One of the first flocks of Blue Texel Sheep in Ireland have been established in Fermanagh. Adrian Richardson and his son, Clive, said they had gone back to the origins of the Texel breed in Holland, to introduce a new benchmark for commercial farmers in Northern Ireland.
And with pedigree Texels selling for big money at the national Scottish sale at Lanark at the end of the summer, they decided to look at the Blue Texels.
The Richardson family are no strangers to pedigree livestock, enjoying ongoing success with pedigree cattle. However, breeding sheep are now back at Hillview after 20 plus years.
"The shape and confirmation of this breed of sheep is exactly what I like when purchasing lambs," said Adrian, who has an eye for good butchers lamb, having spent many years in the trade.
The Blue Texels which the family have imported from Holland are among the most recent breeds introduced into the United Kingdom some 10 years ago.
The annual sale at Worcester Livestock Market on September 1 proved to be a "rip roaring trade" with females being hotly contested by a packed ringside of buyers, topping �1500 gns for a shearling ewe and ewe lambs to �950 gns. Shearling rams made �840 gns and a ram lamb sold for �1280 gns.
"The commercial buyers are certainly on to the breed here in England, Wales and Scotland. The breed has become very sought after with buyers realising the need for easy lambing, quiet, manageable stock and easy to finish lambs with great grades," explained Society Chairman, Andrew Pajak.
The Richardsons travelled to the Netherlands with two neighbours, Gordon Buchanan and Marshall Wright, who went with an open mind, but on seeing how different and easy to maintain this breed is, between them they invested in nearly 70 pedigree blues.
"It wasn't our intention to purchase so many when we set out for Holland, but the more flocks we visited the better the quality of stock on offer became," said Clive, who organised the trip.
"They are a joy to work with, even our neighbours can't believe how quiet and docile they are, more like a family pet than a wild grazing animal. It's a great incentive to get my young family involved, because they love them," he added.
Clive is promoting the breed through a new website which is to be launched shortly; www.richardsonpedigrees.com He also explained until further flocks have been established in Ireland, he will be affiliated to the British Blue Texel Sheep Society, where a number of flocks have been established and where there have been breed sales.