairman: Paul Eckett (Flock 2185) 01258 472836
Secretary: Cathy Evans (Flock 150)¬†firstname.lastname@example.org 01548 830 842
Treasurer: Shelagh Longly (Flock 1718)¬†01822 880294 email@example.com
Promotions Officer: John Adams (Flock 847)¬†01872 501749 firstname.lastname@example.org
2017 West Country Club Lleyn Breeders Open Day - see report & photos [HERE]
The West Country Club is a friendly group and welcomes all new members. We usually hold Club events in January, May, August (AGM/Open Day) and September. We all get together at our Annual Dinner in November and we organise a biennial Flock Competition, which alternates with our Young Shepherd Competition.
INTERACTIVE FORUM DISCUSSIONS, TEDBURN ST MARY. 7th January 2018
The forum was intended to be very interactional and so it proved to be. Thanks to the very many people who contributed to the discussion. Three topics were covered:
(i) Keeping your lambs alive after birth.
(ii) Benchmarking - does the Club want to set up a scheme?
(iii) LLEYN GOLD and what it can do for your flock.
Summaries of the discussions were circulated to members and copies are available if you are interested (email@example.com or 01872 501749).
MAY EVENT HELD AT MEADWAY FARM
The Club enjoyed a sunny day at the Shellards in the most delightful¬†setting, overlooking the Mendip Hills in¬†Somerset, which was a lovely social event and also very instructive. Dudley and Ruth provided a really wonderful lunch for about 30 lucky Club members. Many thanks also to Alison Crudge, Sarah Eckett, Cathy Evans (and others) for their contributions and help.¬†
We walked around to see the Shellard flock before lunch and the sheep were looking very well, including the pet lambs, who followed us around the whole time. Dudley had prepared some judging competitions in the barn, which kept everyone happily occupied until lunch was ready.
After lunch we were given a very interesting talk by Pat Grace from Agrimin. Pat was a truly interactive speaker and was more than willing to answer all our questions. I think that every one of us took away some valuable learning from his talk. Pat then gave a demonstration (on Dudley's shearling ewes) on the best way to administer boluses.
Afterwards, in order to fortify ourselves ready for our journeys home, it was essential that we all consumed a large number of cakes and tea before we set out!
Ewe and lambs ‚Äď Photos sent by Sarah Eckett.
CLUB‚ÄôS 27th ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING & OPEN DAY ‚Äď Sunday 5th August 2018
'What a lovely day! Remembering it will brighten up some gloomy winter evenings.'....60 farmers had a truly memorable time at the West Country Lleyn Sheep Breeders Club event hosted by Cathy and David Evans at Oldaport Farm near Modbury, Devon on Sunday 5th August.
David explained that, back in 1981, Shirley & Ralph Evans bought five Lleyn ewes and were so impressed at the first lambing - the Lleyn were so easy to lamb, had more lambs per ewe and looked after the lambs well - that they immediately decided to have a flock of pure Lleyn and bought ewes from the best flocks at that time.
In addition to the registered Lleyn, the Evans' kept a flock of non-Lleyn commercial ewes. However, lambing was chaotic - 'We found them to be poor mothers, so we sold them and replaced them with a flock of Lleyn put to terminal sires (Texel, Suffolk & Hampshire tups). Eventually, we had over 1000 sheep.' Cathy, their daughter, took a sabbatical 'year' from her horticultural studies and has stayed with the Lleyn ever since.
1989 saw the family move to Oldaport Farm in South Devon. The farm is in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) and is of great archaeological interest. It is very steep in places with mostly loam soil. Rainfall is around 34 inches (normally!).
Cathy ran the flock with Shirley until, in 2008, David, Cathy's brother, and his family moved to Oldaport, allowing David and Cathy to run the flock together.
'The flock is basically closed with no females being bought in. However, we do buy rams to ensure new bloodlines and avoid in-breeding. Our main stock ram at the moment is Tacho Force, purchased from WJ & DJ Williams (Flock 350) at Exeter Lleyn Society Sale in August 2017. He was the top priced ram and took the overall Ram Championship at Exeter Pre-sale Show.'
The flock has been Signet recorded since its formation. However, 'these days, to monitor and improve flock performance, we use LLEYN GOLD, a Lleyn Sheep Society recording scheme'.
'Lambing (around 200%) usually takes place at the end of February and early March to take advantage of the (slightly unreliable) spring grass. Ewe lambs are kept and, when shearlings, some are retained as flock replacements but the rest are sold through the Society Sales (mainly at Exeter) along with a small number of carefully selected registered rams. Most (castrated) ram lambs are sold to Jaspers at 40 kg minimum weight. In 2017, 14% were U, 86% R; 82% were 3L; 18% 3H. In addition, some meat lambs are sold to local pub/restaurants, where their quality and flavour are appreciated.'
The farm walk was notable for the fantastic views from the 'hogs back' and the quality of the Lleyn ewes - their style and their conformation/condition, especially considering the almost total lack of grass this year. The lambs did have the valley bottom and a stream and looked good on the still short pasture.
One local farmer told me 'he had bought 20 of the Evans' ewes last year and had had 42 lambs 'ready now', even in this difficult year.'¬†¬†¬†¬†
Back for tea - 'an absolutely splendid tea and cake spread' with the bonus of judging a set of ewes and guessing the weight of a pen of lambs. Two new Lleyn breeders (Michelle Moore and Carla Finch) put the ewes in the right order, while Chris Crudge demonstrated his experience by being almost spot on with the lamb weights.
All in all, the Open Day was extremely friendly, enjoyable and informative, bringing together lots of old friends and many new faces - 'We're here and are going to buy Lleyn, not just because the sheep look good, but because everyone is so friendly and helpful'.
See further pictures below - click on the arrows to move through them
FUTURE EVENTS FOR 2018/2019
22nd August¬†- Show on the evening before the Annual Sale at Exeter - starts at 5.30 pm - followed by West Country buffet.¬†
23rd August¬†- Annual Lleyn Sheep Society Sale at Exeter Market - For details, ring Kivells (01392 251261)
September Farm Walk - to be Arranged¬†
8th to 12th October¬†- Club Flock Competition - judged by Richard Twose.¬†
12th October¬†- Annual Dinner at Gypsy Hill Hotel, Exeter.
This site will be updated with a list of later events in due course.
If you would like to know more about the Club, or the breed, or to get more details about any of the future events, please contact one of the officers above.