Easier care than cattle
Quality Wiltipolls on show at the ninth annual NSW Wiltipoll Breeders Sale.
No shearing, no mulesing and no flystrike.
It sounds like a sheep breeder’s heaven, but for many Wiltipoll breeders, maintenance of their flock can be a walk in the park.
And a selection of excellent Wiltipoll genetics will be on display at the ninth annual NSW Wiltipoll Breeders Sale on February 3, which will take place in Gulgong.
Wiltipolls, which must be primarily Wiltshire Horn genetics, must completely shed their fleece each year and must be polled, are catching the eye of many sheep farmers, simply because of their ease of care.
Breeder Ian Hopwood, “Reavesdale”, Murringo, says the versatile breed is attracting sheep breeders looking for any easier path without having to forego quality meat.
“They have a top ability to cross with other breeds to get a good shedding,” he said.
Mr Hopwood, who has been breeding stud Wiltipolls since 2006, said they require much less maintenance than some other breeds.
“They don’t get flies, they don’t need shearing or mulesing, and they are grass seed and lice resistant,” he said.
“And because of this, you don’t use as many chemicals on them.
“They are easier to run than cattle.”
Mr Hopwood said the breed was perfect for older farmers, or those with smaller areas who were looking for easier care sheep.
“They don’t have to run them in all the time for this and that,” he said.
“But they are also good for cropping people, because they don’t have time to be dealing with sheep at this time of year.
“The Wiltipolls are also homebody sheep – they are easy to keep in their allocated paddock.”
Mr Hopwood said their fertility was very high.
“They often have twins and triplets,” he said.
“They have a lambing percentage of between 120 to 180 per cent at weaning.”
“They are also excellent mothers. They are very protective.”
And Mr Hopwood said the quality of the meat speaks for itself.
“They have a fine textured meat,” he said.
“At last year’s Dubbo hoof and hook competition, our Wiltipoll had the highest eye muscle area (EMA) out of 32 entries in the trade section.”