One of our breeding goals is to ensure ease of lambing as Texel’s are often thought of as problematic to lamb as they are a Terminal Sire breed. Unlike others we don’t select for large heads and shoulders and as a result our number of assisted lambings has reduced over time. This is beneficial to both Sheep and Shepherd as it results in less stress for the ewes and more live lambs.
However despite careful feeding and management, from time to time you can still get a BIG single (my least favourite). The lamb pictured below arrived and weighed in at 8kg which in itself isn’t a monster lamb, but it was born from one of our smaller ewe lines (selected for their efficiency) and the mother weighed 90kg. This combination meant that it was assisted, but Mother and Son are both doing well (Mother naturally had some pain relief).
Lambing is such a special time as seeing new life is truly inspiring. It is my favourite time of the year and I love being with the ewes and lambs and being part of the flock. As a result you get to see some really special moments. The picture below was taken just after Mum had given birth and you can see the exhaustion and relief in her eyes as she cleans off her offspring and forms that vitial maternal bond.
We are delighted to have acquired two exciting prospects at the Scottish National Texel Sale at Lanark on 22nd August.
Hilltop Cobra is by 26,000gn Sportsmans Benchmark out of a ewe by 60,000gn Strathbogie Yes Sir. Cobra was much admired at the sale and was Hilltop’s stand out lamb of 2019. After a bidding battle he was purchased for 7,000gn and is shared with Avon Vale and Stonebridge flocks.
Firgrove Class Act is by 40,000gn Garngour Alabama out of an Eden Valley ewe who is by 30,000gn Knock Yankee.
Both lambs were selected due to their correctness, carcass and skin and they both have excellent EBV’s too.
Commenting on the purchases Paul said “In my opinion Cobra was the best sheep at Lanark and I am delighted that we bought him as I had expected him to sell for much more. Both sheep handle exceptionally well and will add to the flock, I am already getting excited about lambing time!”
With sale season well underway we have been delighted at the interest that continues to be shown in our genetics.
With potentially challenging times ahead for the sheep industry our focus continues to be on producing sheep that grow quickly and have meat in the right places. This approach has been well received by our customers as they seek out ways to make their own enterprises more efficient.
We have been focused on producing a medium size ewe that lambs easily, has great maternal instinct and milks well. These things are absolutely vital to give the lambs the best start in life possible. We actively select replacement ewes based on their maternal ability which surprisngly is something that many breeders who flush and use embryo transfer do not.
What has been particularly pleasing is to see progeny being sold from other breeders that features our breeding. Its enjoyable producing what we sell but lovely when you see that it has done a good job.
Please have a look at the “for sale” page and download the latest list of animals remaining for sale, or have a look at the wide range of semen that is available. Can you afford not to include some Kimbolton breeding in your flock to help you get ready for the changes ahead?
After a busy start to 2019 with a longer than planned lambing I am delighted to say that list of animals for sale for this breeeding season has now been added to the “For Sale” page.
There are animals for sale to suit all budgets with some good Commercial Rams through to breeder animals too.
If you cant find what you are looking for on this list then check out the semen that is also for sale. This represents a cost effective way to buy into some proven genetics as well as reducing the Biosecurity risks associated with bringing any new animals onto your holding.
If you still cant find what you are looking for then give Paul a call and he will do him best to help you, even if this means referring you to someone else.
Today we undertook ultrasound scanning for muscle depth and backfat. This provides a key reference point for data collection and the generation of breeding values.
Ideally this should be undertaken when the lambs weight on average 40kg but as lambing this year was extended over three months it was more of a challenge. So in the end Paul created a spreadsheet that forecast when the suitable date was. This worked well and on the day the average weight turned out to be 42kg, due mainly to some better weather and increased daily live weight gains.
All data was collected and will be included in the next BLUP run which is due on 28th June.
Lambing is always both an enjoyable and emotional time and this year was no exception, but it was also longer due to the decision that was taken to unsucessfully flush three ewes in 2018.
We started lambing on 21st February and carried on until 15th April which is considerably longer than the 19 days we usually strive to achieve. We were fortunate though to have had the additonal help of Molly Hobbs from the Elkstone Flock in the Cotswolds and this really helped move things along and ensure losses were as small as possible. Thank you Molly!
The weather was much kinder than 2018 and it was nice not to have had snow blowing in the buildings!
Each year you always have some comedy moments and one of this years included this ewe who wouldnt move when the shed was being bedded!
Well the grass is starting to slowly grow and the lambs are beginning to bounce which makes you think all the hard work is worth it.
Wont be long now until they have their eight week weights. How time flys when you are having fun!
Fortunately all of the sheep within the Kimbolton flock are at the top end of the benchmark so you can be assured that we have taken much of the hard work out of choosing your next Ewe or Ram. We have been selecting for commericlal traits of importance for over a decade.
Please contact Paul and discuss what you are looking for and he will do his best to help interpret all the data so that you can find something that will do the job for you.
April 1st 2019 will see some big changes to how performance recording is undertaken and delivered, this will mean a number of changes that users of this information need to understand.
The Texel Sheep Society are now providing the recording service directly rather than through Signet (AHDB). This has been done to allow the Society to develop and integrate data collection with its registry services as well as to integrate the outputs from its £3M R&D projects. The service delivered will still use the National Terminal Sire (NTS) evaluation that Signet undertake as its base but will allow TSS to add new Texel specific breeding values as they become market ready. This is a benefit as previously the Texel breed could only move as fast as the slowest Signet customer, but inclusion in the NTS means that both Signet and Texel benefit from data sharing but the Texel breed can move at the speed it chooses to. As the UK’s leading Terminal Sire breed and the UK’s second most popular maternal breed this is really important for the Industry.
The method used to calculate the BLUP evaluations has changed and animals now have their muscle/fat EBVs predicted for a fixed 40kg live carcass weight rather than at a fixed age. This removes double counting within the evaluation and as a reult made the traits more accurate. This has been done to make these traits more commercially focussed as lambs are more commonly drawn for slaughter once they hit the specified weight and fatness cover, rather than at an age. This has resulted in animals being reranked based on the new calculations.
The terminal sire index has been reset to the average performance of the breed in 2010 rather than the base set in 1990. This has resulted in all terminal sire indexes reducing as the influence of 20 years of genetic gain has been removed. A new breed benchmark has been created so buyers can clearly see the changes and understand how an animal is ranked.
In summary, the information provided will be more relevant to commercial producers who wish to produce a 40kg lamb and it will be more accurate, but the overall index will be smaller as a result of 20 years of genetic gain being removed.
If you have any questions about this please contact Paul and he will be happy to talk you through them.
As the leaves on the trees start to turn in what has been a funny old year weather wise, the Kimbolton Flock is pleased to report that it has sold out of sheep for 2018, earlier in the year than ever before.
We have been delighted at the global demand we have seen for our genetics and have sold yearlings to a top of 3,400gn and lambs to a top of 1,500gn in the UK this year. Additionally we have exported shipments to Germany and Holland to both new and existing customers.
As a result we would like to take this opportunity to thank all customers and underbidders for their support and wish them well with their purchases.
Now our thoughts turn to 2019 and lambing, and in the last few days we have AI’d the ewes so lambs will start to appear from around the 24th February. Stay tuned for updates.
What ever Brexit brings in 2019, the Kimbolton Flock will be here with genetics to help you make your sheep business become more efficient, by helping you produce tasty lean meat as quickly as possible.