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Sheep Showing Tips With Eliza Burton

Eliza Burton, one of NWF’s newest academy members, gives her top tips on sheep showing.

Previously working for an Agriculture insurance company for 7 years, Eliza set up her own pet and smallholding sitting business outside of work. Born into a dairy family, her love and passion for agriculture flows through her veins.

Setting up her own pedigree flock in 2015, Eliza rented land and fully managed the herd on her own.

“Looking back, I am so glad I did it this way. There is no greater feeling when all your hard work and determination pays off.

After much deliberation, I went with Zwartbles. I am chuffed with the decision, proving to be fantastic sheep for their mothering qualities, with plenty of milk being produced. Since 2015, my absolute passion has been showing sheep. Unfortunately, with the current COVID-19 environment, I am unable to show at the Great Yorkshire and Royal Welsh shows, facing off against some of the biggest breeders in the game.”

So, here we are. Eliza’s top tips for Showing Sheep,

  • Showing sheep isn’t something you can think about a few weeks in advance. As soon as the season is over, I’m already thinking about how I can perform better the following. Choosing a good tup and spending as much as feasible, will help point you in the right direction from the get-go.
  • I will always ensure my show team over winter are kept ticking with the best feed and forage available, along with keeping worming and drenching maintained.
  • I always use a mineral lick bucket, ensuring the herd gets the necessary daily mineral requirements for optimal growth and health. View the NWF Minerals HERE.
  • I tend to shear between February to April, to ensure they have plenty of time to grow back some wool for trimming. Just make sure you check the society rules – Did you know Texel’s can’t be trimmed, only sheared!
  • I always wash the sheep 4-5 days before trimming, typically this will be 2 weeks before my first show. I’ll start with a rough trimming getting most of the wool that is required, then over the following days, I’ll trim over and over. To get a great compacted finished, I’ll trim anywhere between 4 to 8 times.
  • As the season starts to go on this will become less as you will still have some base from the previous show. I have found that putting a fleece sheep rug on the night before after your final trim along with a fleece fix spray helps to hold the fleece in place giving a better finish on the show day.
  • You’ll always find that one sheep tries to test your patience on show day. Keep calm, bring a little corn in your pocket for them to nibble on, it often helps settle them.
  • Finally, knowing when your shows are and time scales to work to! Don’t be caught out by missing a deadline after all that hard work! I make sure I have all the equipment and have enough time to start trimming! I always put movement forms and MV Accreditation Certificates (if applicable) at the top of that list!

Most of all, enjoy the process and don’t be afraid to get stuck in!

For more information on NWF Sheep Feeds, Blends or associated products, call on 0800 756 2787, or email nbteam@nwfagriculture.co.uk

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