Countdown to the Royal Highland 2022
20/06/2022

The honour of the judging Bleu du Maine classes at the Royal Highland Show this year lies with Sam Small of the RANDALSTOWN flock, Ballymena, current President and past Chairman of the Bleu du Maine Sheep Society.

"My draw towards Bleu du Maine sheep was inititally commercial but I was always interested in the breeding side of pedigree livestock so as the second son of a dairy farmer, the opportunity to create my own enterprise was at the forefront of my mind".

Sam purchased his first Bleu du Maine in 1989 by wat of four ewe lambs from Billy Robson and Jim Elliot. As a keen advocate of importing sheep from Belgium and Holland, Sam is always keen to expand on genetic boundaries.

Bleu du Maine bred at RANDALSTOWN have been sold to flocks across the water to the mainland and also to Southern Ireland.

"On a personal level we have enjoyed much success at various shows, with two or three female champions at the Carlisle Premier Sale and have sold numerous sheep who have gone on to have show careers for their new owners. A highlight for us was selling RANDALSTOWN Nugget to the PERDI flock who bred exceptionally well and had a sparkling show career" says Sam.

In recent times, Sam has concentrated on promoting the breed within Northern Ireland, which includes being instrumental in re-establising the Northern Ireland breed club; having a Bleu stand at a leading show being the 2022 Balmoral with classes held for the first time in a very long time, presence at an NSA event and continuing to encourage new breeders.

On asking Sam why you should choose a Bleu, his reponse is "they are easy lambing, have good udders with plenty of milk, a high percentage of lambs born, all culminatin in good profit per sheep".

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