Mayo Mountain Black Face Sheep
In 2005, 50 hill farmers in west and north Mayo established a pure breeding Blackface producer group. Membership has since expanded to 150.
Blackface Sheep Group Aims
Photo: Martin McManamon, Rockfleet, Newport receives prize from John Noonan, chairman at the annual Mayo Mountain Blackface sale.
About the Blackface Sheep Breed
The Mayo Blackface ewe is generally weighing around 60kg liveweight, and when under lowland conditions is capable of producing 1.5 lambs reared/ewe to the ram. They are noted for mothering ability, hardiness, milk traits and resistance to scour. When crossed with a terminal sire such as Suffolk/Texel they are capable of producing lambs that reach French weights quickly.
The Blackface ewe forms the basic for producing replacement stock for many lowland producers. They are crossed regularly with Bluefaced Leicesters, Border Leicester, Cheviot and Belclare to produce highly prolific ewes that are compact and easily maintained. Members select from their flock, stock that are sound of feet, udder and mouths and are suitable for breeding.
This first cross ewe in turn should be crossed with a meat sire to produce an ideal lamb for the French market or the light trade, while availing of the hybrid vigour of the three way cross.
Members of the Blackface Sheep Group are involved with ICBF (Irish Cattle Breeding Federation) in recording sheep for the new MALP project.
Blackface Mountain Ram Group
The Mayo Connemara Mountain Ram Blackface Group was established in the early 1960s. The group promotes the breeding of quality premium rams to produce pure breeding stock for the industry. These rams are highly sought after from various part of the hill areas of the country. There are a core group of 30 specialist breeders within the group.
Photo: Judging rams at the annual ram sales day
See the sales page for up-to-date information on blackface sheep sales.