We hope to repeat the Society’s highly successful photographic competition later in the year but, in the meantime, why not send us your pictures of this year’s lambs in time for the next edition of the Ouessant Times in June.
After the last 12 months we all need something to cheer us up, and there is nothing better than some intensive Ouessant lamb therapy! Send your pics, in any size or format, to email@example.com ; The best entries will be published in our next newsletter.
With new software on the website, and running the flock book, we have an opportunity to further improve the presentation and content of the Ouessant Times and its links with other information already on the website.
We’ll be working on this in the coming months and it would be great if more members wanted to get involved.
If you have any ideas or requests for articles you’d like to see in the newsletter, or if you’d like to write your own article, then please do get in contact. We would be more than pleased to support any submissions with editing etc. We hope to publish regular articles highlighting creative people who own or work with sheep.
If you are an artist/photographer/maker and your creativity is sheep-related in any way, we’d love to hear from you. It doesn’t matter whether your craft is a hobby or a business – it’s all about sharing what you do with others and possibly encouraging them to have a go too.
We’d also like to encourage more feedback and discussion of the articles we publish. You’ll see that there is the opportunity to comment below each article and we’ll be saying more about the Society and Social Media in our next edition. Sadly, the forums on the Society website are now outdated and no longer used and will be replaced, but we do want to make sure that members’ voices can be heard. Tell us what you think, or what you would like to see.
Please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Michelle Mcillmurray
Thanks to all members who have renewed their subscriptions for 2021. If you have not yet done so then please act quickly as your membership will be cancelled with effect from 31st March.
With lambing upon us, we look at how best to advertise and sell your sheep.
The Society can help members sell sheep in three ways: through the Society Marketplace, using the online Flock Book and by providing links and contact details to members of the public (with members’ consent, of course).
Adverts on the Marketplace may only be placed by members but are visible to anyone visiting the Society website. Only Registered and Birth-Notified sheep may be offered for sale so that the buyer can check the animal’s pedigree and be sure that it is a pedigree Ouessant. To place an ad, log in to the wesbite, visit the Marketplace (under The Breed) and select ‘New Ad’. A wizard will then take you through completing the information needed to post an ad – you’ll need the sheep’s OSS number, its Date of Birth, its height (if adult) and whether it has wattles or not. Add the contact details you want to share and up to three photographs and it’s as simple as that.
The committee feels that we should be aiming to make the Marketplace the place for non-members to be looking for and buying quality Ouessant sheep.
The Online Flock Book
The online flock book is searchable by members for sheep that are for sale. To flag a sheep as avaliable for sale (or a ram available for hire) log on to the flock book and select ‘Manage My Animals’ (from 1 April) and ‘Flag Animals for Sale/Hire/AI). Please note that if you had flagged up sheep for sale in the old version of the software, the flag will not be automatically caried accross to the new online flock book. Just follow the steps above and the flag will be reinstated.
The contact details that you have chosen to share with other members only are shown on the Members’ Map in the members’ area of the website. This is obviously not available to the general public. Instead, a link to a member’s website is provided (for those members who have requested it) currently under ‘The Breed’, ‘Ouessant Links’.
The Society often receives enquiries from members of the public enquiring as to where sheep might be bought. They are directed to the Marketplace and to the Ouessant Links. It has been suggested that the links to those members who are happy to be contacted by non-members enquiring after sheep for sale could be made more prominent, and expanded to include members who might not have a website or usually be described as ‘breeders’.
If you would like to make your details available to the public as someone who may have Ouessant sheep for sale, or if you would like to add a link to your website to the Links page, then please email email@example.com.
The online flock book will move to a new platform – the Grassroots Online Registry – on 1st April. Your log in details stay the same, but you will see some differences in the appearance of the flock book and in the way that you enter transactions.
Launch of the new Grassroots Online Registry
We have been working hard over the last few months to create a new look Grassroots Online Registry which replaces the old Pedeweb.
The registry can be accessed via the Society website or direct at www.grassroots.co.uk/ouessant.html using your normal OSS membership number and password. It gives access to the whole flock book database and allows you to ‘Manage Your Animal Records’
You’ll immediately notice the new look and colour scheme but the underlying database is unchanged (although accessed more efficiently through the new software). What else is new?
- The system opens with a list of all the animals in your registered ownership
- Click on an animal to view its details, pedigree and progeny list
- Click on the magnifying glass (top left) to search the whole database
- Click on the menu (top right) to make changes – this is now known as ‘Manage Your Animals’
- Click on this magnifying glass (top left) to search for people
- If you have animals for sale – please go to the menu and flag them ‘For Sale’. This information will not have come across from the old system.
The new system also allows you to add images of your sheep. To do this, please download the Mobile App and upload images from your phone.
And the new Grassroots Mobile App
.At the same time as the launch of Grassroots Online, a new mobile app will be avialble. This will give you all your own animal details, in your pocket, even when you have no internet or mobile access. The app is free for the first month, and then a small charge of £1.99 per month or £14.99 for the year is charged by the Developer, not the Society.
You can download Grassroots Mobile App from the Appstore or Google Playstore. Create an App User Name (must be at least 8 characters) and your own password. Then sync the details of all the animals you own using your normal Breed Society Member No and password. If you keep other Grassroots breeds, they can be added to the same copy of the App.
From within the App you can:
- Add images – for your own use or to appear in the Online Registry
- Add notes – for individual animals or groups, including mating records, or reminders
- Report changes direct to the registry ‘on the go’
- Sales – and keep a list of all your buyers
- Births – and apply to Notify or Register
- Deaths – and sales for meat
- Flag animals ‘For Sale’ – to appear in the Online Registry
- Link photos – for your own use or to appear in the Online Registry
The app is very straightforward to use but a ‘step by step’ guide will be available on the Society website from 1st April and may also be found on the Grassroots website https://home.grassroots.co.uk/
Here’s an opportunity to win OSS branded clothing, by sending us your favourite pics of your photogenic Ouessant Sheep. Details of the prizes and the competition rules can be found by clicking below. Entries must be received by 15 November
and will be judged by a panel comprised of committee members Susan Hughes and Jenny Kolot, and member (and professional photographer) Debi Ireland.
Full details of the Competition may be found under News, Competitions in the members area of the website, or follow this link.
The Society was formed in 2005 and, with a couple of hiccoughs along the way, has now grown to over 200 members. We are a charity, but until now we have fallen below the threshold of registration with the Charity Commission.
Our growth means that we must now register, and this gives us the opportunity to review and improve the Society’s structures and governance.
So there are a few topics that we need to talk about at the AGM. I’ll introduce them here, but I hope that we can have a full discussion of them on Zoom.
Having described ourselves as a charity, and having claimed Gift Aid on your subscriptions for the last few years (my thanks to all members who allow us to do this), we have no choice but to register with the Charity Commission by 31 August 2021. This means that we will have to re-write the Society’s constitution, appoint trustees and comply with the Commission’s requirements in a wide range of areas, including accounting, annual reporting and policies for the administration of the charity.
All of this is very doable, but we do need to ensure that the day to day business of the Society continues, and there is a limit to the amount of time that our hard-working volunteers can spare.
Following resignations from the committee last year, we have had just 3 elected officers since the last AGM – a chair, secretary and registrar. I have been covering the treasurer’s functions. In order to ensure balance and a range of views on the committee, we invited the 4 regional reps to join as co-opted members and, following the (groundless) complaint that the committee was ‘corrupt and underhand’ that I wrote to you about in July, I asked four independent members to join the committee to further demonstrate its integrity. I’m very grateful to them for their help, and to all the other members who replied to my email offering their support and assistance.
The enlarged committee has discussed the future and unanimously agreed that a larger committee was a good thing for the Society. We were preparing proposals to put to the AGM, when the requirement for charitable registration and a new constitution became apparent. It strikes me that it would be a wasteful duplication of effort to propose a new constitution, including a larger committee, to the AGM, only for this to be replaced by yet another constitution, and a board of trustees in a few months time. I’m therefore suggesting that we continue with our current constitution, electing as many members of the committee as we can, and co-opting all those additional members who have offered their services. I’d like to see a broad cross section of members, and a wide range of ideas and opinions, in a ‘collegiate’ arrangement to help shape the decisions we take in the coming months to determine the future direction of the Society.
And some of those decisions must include how best we develop the breed in the UK. We shall look at some amendments to the Breed Standard at the AGM, to reflect changes that have already been made in the French standard, and we cover these and the likely French proposals for the future classification of sheep elsewhere in this Newsletter. There has also been a good deal of discussion lately – not all of it particularly well-informed – on the status of white sheep in the UK flock and I believe that this is something that we need to raise at the AGM and that the new committee must consider as a priority.
And the new committee must also look closely at the Society’s communications strategy. Social media has many benefits, but brings with it the risks that we saw exposed during the summer, and which continue to ‘bubble under’. We need to decide what we want to achieve, how best to achieve it and then how the system should be administered. We need clear guidance to members and administrators, with proper safeguards for both, and a clear understanding of what may be said on social media and the distinction between personal views and those of the Society.
With over 200 members, and an ever-growing flock of Ouessants in the UK, I believe that the time has come to move the Society on to the next chapter in its development. We can only do that with the help and support of our members, generously giving up their time, and we must make sure that any changes take into account the needs of all members, the vast majority of whom are enthusiast keepers of small flocks of our wonderful little sheep.
Author: Antonia Clements
We try to answer members queries about the Breed, the law and Society regulations. This month it’s timely questions about registrations and lambs:
How do I register my lambs?
Should I register ram lambs?
What’s the best way to sell my lambs?
How do I register my lambs?
The easiest way is through the online flock book. Log on to the Society website, select Flock Book from the ‘Members’ menu and click on the ‘Log In’ button. The flock book will open, and you should select ‘Manage your Flock’ from the top menu. You’ll be asked to confirm your membership number (including the leading zeros) and your password. Then select ‘Births’ and you’ll be presented with a form to fill in for each lamb. Complete the form – please note that we are now asking memebrs to say whether or not the lamb has wattles – and click on ‘Add to list of applications’. When complete click on ‘Submit to Society’.
Any problems email firstname.lastname@example.org
Should I register ram lambs?
We strongly advise that ram lambs should not be registered until the sheep is old enough for its quality to be assessed before any decision is taken keep the ram entire and to breed from him. Instead, it’s a simple matter to ‘Birth Notify’ the ram lamb, using the process described above but selecting ‘Birth Notify’ as the registration type in the last box. Birth notification is free of charge and can be converted to a full registration, without penalty, until the ram is 3 years old.
What’s the best way to sell my lambs?
The Society offers several tools to help you sell your registered or birth-notifed sheep – and we recommend that you should use them to maximize your chances of a sale:
- You can mark up sheep for sale in the online flock book. Just visit ‘Manage your Flock’ and select ‘Identification of Animals for Sale/Hire/AI’. You’ll be presented with a list of the sheep that you own, just enter S (for sale) against those that you want to sell (or H for Hire against any rams that you are offering for hire) and submit to the Society. At the next refresh of the database (sadly the process is not immediate) the animals for sale will be visible to all other members in the ‘Animals for sale or hire’ screen, selected from the top menu in the flock book opening page.
- Even better, members can post their own adverts in the Society marketplace. These are seen by everyone visiting the Society website (the flock book is members only). To post your ad just log in to the website and open the Marketplace from the front page or under the Breed menu. Click on ‘New Ad’ and follow the steps to add your animal’s details and photograph. The sheep’s OSS number, height and status of wattles are required. Your email address is protected during the contact process (although you may additional add your phone number if you wish).
- If you have sheep for sale, or are looking to buy sheep, then you can mention this on the Society Facebook page. But it’s best to only do this once you have completed the first two steps above, so that members may check the details of the sheep for sale and confirm that it is a registered Ouessant.
Additionally, there’s an easy way to share the details of a sheep offered for sale with anyone interested in buying it. Just use the following link:
where XXXX is the four-digit OSS number of the sheep. This will show the animal’s registration details, its pedigree and a list of its progeny and can be seen by members and non-members alike.
The Society was planning to hold a number of workshops and events in 2020, but these have been put on hold until life becomes more normal again.
A Fleece and Crafts workshop was to have been held in Wales, and two Breed Workshops were to be held, one in the South and one in the North. It may be some time before we can reinstate these events, so the Committee will instead investigate the possibility of producing an online video resource covering the finer points of the Ouessant breed. More details to follow.
Our thanks to all those members who have renewed their subscriptions for 2020 using the online payment system.
A final reminder email has been sent to those members who have not yet renewed or resigned and whose memberships will otherwise end on 31st March.
The subscription rate for full membership is £25 if paying online or the full rate of £30 for all other payment methods. Associate Membership is £10.
To pay online, visit https://app.loveadmin.com/Login/C0578356740FEFCDC6C3266DE8068572.htm. Your username for the account is the email address registered with the Society. If you are logging in to the account for the first time, you will need to create a password by following the on-screen instructions. This should be a different password to your login to the Society website and online flockbook, in order to keep your payment details secure. To pay by Direct Debit, please select ‘Pre-authorise future payments’ and the Direct Debit option will become available.
Thank you for your help in making the administration of the Society simpler; we look forward to welcoming you to another year of membership,
We try to answer members queries about the Breed, the law and Society regulations. This month:
Can sheep be imported from Europe into the UK Flock Book?
What does the Society registration certificate really mean?
Can sheep be imported from Europe into the UK Flock Book?
The short answer is ‘yes’! Leaving aside the current restrictions on the movements of human beings, and any changes to livestock import regulations as a result of leaving the EU, the Society introduced new registration regulations at the 2019 AGM.
These state that a sheep registered with one of our affiliated European breed societies (essentially those in France, Belgium, Holland and Germany) may be entered directly into the main register of the UK flock book. The committee is aware that the French flock book is in an early stage of development and, as a result, there are many unregistered Ouessants in France. Sheep that have been assessed by the French society should receive a certificate of conformity which will also be accepted for registration in the UK.
Female sheep that have not been registered with, or assessed by, a European breed society may be entered into the Annex to the Flock Book following an inspection to confirm that they meet the UK breed standard. The Committee is working to develop a new system for inspections to make the process easier for members. Unregistered rams are not eligible for entry into the UK flock book.
What does the Society registration certificate really mean?
The Society registration certificate means that the sheep whose identification details match those on the certificate has been notified to the Society by its breeder as being eligible for registration in the UK Flock Book. As noted on the certificate itself, the Society is entirely reliant on the details provided by the breeder and the certificate should not be regarded as a guarantee.
But, thanks to the measures introduced at the 2019 AGM – not least the new code of conduct for members of the Society, and new guidance on close in-breeding – the certificate should in future provide a good start point in the assessment of a sheep. You will want to examine its pedigree but – as even a long pedigree is not a guarantee of a sheep’s quality – you must also inspect the sheep to check that it is healthy and conforms to the breed standard.
The Society’s new Codes of Conduct were unanimously approved by the AGM.
Chair Antonia Clements said that we need to back up the improvements to the breed standard and registration rules with clarity in advertising and a consistent code of practice for those buying and selling sheep.
The Codes, which cover all members, the buying and selling of sheep and the additional responsibilities of Committee members, are now on the website. Please take the time to read them. We are grateful to member Pauline Reid for suggesting that we should adopt a Code, and for assisting the committee in its drafting.
Four committee posts were up for election at the AGM. There were no nominations (in keeping, as Antonia pointed out, with the finest OSS traditions!). Antonia was persuaded to serve for another year as our ‘temporary’ chair
Carolyn and David, whose posts were not due for re-election, will continue as Secretary and Registrar, and the co-opted regional committee members, Anna, Ade, Coral and Kris make up the committee. Full details may be found at https://www.ouessantsheep.org.uk/index.php/society/team
The AGM noted that OSS subscriptions are significantly cheaper than most breed societies and represent great value for money. Most rates are unchanged for 2020, but Associate Membership subscriptions will rise.
Secretary Carolyn Southern explained that the subs have not increased since the Associate Membership category was introduced and, unfortunately, no longer cover costs.
As in previous years, a discount will be offered to all members renewing online using the LoveAdmin payment service by 31 January, and – for the first time – this will also apply to Associate Members.
For 2020, subscription rates are as follows:
|£30 (£20 from 1 July)
|All Other Methods
LoveAdmin is a secure payments portal that allows members to pay their subscriptions by credit card, PayPal, bank transfer or Direct Debit. The Society hopes that all members will make use of the service, setting up a recurring payment authority as this significantly reduces our administrative overheads.
Members will receive a reminder email to renew their subscriptions in December.
The Society has been working to keep our costs to a minimum and there is therefore no change to fees for 2020:
|Transfers of Ownership
|Registrations in year of birth*
|£5 (£4 online)
|£10 (£8 online)
*Previously birth notified ram lambs may be registered within 3 years without penalty
The contact details of members who are willing to share them with other members are now on the website.
If you consented to share your email address or telephone number in your membership application form, or via the LoveAdmin online membership application, then these are shown in an interactive map in the members area. Postal addresses are not shared, and the map is only available to other members of the Society.
To see the map, or to update your details or amend your consent in your LoveAdmin account click here.
Our thanks go to member Thelma Rowell for suggesting this facility.
Your Christmas present dilemmas have been solved – the Society online shop is now open!
The shop has a range of practical and good-quality clothing, all embroidered with the Society logo.
The online shop is provided by our commerical partner, Sional. Based in North Wales, Sional provide embroidered clothing and promotional material to organizations ranging from small clubs to multinational companies.
Click on the link below to visit the shop. Items are illustrated in the Society colour of green, but a range of colours is available for each item. The lettering on the logo will be embroidered in black on light coloured items, and in white on darker colours.
To order online, click on the item and a new page will open in the website of Sional, who will process the transaction and post the goods directly to you. You will be buying the items directly from Sional, whose terms and conditions apply. Please contact them over any issues in the first instance. The Society has chosen not to profit from shop sales and the prices, which inlcude VAT, reflect only Sional’s base price.
And let us know, through the Contact Us page, if there are other items that you would like to see in the shop.
The 2019 AGM was held on Sunday 27th October, at the Puckrup Hall hotel, Tewkesbury. Twelve members and partners attended in person, and three more joined via the conference call.
It was great to hear the voices of two members from Scotland, who would otherwise not have been able to take part in the meeting. The Society will expand the online meeting and conference call system for next year – although managing lots of members attending by telephone would present its own challenges!
The meeting heard from the outgoing committee members. Chair Antonia Clements said that the Society had had a good year, with particularly encouraging membership figures. She felt that the Society was now ‘coming of age’ with a critical mass of members and enough sheep to be able to take seriously concerns over inbreeding and breed improvement. The maturity of the Society was reflected in the meetings business: a clearer breed standard, coupled with stricter rules for ‘non-standard’ registrations, and guidance on in-breeding was backed up with a code of conduct for members, including guidelines for buying and selling sheep.
One third of committee posts usually come up for re-election at each AGM. But there have been a number of changes to the committee since the last AGM, and the normal pattern of elections has changed.
I was asked to stand as chair 2 years ago, as there were no nominations for the post, and was persuaded to continue last year, for the same reason. I have also been temporarily covering the Treasurer’s rôle and am willing to continue – but there must be somebody better qualified than me out there to take the chair!
I’m very grateful to Val Grainger and Sally Hoppins, who both stepped up to the plate in 2019 to help with the Breed Development Working Group. Val cannot continue for personal reasons, and will be missed.
Of the current committee, David has one year to run as Registrar, and Carolyn 2 years, as Secretary. The other posts all come up for election at the AGM (for varying term lengths to try to maintain some continuity). The committee also has coopted members from across the country, and is supported by other posts, who no longer sit on the committee.
Elected Committee Members:
|Post open for nominations (3 years)
|Term ends 2021
|Term ends 2020
|Open for nominations (1 year)
|Open for nominations (2 years)
|Open for nominations (3 years)
Co-opted Regional Committee Members
|North of England
|Central England and Wales
If you would like to help the Society on the committee in any of the above posts, or in any other way, please drop me an email at email@example.com, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Author: Antonia Clements
Orders are now closed for the Society Christmas Card for 2019. The picture, ‘Herefordshire Ouessants in the Snow’, was taken last year during ‘the beast from the East’.
ORDERS ARE NOW CLOSED
The card will be A6 sized, with the Society logo on the back and the greeting ‘Best Wishes for Christmas and the New Year’ inside.
Follow the link below to place an order for your cards, which will be sold in packs of 10 cards, complete with envelopes. The price will be dependent on the numbers of orders but will not exceed £3 for ten cards and we will absorb the postage and packing costs as far as possible. Should we not receive sufficient interest to place a minimum order with the printer, the Society reserves the right to cancels all orders and will inform members as quickly as possible.
The link will take you the ‘Society Shop’ – although you will not be charged for placing an order at this stage. The software provides the easiest way for us to collate all orders, but any problems just email us at email@example.com.
Since the last newsletter, Tony Sweeney has stood down as the Society’s regional rep for Scotland and has been replaced by Anna Kelly. Thanks Tony, and welcome, Anna.
Anna joins Ade Lloyd (North of England), Coral Handley (Wales and Central England), and Kris Jury (South of England) on the Society’s committee.
Full details, including how to contact your nearest Society representative will be placed on the website once the committee for 2020 is confirmed at the AGM but, in the meantime, you may contact your nearest Society representative by following the ‘Contact Us’ link at the top of this page. Please include a subject heading so that the email may be forwarded to the appropriate committee member.
There’s no point in having a register of pedigree Ouessants, if buyers don’t have confidence that the registration means something. Confidence in the Ouessant ‘brand’ makes the selection of stock easier – and should lead to improved quality overall.
The measures set out by the Breed Development Working Group, to improve the availability of information about the breed standard and the pedigree of our sheep, also need to be backed up with clarity in advertising and a consistent code of practice for those buying and selling sheep.
During my time on the Committee, there have been a number of instances of sheep being advertised for sale before they were registered, or being sold to members without an accompanying registration certificate. I think that we have all also seen adverts for ‘Ouessant Sheep’ on sites other than the Society’s, where the pedigree and quality is – at best – dubious. And we have also had reports of closely related sheep being sold as breeding pairs.
Some of this comes down to good record keeping on the part of the seller. If their flock records and registrations are up to date then members buying can (and should) research the prospective purchases in the online flock book or ask the registrar for a kinship report. But the general public, too, must have confidence that if they are buying a registered sheep from a member of the Society, that they are getting a quality, pedigree Ouessant.
The Committee has therefore approved draft Codes of Conduct that will be put to the AGM for Approval. The draft, which may be found here, sets out what the Society expects of its members (and of its officers and committee members, too!). Much of it is common-sense, asking us all to conform to all legal and welfare standards, and to do the best for our sheep. But there is also a section on what is expected of those buying and selling sheep, and I hope that we will all find this a useful checklist.
In particular, members are asked ensure that their flock records and registrations are up to date, to register sheep before advertising them, and to ensure that a hard copy of the registration certificate accompanies every sheep sold.
I really hope that we can make the classified ads section of the Society website, become the website of choice for everyone looking to buy a Ouessant sheep. We have also improved the content and presentation of the adverts on the website so that buyers can get more information – and so that everyone can have confidence in what they are buying under the OSS ‘brand’.
What do you think? I’d welcome your comments on the Codes of Conduct ahead of the AGM, either in the discussion box below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Antonia Clements
The Breed Development Working Group will ask the AGM to bring our registration rules into line with those of other rare breed societies. There will be no change for most registrations, but new safeguards for sheep without pedigree data are proposed.
The Society Flock Book is now in a much healthier condition. Members will remember the problems in the past, which led to the registration amnesty and many gaps in the pedigree data of our sheep. The time has come to bring our registration rules into line with those of most other rare breed societies.
The Ouessant Flock Book will remain an open Flock Book. The progeny of registered sheep will continue to be eligible for automatic registration by members, and imports of Ouessants registered with European societies will also continue. But it is proposed to establish an Annex to the flock book to manage the registrations of ewes are not eligible for automatic registration in the main Flock Book.
The AGM will be asked to confirm the exact arrangements for the Annex, and whether transitional arrangements are required to cover its introduction. The draft registration rules, which may be found here, are based on those of the Shetland Sheep Society and establish a three-stage Annex for female sheep only – in the first stage the ewe is inspected against the breed standard; the second and third stages regeister its daughters and granddaughters before its great grandchildren then become eligible for registration in the main Flock Book. In each stage the ewe and its progeny must be put to an approved ram; there is no mechanism for unregistered rams to enter the Annex.
What do you think? Is an Annex to the Flock Book vital to improving the quality of the breed in the UK? Are the rules sufficiently clear, or unnecessarily complicated? Have your say below, or email email@example.com
The draft registration regulations also cover the new lower age limit on registering ram lambs – they must be at least one year old for full registration, but may be birth notified at any time – and the voluntary Ram Approval Scheme both of which are described in the article “A Little Ram Goes a Long Way” elsewhere in this newsletter.
The 2019 Society Annual General Meeting will be held on Sunday 27 October at the Puckrup Hall Hotel, Tewkesbury at 1.30 pm. Lunch will be provided for all members attending.
Puckrup Hall is reasonably central and has good access from the M5 motorway. But we also hope to stream the meeting, or provide it as a podcast for those members who are unable to attend.
The AGM approved a further reduction in the subscriptions payable by full members, who complete the annual survey and pay by Direct Debit. For 2019 the subs will be just £20 for members using Direct Debit.
This compares to the full rate of £30 and the discounted early payment rate of £25 for all other payment methods.
The Committee very much hopes that members will take advantage of the discount, as payments by Direct Debit will very much reduce the Society’s administrative overheads. Full details of how to pay will be sent shortly in a separate email.
The full list of rates of subscription and fees for 2019 is as follows:
Associate Members £5
Full Members Joining
from 1 January £30
from 1 July £20
Full Members Renewing
if renewed online by Direct Debit) £20
by all other payment methods) £25
subject to completion of Annual Survey & payment by 31st January 2019, otherwise £30
Fees (No change)
Transfers of Ownership No Charge
Birth Notifications No Charge
Kinship Reports No Charge
Registrations – Lambs in year of Birth £5 (£4 online)
Registrations (Late) £10 (£8 online)
(Previously birth notified ram lambs may be registered within 3 years without penalty)
Other AGM business included:
The AGM approved a minor change to the constitution to remove the requirement for two committee members to authorize all payments from the Society’s bank account. This was not particularly practical with the committee spread out across the country, and rather meaningless with the majority of transactions now being conducted online.
The AGM also agreed a clarification to the constitution following a membership enquiry from the United States. It was agreed that full membership of the Society should only be available to those who reside in the UK (plus IoM and Ch.Is). Associate membership would be available regardless of location. The Committee would review the status of the Republic of Ireland following Brexit.
The AGM heard that the Breed Standards Sub-Committee, consisting of David Clements, Carolyn Southern, Andrew Chitty and Val Grainger will be considering a number of options for the future development and improvement of the breed in the UK. Watch out for their reports in future newsletters
A member proposed, and the AGM agreed in principle, that members of the Society’s committee should have their annual subscriptions waived. The committee has subsequently investigated this proposal and has decided not to implement it; instead a reduced committee member rate of subs will be paid. The committee felt that this was fairer, and it also avoids any tax complications.
The AGM approved a proposal to upgrade the Society’s web-hosting package. This has now been implemented allowing greater capacity for the Society’s website and emails – including space for the new Newsletter!
James W A Graham passed away in December after a battle with cancer. James was the founder member of the Ouessant Society of Great Britain and brought the very first Ouessants into the UK. Indeed much of the UK flock book can be traced back to stock brought in by him from Europe. He was Society chair for several years, and after he stood down leaving the responsibility to others the society gave him the title of President. James continued to be active within the society, most recently working with the breed standard working group.
James first became aware of the Ouessant after seeing them mentioned in the Guinness Book of Records as the world’s smallest sheep. After much research, his quest to find them took him to Europe where he discovered a small band of enthusiasts in Holland, and others in France and Belgium. He managed to buy one ram and two ewes to set up a nucleus flock but before he could import any into the UK he had to breed a generation that was both scrapie-free and would meet other UK veterinary health regulations. This meant leaving them with a friend in Holland. Within two years, James flew his first Ouessant from Holland to the UK and began to build up his flock. The rest is history.
James’ skill was not confined to Ouessants. His father was the first major exporter of Charolais cattle from France and James was heavily involved in supplying ostriches to the UK and US from South Africa, and was one of the first major importers of Alpacas from Chile. Recently he has exported Ouessant semen to the US, where the import of live sheep is prohibited.
His expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm for the Ouessant breed, delivered with plenty of common sense and a wry sense of humour, will be sadly missed. Plans are afoot to purchase a Society cup in his name, to be presented for the best Ouessant sheep at future society held shows. Our thoughts are with his family; his sons James and William, and his partner Jenny. RIP James.
Work continues to update and improve the flock book, but there are still errors and omissions dating back to the early days of the Society. We have managed to fill in some of the gaps in the pedigrees of sheep, with the help of the Dutch breed society, and will continue to do so. As a result we have been able to improve the registration certificate which now spans 5 generations not 4. The number of gaps on the right hand side is becoming fewer!
And a reminder to all members who sell or transfer sheep to let us have the details (ideally name, address and email) of the new owner. You can do this through the online flock book or by dropping me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll then send the new owner fresh certificates in their name along with some information about the Society. Thanks for your help.
2017 Annual Survey
We’re grateful to the 28 members who completed the 2016 Annual Survey, but this still means that we can’t be sure we have up to date records in the flock book for the majority of flocks in the UK. We’ve been working hard to improve the quality of data in the flock book, but now need your help to complete the job.
Details of the 2017 Annual Survey will be included in your subscription renewal email. Please take a moment to check that our records of your sheep are correct. You can complete the survey in the online flock book, or request a form to return by post or email. Members who complete the survey, and renew their subscription, by 31 January will receive a £5 discount on their 2018 subscription (full members only).
The survey is taken as at 1 December to avoid duplication of effort with the Defra annual inventory. Don’t forget that Defra requires that in December every year you must:
- update your holding register with the number of sheep that are on your land on 1 December
- complete an annual inventory and send it to Defra
Defra should write to you in November, reminding you to update your register and giving details of how to complete the inventory. If you don’t receive a letter or email then contact Defra on 020 8026 6532 or email email@example.com.
The best dressed member at the Society’s AGM was our regional rep for Scotland, Tony Sweeney, who was resplendent in a waistcoat made from the official Ouessant tartan. Inhabitants of the island registered the design with the Scottish Register of Tartans (it’s design No 10,236) to celebrate their Celtic links. The black and white stripes come from the Breton flag and the red and yellow from the island’s crest.