A club covering everything to do with Valais Blacknose sheep has been established in Northern Ireland.
The club, the first of its kind in the Province, is for anyone with an interest in the breed.
The Valais Blacknose Club NI was founded by breeders Diane Lowry, of Slieveroe Valais Sheep, Emma Conway, Cavanlee Valais, and Adam Frazer, Brookmount Valais, with funding from the NFU in Strabane, County Tyrone.
The financial backing from the NFU means the club is able to keep its annual membership fee at the relatively modest £10 for this year.
“It is our aim to promote the Valais breed and share knowledge and information relating to breeding standards, registration, showing, etc, and provide a platform where members can ask advice, share tips and post pics,” said Diane.
“The club plans to run valais shows for members (online for now). When restrictions allow we can all attend the shows and encourage other enthusiasts to take part.
“We aim to approach agricultural shows and request that they include Valais Blacknose classes in their livestock schedule.”
Diane added: “We plan on running demo evenings covering a wide range of topics to include show prep, breeding, sheep health and much more with guest speakers specialising in various topics.
“These club evenings will enable existing breeders to meet and will enable potential owners a chance to gain some knowledge of the breed and other valuable information before purchasing.”
Valais Blacknose originate from the Valais region of Switzerland. They are a dual purpose breed, being kept for both their wool and meat.
The breed is now rare and numbers in Switzerland have reduced over the years because of the reintroduction of the wolf to the area.