Buying a Ram

When selecting a ram there are some very basic things to consider

1. Think about what your ewes are like and what features you are hoping to improve. It is

hard to correct everything at once! For example, you might want to improve the fleeces,

so look for a suitable ram with a strong fleece this time. You may have sheep with overly

large ears, find a ram with small ones and so on. Aim to work on one thing at a time.

2. Showing sheep is fun, but not the whole reason for breeding sheep. The DSBA was

established to promote and uphold the standards of the breed. A butch, rather plain

stock ram may produce better offspring than one which excels in the show ring. So buy

for your flock’s need.

3. What is the breeding ( pedigree) of the ewes he is to run with?. Do look at the pedigrees

both male and female side to ensure you aren’t breeding too closely. In humans, cousin

marriages are usually avoided as there is a much higher risk of genetically inherited

disorders, so it is reasonable to expect similar possibilities with your sheep. Grassroots

has details of pedigrees and most breeders will be able to give you information about

their animals

4. Make sure you are buying a registered ram. If you want to be able to register the lambs

both parents must be registered with the DSBA. The rams bear a tag either metal or

plastic with the 4 digit registration number. If you attend affiliated sales, only registered

stock is sold but at RSBT and open market sales some unregistered animals may be

sold. So be sure you know what you are buying.

Rachel Gatrill

How do I obtain some of these sheep?

Greyface Dartmoor sheep

The best way to find some of these sheep is to speak to the Secretary, who can then put you in touch with a breeder in your area or let you know of a sale.

We can allocate a mentor to new keepers if they so wish, so that they may have a point of contact for advice on keeping this wonderful breed, once again speak to the Secretary.

How do I know if a Greyface Dartmoor sheep is registered with the Greyface Dartmoor Sheep Breeders Association?

This is a question we are often asked.  All registered Greyface Dartmoor sheep are issued with a small metal tag.  This denotes the year of birth on one side and  the DSBA flock number and the individual number of the female sheep on the other side.

From 2018 onward, the female tags are plastic set tags. These tags state the year born and the flock number that the lamb is born into.  The individual ID relates to the UK tag.

2018 = white
2019 = pink
2020 = green
2021 = purple

Official DSBA tag in a registered ewe

Official DSBA tag in a registered ewe

For the rams that have passed inspection, they will have the same metal  sheep tag but with just a 4 digit number printed on it and nothing else.  If the sheep you are looking at do not have this then there is a very high chance they are not registered with the Association and cannot be registered retrospectively with the DSBA.

In 2020, ram lambs that were not inspected were issued with Green plastic ram tags.

The tag applicator is available from the Secretary, or many members across the country have some pliers you can borrow.  If you get stuck – just ask.

Important note

If a ewe or a ram does not have a metal tag (see exceptions to this) such as this then it is not entered into the flock book and there is no upgrade scheme for any sheep in place.  If you want to ensure you purchase a pedigree animal that IS entered into the flock book and IS eligible to produce offspring that can also be entered into the flock book then please make sure the ewe or ram has an official DSBA tag.