The Millennium Bleu

Millennium Bleu Champion
Millennium Bleu Champion

Millennium Bleu Lamb
Millennium Bleu Lamb

Millennium Bleu Shearling
Millennium Bleu Shearling

What a success the Millennium Bleu is. It has created a greater demand for Bleu du Maine females, and is now achieving success in its own right.

In 2000, Council agreed  to promote this cross between the registered Bleu du Maine ewe and a registered Beltex ram with a view to adding additional value to the Bleu female for more commercial flockmasters.

This was the  brainchild of then Bleu du Maine President the late Gavin Shanks who had used the Beltex on some of his Bleu ewes and had been very impressed with the progeny. The lambs benefited from the cross bred vigour, had good skins with improved conformation coming from the Beltex sire, whilst retaining the well recorded attributes of the Bleu ewe with her excellent mothering abilities, prolificacy and plenty of milk.

Gavin Shanks had sold rams privately in 2001. No markets then, as the industry tried to recover from the effects of FMD, and one of these rams was sold to Charles Angus in the northern most part of Scotland in Caithness. Mr Angus was to use this ram on his Cheviot ewes and one of his neighbours, Calum Angus, West Mey Farm, he was so impressed with the female progeny of this cross that after buying many of Charlie Angus’s ewe lambs, he decided to purchase the ram.

The ram has been used as a terminal sire on Texel ewes, in addition to his Cheviot ewes. Calum exhibited Millennium Bleu crosses at the Scottish Winter Fair in 2005, winning the Continental Any other Breed section. Runner up was David Baillie, renowned Beltex breeder from Thankerton in Lanarkshire, whose brother is well known Bleu du Maine breeder William. This second prize winner was the Millennium Bleu on a Beltex ewe. William had achieved the first Interbreed Championship at the Carnwath Show,Lanarkshire in 2003 with a Millennium Bleu which later sold at Carlisle for 1000gns.

2002 saw the first Millennium Bleus offered at the Premier Sale, with William Baillie’s Calla flock achieving 700gns for each of his two lots.  Numbers have increased steadily, with many first time buyers returning the following year for additional stock.  2004 saw females added at the Carlisle Premier sale with an outstanding trade and total clearance. Rams reached 1000 gns for the champion from William Baillie. Two ram lambs from Messrs. Galloway, Clantibuies Farm sold to renowned sheep breeder John Hall of  RH Hall & Son, Inglewood Edge, Dalston, Carlisle for use as a terminal sire on Cheviot ewes. John returned to Carlisle in 2005 to buy two more, this time the 1st and 2nd placed rams, both from Calla. John is impressed with the lambs his ewes are producing and he is able to meet the demands of his lamb buyers.

The Millennium Bleu has also been recognised as a producer of hardy, prolific and milky females. R & L Galloway of Clantibuies Farm, Newton Stewart not only sell Millennium Bleus but purchase back some of their progeny, Millennium Bleu X  Blackface from W & M Galloway, Drumblair Farm, who crosses their draft Blackface ewes from their purebred flock. Fattening the wedder lambs and selling the ewe lambs has helped to increase his productivity and profitability.

The Millennium Bleu X Blackface females are a hardy, tight skinned and well suited to the harsh, often wet conditions of south west Scotland. Crossed to any of the terminal sires ( Suffolk, Texel etc ) the Millennium Bleu X Blackface breed lambs of superior conformation and vigour compared to the more traditional Mule which this area is renowned for producing.