THE honour of judging the Bleu du Maine classes at the Royal Highland Show this year lies with Sam Small of the Randalstown flock, Ballymena, current President and past Chairman of the Bleu du Maine Sheep Society.
He said “My draw towards Bleu du Maine sheep was initially commercial but I was always interested in the breeding side of pedigree livestock so, as the second son of a dairy farmer, the opportunity to create my own enterprise was at the forefront of my mind.”
Sam, pictured above, purchased his first Bleu du Maine in 1989 by way of four ewe lambs from Billy Robson and Jim Elliot. As a keen advocate of importing sheep from Belgium and Holland, Sam is always keen to expand genetic boundaries.
Bleu du Maine bred at Randalstown have been sold to flocks in Great Britain and also to the Republic of Ireland.
“On a personal level we have enjoyed much success at various shows, with two or three female champions at the Carlisle Premier Sale and have sold numerous sheep who have gone on to have show careers for their new owners,” says Sam.
In recent times he has concentrated on promoting the breed within Northern Ireland, which includes being instrumental in re-establishing the Northern Ireland breed club, having a Bleu stand at a leading show, presence at an NSA event and continuing to encourage new breeders.
On asking Sam why you should choose a Bleu, his response is “they are easy lambing, have good udders with plenty of milk, a high percentage of lambs born, all culminating in good profit per sheep.”
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