Students Shannon Jackson, Connor Jackson Reed, lecturer Shelly Whitfield, student Bethany Houghton, lecturer Jonathan Stables and students Jordy Shelton and Kathryn Jordan show off the new arrivals the Charmoise (left) Bleu Du Maine (right)

Two New Special Arrivals For Houghall Campus

Tue, 2002-07-09 01:00

New arrivals: (L-R) Students Shannon Jackson, Connor Jackson Reed, lecturer Shelly Whitfield, student Bethany Houghton, lecturer Jonathan Stables and students Jordy Shelton and Kathryn Jordan show off the new arrivals the Charmoise (left) Bleu Du Maine (right)

East Durham College’s Houghall Campus has two exciting new arrivals as the farm has taken delivery of two new rams.

The rams, one a Bleu Du Maine and the other a Charmoise, have been acquired by the Durham-based College for a breed comparison project to see how they compare to each other as well as other breeds at the College.

The Bleu Du Maine has joined the College from a flock of over 100 pedigree Bleu Du Maines from Robin Johnson’s Low Winholme Farm in Northallerton, North Yorkshire.

Lecturer in land based studies at Houghall Jonathan Stables, who has his own flock of Bleu Du Maines, believes they are the perfect choice to show students about this important farming process.

Jonathan said: “The Bleu Du Maine is very useful. Lambs are fast growing and produce good carcases with high meat to bone ratio and minimum fat levels.

“Bleu Du Maine cross ewes produce high levels of milk, are easy to lamb, have a high lambing percentage and produce a first rate butchers’ lamb when crossed to other continental rams.

“The ram will be evaluated along with other breeds for lamb birth weight, eight week old weight and 21 week old weight; and also the prices we receive for the different lambs and how they dress out as a carcase."

The Charmoise isn’t a well-known breed at present and was first brought to the attention of the College staff and students at this year’s National Sheep Show in Yorkshire.

After a discussion with the Charmoise society, they kindly offered to donate the Houghall campus a ram so that students could monitor and record the ram’s performance; feeding the information back to the society for their own testing records.

College agriculture lecturer Shelly Whitfield added: “The ram we received from the Charmoise society was showing at the Great Yorkshire Show this year.

“Here at Houghall we are aiming to closely record the ram’s performance comparing it to the Bleu Du Maine as well as the Suffolks and Texels that we already have here at the farm.

“The Charmoise has been put to some ewes already and tupped them very quickly. One of the traits of the breed state it’s great to go onto first time lambers (gimmers or ewe lambs) as they lamb easily, the lambs thrive once born and grow very quickly.

“Once the lambs are born the students will be closely monitoring growth and development between the breeds to see which lambs are finished the quickest for slaughter.

“As Houghall has its own on site butchery unit, the learners can also analyse carcase quality to compare the sheep breeds’ muscle depth and fat content.”

Farming staff at Houghall hope to also use this information to one day produce a flock for the Houghall butchery.

For more information on agriculture courses at East Durham Colleges Houghall Campus, please visit eastdurham.ac.uk or contact our student services team on 0191 375 4710.