Words From The Chair – Spring 2024

It has been a busy time since the last Newsletter with a lot of interesting things happening.

Most importantly our Flock Book is now administered totally by Grassroots. It took a great deal of work from our former Registrar, Adrian, with support from Anna, Membership Secretary, to collate the information and to ensure Grassroots had everything they needed. At the end of January, it went live and Anna, in particular, had to rapidly learn the new system to enable her be able to answer your questions. So, a huge thank you to Adrian and Anna for their hard work and for making the transition so smooth.

At the Board Meeting on 11th February Annex A, the Ewe Annex, and the Reinstatement Annex were discussed and subsequently paused pending further discussion with yourselves. We understand the Ewe Annex was originally setup when the Flock Book was not as well maintained as it is now and there was a need for amnesties and late registrations to be allowed. Now we have a well-run Flock Book, the Board agreed that this annex was no longer needed in normal circumstances. In addition, it was brought to the Board’s attention that there are some breeders who are selling un-registered sheep and informing the potential buyers that the Society allows them to be registered. This was not the purpose of the Annex and is in contravention of the Constitution Appendix 1A-Codes of Conduct; Sales paragraph 12 section (c). We do not know how many sheep or people will be affected by pausing this Annex and we need your input and suggestions at the AGM.

Our new website went live on 20th December 2023 and I hope you will agree it is less cluttered and more user friendly than the old site and the re-branding, which is consistent across all our media, is much more attractive. For Anna, Michelle and Paul much of the Christmas period was spent working on website tweaks, reformatting content, updating information etc. So, once again, a huge thank you to them.

On the 15th March there was a fascinating talk by Jenny Holden-Wilde about colour genetics in sheep. I won’t pretend to have understood all the ‘science’ but, I think, what she was saying was: the colour your sheep appears to be on the outside may not be the colour it is in the inside (its genetics), to enjoy whatever colour sheep you want to see in your field and, for the health of the national flock, to maintain as much diversity as possible.

Work has started on videos by a vet covering such areas as: Handling small animals – including vaccinations, drenches etc; and condition scoring. More about these videos from Jacquie in the coming weeks.

A Height Measuring Scheme (HMS) is being set up and we would ask as many members as possible to take part. A letter will be sent to you in the very near future explaining how to take part. This is a 3-year project and will give us a better understanding of how our sheep are developing.

We now have promotional packs for those attending shows and a Flock Advertising page to replace the old members’ map. More about these from Paul in the Newsletter.

We haven’t forgotten the Inspector Training we were talking about last year. We are looking for a central location and a willing host, if you can help with a location, please get in touch with me chair@ouessantsheep.org.uk

Spring should be finally on its way, enjoy the warmer weather and happy and successful lambing.