The call of the Royal Melbourne Show sheep feature breed has got a busy Doctor to drop the stethoscope for a sheep halter. Marty Koolstra is an Emergency Physician at the William Angliss Hospital and has been a Wiltshire Horn Stud breeder for nearly a decade. Marty and his sheep are entering the show ring for the very first time to avail of the opportunity of being feature breed.
“They are simply a fantastic breed” says Marty. Marty runs 80 stud ewes, about 100 commercials and currently has 15 rams on his properties in the Dandenong ranges and at Wangaratta.
“We chose Wiltshire Horns in 2012 because of their low maintenance qualities. They naturally shed their wool in spring, have good feet, produce a quality carcass and have good mothering with high fertility. They also maintain their dentition which gives them longevity. We frequently have ewes rearing twins and triplets that are over ten years old. In fact a ten year old had triplets in the recent heavy rain in the Dandenong ranges, and as doctors would say, mum and babies are doing well!
Wiltshire Horns are a meat sheep, a quality carcass and are among the best tasting lamb you will find according to John Clarke the President of the Australian Wiltshire Horn Sheepbreeders’ Association. “ I’m a veteran Angus Stud breeder and know my meat and you won’t get better tasting lamb than Wiltshire Horn!” Judges at previous shows are surprised when they get hands on with the breed at how muscly the animals are.
Jane Reeves, a new stud breeder from Poowong agrees. “We tried a few different breeds but have gone to Wiltshire Horns because of our land size and locality, they are a good size sheep for market, as a bonus they don’t have any foot problems and don’t need shearing, they are a genuine easy care breed” Jane has 11 Wiltshire Horn sheep including her ram.
The Australian Wiltshire Horn Sheepbreeders’ Association are honoured to have Wiltshire Horn sheep as the feature breed at the Royal Melbourne Show. The sheep will be at the show on display from Saturday September 21 2019 until Sunday September 22 2019. Judging of the Wiltshire Horn sheep exhibit will start at 1pm in the Animal Pavilion when over 60 sheep, including spring lambs, will be showing off their features!
Source: Australian Wiltshire Horn Sheepbreeders’ Association