Hard work ahead of Dales-bred sales

We always try to match the sheep in each pen before the sales.
We always try to match the sheep in each pen before the sales.

We are still busy selling sheep and lambs – now it is Dales-bred ewes, lambs and tups. Last Thursday we sold our Dales-bred draft ewes at Pateley Bridge Auction Mart. We claimed a second prize and our top price was £90.

These are sheep that have all been uncrossed in breeding (always put to the Dales-bred tup) and are correct in their mouth, udder and have had to have lambed this year.

These sheep will last for years on lower ground as it is better going compared to the moor where they have lived nearly all their lives. They normally have very short teeth when they have been on a moor so will last a long time. The longer the teeth, the more likely they are to become broken mouthed.

When we buy tups we try to buy them with good mouths. If they have bad mouths when we buy them they will pass this problem to their offspring, so when it comes to selling the drafts there may not be as many correct ewes.

Getting the sheep ready does take some time. You need to check mouths and their udder, but if they are correct then they will hopefully make more money.

Sometimes if they are only making the price they would be to cull we could keep them on our better ground and cross them to the Blue Face Leister or Teeswater.

We also dipped them in some colour to make them look the same and then sorted them into different pens. We try to get them all to match in each pen, so there are some lighter pens and darker pens of ewes and the bigger ewes were in the first few pens then they were an average in the other pens.

My Dad and I sold them in the ring with help from my cousins Melissa and Jessica.

Jessica loved showing the lambs. I have never seen a five-year-old run around the ring with so much confidence.

Maybe we will have to take Melissa and Jessica more often!

We have also been busy sorting the gimmer lambs and shearling tups out for the Dales-bred sheep breeders’ association sales at Bentham. We don’t normally sell gimmer lambs, but due to us losing land we are having to, and there will be probably be more to sell next year.

Our first pen went for £75 each and then the other two for £45 and £42 each, there were quite a few lambs in so we were happy with them. All the lambs had been dipped and Heptovac P twice (Heptovac is a vaccination against pneumonia).

Horned lambs are very susceptible to pneumonia, so jabbing them twice hopefully makes buyers more interested.

When we sold the gimmer lambs it was a draft ewe day at Bentham, but we didn’t take any and we were pleased we didn’t.

My dad thought that we had a better sale at Pateley rather than travelling all the way to Bentham.

We have just been getting the shearling tups ready for the sale at Bentham. In the past we have taken them to Skipton, but we didn’t have a very good sale last year.

There are only two Dales-bred sales, one at Bentham and one at Skipton, but if we leave it until Skipton there is nowhere else to take them so we thought we would try Bentham.

We are the last ones in so there may not be many buyers left after the 196 tups that have been in before us. However, we only need two buyers that take a fancy to one so who knows anything could happen.

We have been giving them a wash ready for tomorrow and making them look their best so I just hope that all the hard work pays off.