the auspices of the 'Signet' Sheepbreeder, 10 Bleu du Maine
members began recording within the group Blue Sires. Evaluating
breed traits primarily of the ewe and identifying the best
of these animals was the aim in the first year (1998) and
then following through with a breed improvement programme
using selected high performing (high SI) rams from the scheme.
Where possible, only genotyped R1 rams would be selected
with the best breed conformation, as this would speed up
the process of increasing breed resistance to scrapie, as
well as passing on those traits of fast lean growth to animals
in Blue Sires flocks.
1998, 430 ewes were entered in the scheme and 25 stock sires
were used. Results from 625 lambs were analysed.
founding members with large flocks decided to retire from
farming in 1999 to be replaced by two new members in 2000.
Only 253 ewes using 20 stock sires were recorded in the
scheme in Autumn 1999.
from 412 lambs were analysed.
selection of high index rams depended on assessing them
as ram lambs. Linear assessment charts were completed for
measuring conformation, muscle development, movement and
ram lamb lists were run to show lambs (born Jan - March)
above 120 points on the scheme index. Of the 70 ram lambs,
48 has been scanned at 21 weeks.
were inspected by a judging panel and assessed for correct
lambs were selected and retained for breeding purposes.
At scanning they had averaged:
2000, movement restrictions on livestock were imposed due
to the foot and mouth disease outbreak in the UK. This coincided
with a decision for the judges to assess only shearling
rams (18 months old) on members' farms. These were ready
for sale or to be retained for group use as 'core' rams.
It was noticed that the stock rams only developed their
full potential as shearlings All stock rams are genotyped
R1 or R2. By 2002 the top10% of stock sires had a SI>198.
information on the SRS is available at the Blue Sires website:
lambs and Shearlings are for sale from Blue Sires members
Scanned Indexed Recorded Evaluated
Bleu du Maine Sire Reference Scheme in the UK
more information on genetics check out www.cbstechnologies.co.uk