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Stackyard News Sep 2011

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Rare Opportunity to Buy Heritage Breeds

If you are looking for a Castlemilk Moorit, a Derbyshire Gritstone, a Dexter Bull, or an Indian Runner, you will certainly be amongst the many people that will be at the Borderway Auction Mart on Saturday 17th September.

Hosted by Harrison and Hetherington, the occasion will be the 20th Annual Show and Sale of Rare & Minority Breeds to be held in Carlisle.

2010 Ryeland Breed Champion shown by A & EC Parry of Monmouthshire, and sold for a new breed record price of £1,000

Ryeland Breed Champion

Said to be the largest rare breeds animal and poultry sale in the UK, it is supported by The Rare Breeds Survival Trust. Flocking to the sale from across the country nationwide will be many of the increasing numbers of folk who want to add to their stock, improve their breed or just get started with a new small holding project.

For the owners and breeders selling their stock, the day is a double challenge – the animals enter the ring for the first time at 9am for the judging classes before returning at 9.30am for the official sales.

Entered for the sale are over 615 sheep, cattle and goats, to be sold alongside 1130 lots of poultry and waterfowl. Included within the cattle section is one of the largest sales of Dexters, that has been seen for many years. There will be over 80 lots of Dexter cattle, Europe’s smallest cattle.

The breeds of sheep will include native breeds representing practically every corner of the UK. In the show ring will be:

  • 184 Shetlands (including the Final Dispersal Sale of the Rench Flock)
  • 83 Kerryhills
  • 28 Hebrideans, 2 Soays and 1 North Ronaldsay
  • 18 Black Welsh Mountain Sheep & 18 Welsh Mountain Badgers
  • 59 Ryelands and 38 Ryeland Coloured
  • 16 Manx Loaghtans
  • A Boreray, a Castlemilk Moorit, a Leicester Longwool and a Whitefaced Woodland
  • 15 Hampshire Downs and 6 Dorsets
  • 4 Derbyshire Gritstone, 6 Wensleydales and 4 Zwartbles

Sheep sales in particular are being boosted by a very strong trade in commercial breeding animals across the country, so will records be set once again? Heather Pritchard, Marketing Manager of Harrison & Hetherington, comments: “Last year, the sale set a new breed record price when a Ryeland Shearling Gimmer bred by Messrs Parry of Bryn Hendre, Llangaffo sold for £1000. The bar is already set high for 2011 with prices for prime lambs already running at 15% higher than last year so we will just have to see if this will once again be a record breaking sale.”

Veronica Schofield and her Dexter Champion
Dexter Champion
The other cattle being represented, include, 4 Longhorn Cattle, 2 White Parks, 6 Belted Galloways and 8 Highland Cattle. The 84 Dexters entered include: 6 bulls, 67 females and 11 crossbreds/steers. Originally introduced to this country in 1882, they are now bred for both their meat and their milk and while they may be the smallest breed of cattle in the UK, they look to have a big future.


As more and more people become interesting in small holding, the goats and pig classes are expected to be very popular. Within the sale are:

  • 3 Pigmy Goats
  • 2 British Saanens Goats
  • 5 Oxford Sandy Black Pigs
  • 6 Gloucesters and 6 Gloucester Cross Pietrain
  • 1 Saddleback and 1 Kune Kune

Harrison & Hetherington organises the event on behalf of the many organisations which champion rare breeds – the Dexter Cattle Society, Shetland Sheep, Kerry Hill Sheep and new this year, the Ryeland Sheep. Together, they believe the sale is an important way of showcasing the merits and preserving the blood lines of these important traditional breeds, as Heather explains:

“Over the last twenty years, here at Harrison & Hetherington we have seen this sale go from strength to strength and I am absolutely delighted because it demonstrates that our native breeds have a much more secure future. This year there is a huge amount of stock to choose from, so whatever you are looking for, there will be something to choose from.“

The support from the Rare Breeds Survival Trust also highlights the importance of this event. Formed in 1973, it has been working to preserve native farm livestock. Thanks to them, and the flourishing trade supported by sales such as this, no breed has been made extinct since that date.

With high profile support from presenters such as Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Adam Henson, many rare breeds are now practically household names and becoming much sought after. The bird cages are always surrounded by crowds and this year there will be 1130 lots of poultry and waterfowl. All the birds are card graded.

Each year the show is attended by thousands of keen amateurs and commercial breeders keen to get their hands on rarebreed pedigree livestock. Whether they are hoping to get their hands on one of those Castlemilk Moorits [a breed of Shetland sheep], a Pigmy Goat, an Oxford Sandy Black Pig or simply some chickens for the garden, they all have one thing in common - a love of rare breed animals and the traditional heritage that goes with them. And with more and more people, and their children, keeping chickens, this is now very much a family affair!

For more information please contact Heather Pritchard at Harrison & Hetherington on Tel. 01228 406230 or visit

link Beef Expo 2012 - Three Counties Showground, Malvern
link Glendale Show 2011
link All Systems Go for Countryside Live 2011

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