From the flock’s foundation, the aim was always to produce rams specifically for prime lamb production and it has therefore been managed on a commercial basis.
Performance recording began in 1968 and the flock was subsequently split into 5 families in 1980 as there was at that time a limited choice of recorded rams available.
The Family System works as follows :-
The best ram from Family 1 is selected for structural correctness, conformation and index. This ram is used on Family 2 and a ram is selected from Family 2 using the same criteria and used on Family 3 and the system continues through the rest of the Families. The females remain in the same family as they were born.
After the flock’s move to Brotherstone in 1999, lambing was put back to early March to mid-April and since then the ewes are kept at grass with no concentrate other than triplets starting at the end of April and the ram lambs don’t receive any creep feeding.
After the lambs are weaned they are eye muscle and back fat scanned in in September before continuing on a commercial rearing regime.
As ewes are now lambed outside, only ewes rearing good lambs are kept for future breeding to ensure that the lambs produced inherit their mothers’ traits and have good hybrid vigour.
This is why the flock produces rams that are consistently in the top 5% of Performance Recorded rams and why we have many return buyers at sales.
The Sandyknowe rams are fine boned, smooth haired with deep loins, broad backs and meaty gigots.
The flock has enjoyed many prime lamb show successes, including Scottish Winter Fair Champions in 1994 and 2007 as well as many first prizes and native breed awards.