Last weekend the Southern Ireland Lleyn Sheep Society hosted a national open day on the farm of David Beattie outside Ballinagh, Co. Cavan. The farm is made up of mostly heavy soils meaning it’s ideal for sheep farming and the Lleyn breed suits David’s enterprise.

The day started off with an introduction from David, giving the background into his farm and how it was originally a dairy and beef farm with some sheep until his father passed away and the farm was leased out on a long-term lease.

Niche market

David bought in Lleyn sheep originally to breed to terminal sires such as Texel and Suffolk, however he realised there was a niche market for these sheep and decided to fine tune and stay purebred. The 120 acres of land and winter grazing carries 300 ewes and followers.

David was followed by renowned vet Finbarr Kiernan who spoke about his own personal experience with Lleyn sheep and general sheep husbandry. Finbarr told the crowd that he bought Lleyn sheep when he first started sheep farming and why he is very fond of them.

Finbarr has a substantial sheep enterprise alongside his chickens and cattle as well as his veterinary practices.

“I don’t do much of the donkey work on the farm anymore and when we veered away from the Lleyn sheep, I wasn’t long being told they had to come back” he said.

This is largely down to the maternal traits for these sheep been second to none as both Finbarr and David pointed out.

The walk proceeded to a field where David spoke about his reseeding plan and how he has under sown stubble turnip to finish lambs off in the autumn.

“There’s more benefit in putting the money into the land than spending it on ad-lib meal and I have done both” David told us.

Shortly afterwards renowned sheep dog trialist David Oliver gave a display that not too many could match, working three dogs in a field of 200 sheep or more, he picked a batch of seven ewes and 14 lambs roughly and separated them into a field where he worked them into a pen with the aid of his three dogs.

David was aided by his family and friends on the day as well as club members to run the day so successfully while providing refreshments for everyone present on the day.