Lambs growing rapidly

Well, despite lockdown the weather has been amazing lately. The rain has given way to some welcomed sun and the grass that was planted last year has come on in leaps and bounds.

Pictured here is a current ewe lamb favourite PPK2000951 who is by Garngour Alabama and out of our favourite ewe PPK1500526 (who is the mother of 3,400gn Kimbolton Ace).

Covid and lambing

With the UK wide lock down that came into effect today we are entering an unprecidented time and we wish everyone well. We would like to offer our sincere thanks and appreciation for the NHS staff who are battling this demonic disease the like of which this country hasn’t seen for a century.

It is easy to get downbeat about the current situation but we will all need to remain positive and work together to come through this. Farming teaches you many things, but the most important lesson is resilience. This is gained by working hard despite many disappointments. These include not receiving a fair price for what you produce, working in the extremites of the British weather, plus coming to terms with the fact that despite your very best efforts your “best” animal always seems to die.

Despite all of that, the non financial rewards are significant. You get to work with nature in the most beautiful parts of the countryside. Plus in times like these, scenes like the one below fill you with hope for a new tomorrow. Stay safe people.

Warning – pictures of Lots of new born lambs!

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.

Lambing off to a bang despite the rain

Wet, wet wet describes the weather, the rain and wind have been biblical however the ewes have been tucked up securely in the polytunnel.

Things started a little earlier than planned when these twins by our new Ram Hilltop Cobra but they arrived safely.

Lets hope all the careful management and planning pays off and we have a sucessful lambing!

Introducing Our New Stock Sires

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.

Hilltop Cobra

Firgrove Class Act is by 40,000gn Garngour Alabama out of an Eden Valley ewe who is by 30,000gn Knock Yankee.

Firgrove Class Act

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!”

Kimbolton Genetics Continues To Be In Demand

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?

2019 Sheep For Sale List Added

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.

Backfat and Muscle Depth Scanning Completed

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 Over!

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!

Texel Breed Benchmark

If you are looking to buy a performance recorded Texel this year then you need to have looked at a copy of the breed benchmark.

You can download one at the link below:

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.

Pedigree Performance Recorded Texel Sheep