Rumwell Bleu du Maine
History of the Breed
Breed Characteristics
Rumwell Flock and Show History
Sire Reference Scheme
Testing for Genotype
Breed performance figures

Scrapie has been recognised as a sheep disease for over 200 years but recent advances in micro-biology have identified the causative agent as an abnormal protein fibril or prion occuring in nervous tissue where it produces changes, especially in the brain which are similar to B.S.E. All protein production is controlled by D.N.A. codons. All animals which code ARR/ARR (type R1) have full resistance; those which code VRQ/VRQ (type R5) have least resistance and may develop scrapie as they age. Transfer of prions from sheep to sheep is not fully understood although ewes may transfer the abnormal protein to their lambs during lambing.

During 2002 the National Scrapie Plan (NSP) for the UK was established. Stock rams used in pure bred registered and non-registered flocks will be blood tested together with ram lambs to be used for breeding, flock ewes and ewe lambs to a minimum number of animals (40) for a cost effective visit.

A contract for the Rumwell Flock was signed in Summer 2002. This will run initially for 3 years.

An EID device in the form of a ruminal bolus is administered at the time of sampling and the EID number appears on the Genotype certificate with the result of the test.

Picture of blood sample being taken
Blood sample taken for genotype testing

Certificates issued for rams indicate the limitations to breeding if it is not type R1or R2.

For ewes, certifcates are only issued for type R1 and R2 but there is no requirement to cull ewes carrying the VRQ gene.

Genotyping will be carried out in early April at Rumwell so that 8 week old lambs will be tested. Several breeding ewes are typed R4

Stock rams used in the flock this year are all typed R1 except Peridot JER P17 who is type R4 and at 8 years old is still very active!