Why Border Leicesters?– Quite simply because they make you more money!
The success of any flock is through the strength of its females! In the Australian prime lamb industry, the development of the Border Leicester / Merino cross ewe has proven to be the backbone of its success. This magnificent, highly productive ewe produces the majority of Australia’s high quality grass fed lambs that in recent years has seen exports go to nearly 100 countries, plus a rapidly growing domestic consumption through the restaurant trade.
Australia’s dominant sheep breed is the Merino based on its wool production. Besides the huge production advantages that can be made through hybrid vigour, the crossing of Border Leicester rams over the readily available Merino ewes, produces a ewe that has superior maternal and meat producing traits.
The Border Leicester x Merino cross ewe has become renowned for producing and raising high percentages of top quality lambs that grow rapidly to heavy weights. More lambs per head and/or unit area; more dollars per lamb in less time greatly increases any producer’s profitability.
The Border Leicester / Merino crosses still produce good quantities of wool, which despite being stronger micron than most Merino fleece wool, still has an important market niche and demand. The clean points of this cross give a clear husbandry and management advantage. The wether portion of the first cross grow quickly in ideal conditions and produce good large lean lamb.
The first cross (both ewe and wether portion) also have a superior skin with the elimination of wrinkles and ribbing; these being huge devaluation factors in the skin trade. This superior skin value is also extremely important when passed onto the ‘second cross’ lambs in the prime lamb industry; an economic advantage often overlooked by producers.
The Border Leicester ram can have a huge role to play in any commercial sheep producer’s economic outcome.
Medium size, smooth crown, medium width in forehead, and even down the face to slightly Roman nose, deep through from eye. Line of bottom law to correspond in arch shape with Roman nose. Free from wool and well covered with white soft hair, occasionally a black spot will appear, brown spots undesirable.
Clean-cut showing quality, strong jaw, teeth meeting evenly and not extending beyond the pad, broad nostrils, wide and dark.
LEGS & FEET
Medium length, with strong flat bone and squarely set under, well apart and evenly balanced appearance, covered with white hair, free from wool, dark hoofs preferable. Brown or rust spots undesirable. Pastern should be medium length and strong.
Full and prominent, but mild and placid, with a quiet gentle expression.
Lively, mobile, thick medium size and semi-erect, white inside and out, well covered with white hair, black spots occasionally appear.
Medium length, tapering nicely from the head and strongly set in at shoulders.
Wide, level with back, with plenty of heart room, no depression behind blades.
Broad, deep, well formed, brisket carried well forward.
Straight, good length, broad with wide flat loin, evenly covered with flesh that is firm to touch.
Well sprung, deep body well let down forming good underline.
Broad square and deep, leg of mutton well let down, tail well set on.
Pink and mellow to touch.
The fleece should be uniform, 34-38 micron quality and evenly covered with a soft handling lustrous wool, good length of staple with a bold, broad lock, crimp well defined, carrying out well from skin to tip, dense on the skin and should fill the hand well having a weighty feel, free from wastiness or fribbyness on belly line and extremities, with no kemp or coarse fibres running through the fleece. The whole body including brisket, belly, purse and neck should be well covered, in the case of rams the fleece to be slightly stronger.
Evenly and symmetrically balanced at every point, it should be free and noble in appearance, head carried boldly and alert showing character, should be able to move freely and carry itself in a majestic manner.
Testicles even in size, soft to handle, evenly hung.