Ewe Longevity is propelling parentage recording for the Mayo-Connemara group

Ewe Longevity is propelling parentage recording for the Mayo-Connemara group

Over the month of November, the Mayo Connemara group have been putting in a great effort in setting up a Mayo Connemara Sheep flock book. Tommy Heneghan of the Churchfield flock has been elected chairman of the group. Tommy has been breeding Mayo Connemara for a number of years and felt that the recording done in the past helped improve their ewes and that the group were anxious to keep this going. The group found that each member had amounted data on their own flocks that have built up over the last few years in notebooks and excel files. The group has made a conscious effort to pull as much of this data together as they possibly can. The aim is to ensure pedigree status in the breed and try and improve the breed for characteristics such as mouths and ewe longevity. They have found that using the Sheep Ireland database as their flock book register allows them to have all their data in one place. At the same time, reports such as the ‘Inbreed checker’ will reduce the possibility of inbreeding.

They have recently recorded all the sires put forward for pedigree breeding in 2020. Each of theses rams have had their DNA collected so that it can be used as a base for genetic gain in the breed for generations to come, and allow for any of next years rams to be sire verified.

All members have had the tag number of each ewe as well as their year of birth recorded. This was made easy in many cases where breeders had the year of birth recorded on the inside of sheep’s tag. All ewes were also assessed for being ‘true to type’ in the breed and had a physical assessment done on ewe’s mouths.

To ensure parentage, single sire mating of ewes will take place on each flock. Ewes were assigned into mating groups with their chosen ram, and this was all recorded on the Sheep Ireland database. This record shows up for each ewe at lambing, which allows the breeder to be sure what the correct sire is when recording lambing details during this hectic time of year.

Sheep Ireland was on hand to help out with the data recording and to provide some training. John Noonan (Teagasc) is also involved in helping to co-ordinate, and Ronan Grealis (Bellagaravaun Flock) is contributing his time to get the historic information loaded.

For more information please contact Sheep Ireland on 023 882 0451 or email query@sheep.ie

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