Latest news from the Club and the sheep world.

Butchery at the AGM

Master butcher Mike Humphries with the lamb carcase (Photo: Andrew Lee)

There are not many AGMs where a man walks onto the stage, drops a lamb carcase onto the table and carefully lays out a saw, a meat cleaver and various awesomely sharp knives.

Club members watched fascinated as master butcher Mike Humphries from Rowledge near Farnham, gave an awe inspiring butchery demonstration reducing the carcase into an array of popular joints and cuts including a lamb shank, whole leg, butterflied leg, neck fillet, chops, rack of lamb, traditional shoulder, slow roast shoulder, noisette, a lamb cannon and more besides.

Mike sources his meat locally and hangs it for two weeks thereby enhancing the flavour and texture of the meat. Contrast this with supermarket meat which is hung for a much lesser period if at all resulting in meat which is is often is bright red and pappy - you are almost boiling it however you cook because of the high moisture content remaining the in the meat. For good, tender, well flavoured meat - go to a good butcher! 

At the end of the demo, Mike auctioned the cuts of lamb for his chosen charity, his local hospice. 

Master butcher Mike Humphries with the various cuts of lamb  (Photo: Andrew Lee)

Afterwards members tucked into a hot meal with a choice of lamb, chicken and vegetarian dishes accompanied by wine and soft drinks.

In the earlier formal part of the meeting outgoing Chairman Denis Lester presented the 2014 McLellan Lambing Trophy to Brigid Kirsch who achieved a lambing percentage of 210% from 19 Lleyn ewes. This is awarded to the Small Shepherd who shows excellent stockmanship by achieving the highest lambing percentage from their flock (a minimum of 6 ewes.)

The Roger Manning Memorial Award was awarded to Birgitte Attley, a unanimously popular choice. This annual award is made to a club member who has made an outstanding contribution to the spirit of the Club either in the last year or over a period of years. 

Bob Anderson was voted in as Chairman and Graham Stafford as Vice Chairman. The rest of the Officers and Committee remain unchanged.

ARAMS Electronic Holding Register goes live

ARAMS (Animal Movement and Reporting Service) now offers users a free electronic holding register. It’s available to English sheep keepers who are registered as electronic users on the ARAMS website. 

As well collecting movement information recorded via ARAMS, you can use it to record the date animals are identified, births, deaths, tag replacements and your annual inventory.  In other words, everthing you would normally be recording in your holding register. There are no faclilites for recording medicine records. You will need to continue to do this separately.

ARAMS have produced a user guide and you can get technical assistance by calling 08445 730137 or email

Time to bin any non-EID slaughter tags

From Jan 2015

  • Individual tag numbers on movement forms for all sheep (except slaughter animals)
  • Single EID tag for slaughter lambs

Two important changes come into force on 1st January 2015 affecting the tagging of slaughter lambs and the individual reporting of older (pre-2010/EID) animals.

Movement Reporting

From January 2015 you must include the individual tag numbers of all sheep and goats identified before 2010 on movement forms unless they are moving direct to slaughter (or direct to slaughter via a market). 

This change is quite likely to affect Small Shepherds as many of us have ‘senior’ sheep tagged prior 2010 according to a labyrinthine variety of tagging rules. Some of these will not have been individually identified. If you need to move sheep that are not individually identified the advice is to tag them with a full EID set.

Slaughter Tags

From 1st January 2015 you must only use the single electronic (EID) tag for lambs intended for slaughter before 12 months. You must dispose of any non-EID slaughter tags. (Slaughter lambs tagged before Jan 2015 do not need to be re-tagged).

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EID slaughter tag

EID slaughter tags are yellow and have just the flock number printed on the outside and the individual number encoded onto the chip.

Continue to record slaughter lambs as a batch or mixed batch on ARAMS movement forms and in your Holding Register (that is, you only need to recod the total numer of sheep being moved for each flock number; you do not need to inlcude the animals’ individual identity numbers).

In essence this means that almost all sheep moved will have to have an EID tag of some sort with the exception of sheep that were tagged with an individual (non electronic) number prior to 2010.

For more information see Guidance for the keepers of sheep, goats and pigs on the website.

Novice wins Small Shepherds Club Show 2014

Small Shepherds Club Show Champion 2014 Wowie Dunnings with her Southdown ewe lamb and judge Viv Miles. Photo by Paul Dunnings

Show Champion Wowie Dunnings with her Southdown ewe lamb and judge Viv Miles. (Photo: Paul Dunnings)

The Club’s 2014 Show will long be remembered as one of the best.  This was our fifth and last show at Birgitte Attley and Robin Beard’s wonderful place near Petersfield looking out over acres of open land – much of it sheep pasture - towards the Hampshire South Downs.  We’ve enjoyed great facilities there with all sheep housed under cover in case of bad weather (but it was sunny this year) adjacent to the show ring.  The day was organized superbly by Sarah Bettin with plenty of help from others in the Club.  This was Sarah’s first show – so a considerable accolade for her given the day passed without a hitch.

A warm, bright day meant that those not showing could relax in the sun and reflect on the pleasures of sheep keeping past and present.  We were blessed with four judges this year – Viv Miles being our lead judge of the main sheep classes alongside Susie Parish for Rolled Fleece and Wool on the Hoof, Brigid Kirsch for Butchers Lamb, Bob Coleman for the Novice Classes and Birgitte Attley for Young Handler.  Bob and Viv together judged the Show Championships which this year included an award for best Coloured Sheep.

More breeds were shown this year – 21 in total.  More sheep were entered than in recent years – and amongst the handlers were a number of first time entrants which is always something the Club likes to encourage.  So it was fitting that Wowie Dunnings should win the Show Championship with her Southdown sheep – this was Wowie’s first show – and she won the busy Pure or Crossbred Ewe Lamb class as well as the Novice Ewe / Ewe Lamb class.  Congratulations to Wowie. Other first time winners included Gerry McEvilly handling one of Birgitte’s sheep in the Crossbred Ewe class and Sarah Kenny who won the Novice Ram class.

The Coloured Sheep Championship was introduced to allow a greater stage for the smaller primitive and hill sheep. This was won by Alex Finch with a Badger Face ram lamb.

2015 sees us moving the show to the Cranleigh Show Ground.  It’s such a sociable day and a great opportunity for members to show their finest sheep as well as practice their showing skills so we’re all confident that the new venue will be a great success.

© Small Shepherds Club  2015 - 2016