THE Carmavy flock owned by Stephen and Jean McCollam is to host this year’s Texel Club Open Night on Saturday (July 30) at 33 Carmavy Road, Nutts Corner, Crumlin, County Antrim, BT29 4TG.
Farming over 40 acres, Stephen and Jean, along with their daughters Christina and Stephanie, farm a flock of commercial sheep alongside their Carmavy Texel flock. The Carmavy flock has enjoyed a number of successes in the show and sales rings over the years and it is with anticipation visitors look forward to viewing the flock.
The flock was founded in 1994 when the McCollams purchased their first ewes from Norman Wal-lace, Lylehill, and Brian George’s Townland flock.
The Carmavy flock has become well known across Ireland and Great Britain and recognised for its contribution to the pedigree Texel breed and commercial sheep
industry, selling to breeders in Scotland, England, Wales, Isle of Man, Republic of Ireland and, of course, within the Province.
Stephen and Jean lamb their Texel ewes at the beginning of February with most ewes lambed by mid-March so they can meet readiness for pedigree and commercial ram
sales from August onwards. Selling at home, at local club sales, at Lanark and Carlisle has been their sales routine over the years. Stephen and Jean aim to meet buyers’ expectations with the hope that if they are satisfied with their purchase they will return the following year to buy more.
Carmavy has enjoyed many champion and reserve champion-ships in the show ring, won over the years at various shows, both in individual and group classes. Rosettes, banners, and cups have been received both in the Texel, the interbreed class and at Continental sheep finals.
Carmavy has been delighted to win champion and reserve champion at Saintfield Show and the Best Group of Three at Lurgan Centenary Show, but Stephen says: “One of the proudest moments was receiving the Texel Reserve Champion at RUAS Balmoral in 2017.”
In 2020, during Covid, Carmavy entered the Irish Shows Association Virtual Show. Competing with all other breeds, it managed to win first and second prizes along with picking up the champion pedigree sheep honour. Carmavy has re-ceived various placings in the NI Texel flock competition and last year received a trophy for winning both the Medium Flock and ewe lamb competitions.
Stephen and Jean and their daughters keep a close eye on the breeding programme of other breeders. With over 30 years of breeding experience, they focus on carcase and well-filled hindquarters, in keeping with the characteristics of the Texel breed, with one eye closely kept on colours.
Stephen says: “Genetics are very important and when choosing a ram or a ewe, seeing their offspring helps to see the quality and traits being passed on.”
Jean believes tackling one of the most under-estimated health problems, mastitis, is an important aspect for future breeding. She hopes it will be easier in future thanks to pioneering research being undertaken by the British Texel Sheep Society.
The research will be conducted across both pedigree and com-mercial flocks in the UK to see what bloodlines are most resistant to mastitis.
There are currently no effective preventative treatments and Step-hen and Jean are of the opinion there is nothing worse than a ewe taking mastitis.
Stephen and Jean like to introduce a variety of bloodlines into the flock by purchasing new breeding lines at in-lamb ewe sales. Proctors and Auldhouseburn were their most recent purchases. But when it comes to purchasing the male breeding, “we look at many flocks before deciding what’s available and what value is put on a ram before purchasing,” comments Stephen.
In the beginning, pedigree sires were sourced from various flocks such as Downkillybegs, Clogher and Seneril, to name a few.
Recently rams have been pur-chased from mainland flocks Hexel, Sportsman, Castlecairn and Knock.
Stephen and Jean aim to “purchase Texels with size, good confirmation which are well up on their feet and have the ability to move freely around”.
The Northern Ireland Texel Club would like to thank Stephen and Jean McCollam for hosting this year’s Open Night and looks forward to seeing the Carmavy flock. The event is kindly sponsored by businesses that Carmavy trades with and the club extends its thanks for their generosity.
The night will be packed with activities, including stockjudging, trade stands, barbecue, a charity auction and, of course, a tour of the Carmavy flock.
This is an Open Night for all – members, friends, and commercial breeders alike, and the club is delighted to be able to return to this event post-pandemic in the club’s social calendar. A charitable contribution from the event will be made to Prostate Cancer Research, QUB.
Why not join the club for a night of good fun and an opportunity to see some exceptional sheep from the Carmavy flock prior to the busy sales season kicking off with the club’s new sale in Dungannon on August 8.
n Buyers should also note the NI
National Show and Sale is on September 3 in Ballymena Live-
stock Market. Catalogues are
available for all sales to down-
load from the society webpage
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