Breed: Bleu

Breed Characteristics

The Bleu du Maine is a large grassland sheep with distinctive slate blue grey colouring on its head. It is primarily being promoted as a female producer. Its traits of prolificacy, milkieness, easy lambing and improved conformation make it a highly desirable breed given the present constraints on labour, since these time saving qualities all lead to higher profitability. While not used extensively as a terminal sire the breed has the ability to produce lean carcases up to higher weights but is probably best suited to producing an excellent x bred lamb, either as a ewe replacement or finished lamb.

Head & Teeth

The Bleu du Maine's head is slate blue grey in colour. It has no horns, a very alert eye (giving a sharp appearance) and a fairly thick skin. It has large nostrils and ears. The  size of the head in comparison to the body is much smaller than that of most native British breeds, enhancing the female characteristics and giving co-related increased fertility and ease of lambing. Teeth should ideally be short, straight and sit directly on the dental pad. Deviations either forward or back are undesirable.

Feet and legs

The sheep should have fine flat bone structure with neat well balanced feet. Cleats should not be misshapen or open. Pasterns  short, straight and upright.. Well balanced legs, set neither too wide or narrow with light bone. Good balanced mobility is important. The fine flat bone structure and hard deep-hooved feet, contribute to an active sheep that requires very little foot care -  quite a bonus in flock management.

Body

The body is well proportioned with good length of neck leading to a strong, wide and long back with well-sprung ribs giving plenty of volume, all contributing to make it an easy lambing breed.

Testicles & Udders

Rams must have two adequately sized testicles -equally sized.Ewes should have no hardness, lumps and abnormality in the  udder

Fleece

The ewes produce excellent fleeces up t o 9kg in weight, of uniform quality and fibre length, very soft to handle and quite free from kemp and grey fibre. The fleece would be expected to attract a premium and is much sought after by hand spinners.