mardi 21 décembre 2010

Gilles Delorme

Click  on the image to enlarge
LINK  Yesterday in my inbox was a mail sent to a yahoo group with over 700 members. It was from the owner of the forum list Gilles Delorme. He has made the decision to close the list due to ill health. His website (above) on the ouessant sheep was entirely responsible for getting me hooked on this little breed of sheep. One of the early pioneers of the breed and at a  time when the internet was still very much in its early days. He created a website and filled it to the brim with all conceivable aspects of owning ouessants, from their history, to their care and so much more at the time there was pratically nothing on the internet about this breed.Not only that but the convenience of generating a website was very much in its infancy. The blog explosion with its simplistic  integral software was nowhere in sight. Even today with the site now effectively mothballed there is much of interest to take from this site. I would like to say a public Thank you to a man who was in a very great part largely responsible in his own way for saving the breed. Without people prepared to embrace  engagement with a wider audience there is no doubt this breed would have likely languished in obscurity

A hearfelt wish that Gilles is able to enjoy a long and healthy retirement from the world of ouessants, we owe you much and wish you well.

jeudi 9 septembre 2010

Cormont 2010 The Aftermath............

Given that the show was some 600 kilometres from home and that this year I was taking 8 sheep and returning with 10,  I decided the only way for the sheep to travel was in style. I rented a small horse box. I don't generally get to go away very often so this was my annual holiday and I had every intention of treating it as such. The sheep were comfortable in the back. I had loaded up the van with every conceivable item I thought I might need  and a few surplus ones  and we set off at a leisurely pace. Within twenty minutes drive of my front door  are major arterial roads which makes travel very easy. The traffic was pretty much as always, non existant and we rocked along to some thunderous tracks from U2, Queen and Robbie Williams before we knew it Cormont was in sight and it was all too easy. Unload the sheep, the obligatory measure and paperwork, check out the competition....hmm stiff!

There were quite a few members of GEMO who had made it from all parts of France and so we spent the evening eating, chatting and dancing................ OK we mainly watched others dancing, I'm not a great one for Breton dancing so Flemish dancing was well, a little too close to home. 
The following morning an early start to check on how the sheep had spent their night and then the visitors started to arrive, the mix of languages was fantastic and we all talked a common language sheep.


The girls in their pen , you may spy a stray ram in there thats Anakin, I didn't think he wanted to take his chances meeting the rams at the show. If there are any lambs in five months we know who's responsible!

As I suspected getting going was not that punctual and of course everything over ran by ages including lunch and we found that already most of the day had gone and still classes to judge. The french have no sense of urgency, its all very social and relaxed except its hard to relax when you can see the schedule slipping by hours, guess I still have some way to go to integrate!

I don't usually take so many sheep but this year there was an added incentive. The possibility of getting the sheep confirmed as meeting the breed standard. I admit this is a huge step forward and a welcome one. I entered four adult sheep ( only adults get confirmed). César who at five years old is begining to look his age he is age greying and has lost a couple of teeth. In his prime he was place deuxième prix , despite his age he was classed and awarded the same. The entry for the black adult rams was disappointing and I don't think its because of a lack in the breed just one of those things. One of my "new" girls is a veteran of the show circuit already being a champion of France so she took things in her stride but age and stiff competition was against her in the champion of champion classes and the  class went to her breeder for both the rams and the ewes but younger models. All four adults entered got their certificates of conformity to fill in. YAY! It is a very nice feeling to know that finally and after a little kicking and screaming we have entered a new era in  the breeds history.


César, Faolan and Koudou pretty laid back about the whole affair. The day and the weekend was a good one, a chance to catch up with friends, a chance to make some new ones and a chance to talk  sheep and there were some very interesting conversations, more on that another time. The two greys were both entered in the "other colours" class, I can't remember seeing such a big and good entry. Faolans breeder got special mention, no prizes were awarded for the other colours category, Faolan was next to his sire and I was pretty pleased to see the both of them out there. 
 Prize presentation time and  on se fait la bise. Before I knew it, it was all over and time to load up. I decided to make the drive back that evening despite the long route I knew the sheep would benefit from getting back as soon as possible and I longed for my own bed so, turn up the volume and drive back to Brittany. I unloaded the sheep as soon as I arrived which meant them going into the fields in the dark. The newbies were kept in as they weren't familiarised with the layout or the rest of the flock but it meant most had a chance to de-stress a little before the morning.

I'm not sure how long these links will stay viable but heres the news as seen in France with thanks to "palers" for the links
La Voix du Nord


Le Telegramme

Here is the list of winners as noted once again by Palers. Its still not the official confirmation from GEMO and I'll post a link when it gets published

Béliers blancs ( adultes et antenais ): Honneur. François Pensyn ( 62 ). 1. Dominique Morzynski ( 23 ). 2. Hervé Vaillant ( 35 ).

Brebis blanches : Honneur. Dominique Morzynski. 1. Dominique Morzynski. 2. Hervé Vaillant ( 35 ).

Antenaises blanches : Honneur. Dominique Morzynski. 1. Parc d'Armorique ( 29 ). 2. Ecomusée de Rennes ( 35 ).

Bélier noirs . Pas de prix d'honneur. 1. André Delepoule ( 59 ). 2. Renée Hemming ( 22 ).

Antenais noirs. Honneur. Patrice Royer ( 59 ). 1. Dominique Morzynski. 2. Ecomusée de Rennes.

Brebis noires : Honneur. Ecomusée de Rennes. 1. André Delepoule. 2. Ecomusée de Rennes.

Antenaises noires : Honneur. Patrick Carré ( 29 ). 1. Claude Billès ( 22 ). 2. André Delepoule.

Prix d'ensemble : Honneur. Dominique Morzynski. 1. Hervé Vaillant. 2. Ecomusée de Rennes.

Couples : Honneur. Patrice Royer. 1. Dominique Morzynski. 2. Claude Billès.

Champion des champions : Mâles. Patrice Royer. Femelles. Patrice Royer.

Mention " autres couleurs " : Claude Billès.

So thats it for another year. What fun I would do it all again in a heartbeat, must be mad!

lundi 6 septembre 2010

We're Back! and Knackered


Had a great time, lots of news and views but for now a little time to catch up on sleep, and life, more later!

mardi 10 août 2010

GEMO National Show 2010 Le Touquet Calais 05.09.10 Details


















I have had a number of people asked me re the details of this years show. So for those who are interested.

Sunday the 5th of September Judging is due to start at 10.30 am ( This is earlier than in recent years to allow a reasonably early finish. )

A break for lunch is usually between 12.00-12.30  and 14.00 with the prize presentation due to start around 15.30. These are approximate times and likely to vary a bit once things get under way but its a plan.

There may be some early morning checking in and measuring on the morning of the show for local entrants but as a number of exhibitors will have travelled up the day before many will be checked on the saturday afternoon.

The Categories as usual are judged by age and colour.

1st group: Whites in three sections
Adult and Yearling Rams
Adult Ewes
Yearling Ewes

2nd group: Blacks in four sections
Adult Rams
Yearling Rams
Adult Ewes
Yearling Ewes

3rd group: Browns and Other Colours:

The Best Pair: - A new category this year.  Ewe and Ram shown together of the same colour.

The Best Group: Comprising of  a Ram, a Ewe and a Yearling Ram and Ewe.

Two Awards for the Best Champion Ram and Ewe ( all colours ) 

There are usually some special mentions for those who have contributed in some way toward this year show or who stood out for one reason or another.

The Venue is at the Parc De l'Abbé Engrand Cormont (Dept 62)

Link to Michelin map
If you would like more info then just send me a mail

vendredi 16 juillet 2010

22nd National GEMO Event 05 September 2010 Cormont



















Yep we're going chicken! This year the national competition will be held at the Parc de L'Abbé Engrand Cormont 62  300 miles from Brittany, we're going to make a weekend of it!
The event is a poultry exhibition, I do hope I'm not too tempted to take a few home.  I understand a few other  breeds of sheep as well as around 100 ouessants currently entered.There is also a regional market.

Currently I'm looking over the sheep to see who will be good enough ( hopefully) to go. The sheep are fully vaccinated against blue tongue ( serotype one and eight) and are blood tested as free from brucellosis. I have decided to travel in comfort rather than the old van who is getting rather tired and has a lot of mileage on her so look out for the plush sheep mobile en route. I have no idea what to expect this will be new territory for me, a chance to see some of the ouessant sheep from the east of France. How much dutch influence will there be and hopefully there will also be the chance to meet up with some breeders. Calais isn't far away it would be nice to see some come over from the UK  as well as being close to the Belgian border making it far easier for breeders to come from Holland and Germany, should be good!

mercredi 14 juillet 2010

Electronic Identification - The Saga Continues......








As supplied by Shearwell UK

Last week I got my letter through from the EDE (Bretagne) explaining all about electronic identification    
( microchipping) of sheep and the regulations. For all lambs born after July 2010 its compulsory...... OK so here's the rub After all the information and blurb in the literature my attention was drawn to this phrase.

Attention:
La boucle électronique BOUTON + PENDENTIF est le seul modèle agréé par le Ministre jusqu'à présent.
. Il n'existe pas de modèle électronique en BARRETTE SOUPLE ou en BOUCLE QUICK ( moutons d'ouessant, chèvres naines)


Link to explanation and regulations in French

What a complete waste of time!

Having sat through several GEMO meetings each time the subject of electronic identification was raised we were assured it wasn't a problem and that ouessants would be able to be tagged without the risk of having to put in oversized tags now the best we can get is something suited for cattle and large breeds of sheep. I rang my EDE and explained "only got tiny sheep blah blah" disembodied voice replied "no choice large tags are obligatory". No point arguing with an automaton, so I ring my DDSV now renamed DDPP I'm still waiting for them to return my call.

I thought that the UK was behind, there has been lots of discussion on the lists of lambs ripping out the larger tags ( these are standard sized lambs) and some models of smaller tags appear better than others but it will take time to shake down. In the meantime.... I cannot retag any sheep who have lost tags with smaller plastic tags unless I  renumber them.







My aluminium tags are supposedly no longer valid and the only bolus currently available in the UK( nothing in France)  is not reccommended for use in ouessant lambs. Not to mention there is a history of them being found in the field having been regurgitated. What a mess.

The Warmwell blog has listed the european parliaments discussions and how they arrived at this legislation. The sharp eye amongst you may spot that those two little black ewes in the photo are infact ouessants. In the UK electronic identification is already underway for this seasons lambs I can only hope ( and pray) that by the time we get to next year something will have been done as at this rate I see my sheep going tagless...

mercredi 20 janvier 2010

Kerdaniel


Every now and then you come across a little piece of history. This flock of ouessants is one of the rare flocks that have remained in the same family for generations, in this case for over 70 years.
Their provenance is impeccable, they have been kept at Kerdaniel, essentially as a closed flock since before the second world war. On my last visit to them this weekend I came away with a couple of new additions for my flock here, to add to those I have already taken home from my previous visit. They are currently still in quarantine so you'll have to wait a little longer to see what I got!
The location is steeped in history, from the entrance, through what was originally a drawbridge and ditch fortifications surrounding the main living quarters, the site has been occupied since the middle ages with parts of the existing residence dating back to the fifteenth century. Classically french, a tall, imposing yet elegant residence complete with tower, set in a gravelled courtyard.
Keeping the ouessants around the lake and out on the lawn makes perfect sense, what better and more picturesque way to keep the grass down. The still, quiet, misty morning set off perfectly the flock as they made their way back to one of the fields.

The Ouessant Sheep originates from the island of Ouessant, part of a tiny archipelago just off the north coast of Finistere, Brittany. The island of terror as it was known to some, was swept by the full force of the atlantic’s weather, the hardy sheep adapted to survive on poor grazing from salty clifftop meadows. It was the women of the island that raised the sheep, renowned for their black wool to weave into cloth known locally as berlinge and their meat with its sweet and delicate taste.

La race "Mouton d'Ouessant" est originaire de l’île d’’Ouessant qui fait parti d’un petit archipel au large du Finistère, Bretagne. L’île de l'épouvante comme c'était connu par certains était balayé par les intempéries de l’atlantique, ces moutons rustiques s'adaptaient à survivre sur les pâturages pauvres des falaises salées. C’était les femmes de l’île qui élevaient les moutons réputés pour leur laine noire à tisser « la berlinge » une étoffe régionale et leur viande avec un goût doux et délicat.

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