FAQ VALAIS BLACKNOSE SHEEP
Where do Valais originate?
Valais originate from the Valais region in Switzerland. They are kept down on the meadows between May through till July. In July they go up on to the mountains for approx 6 weeks returning down in the first week of September. They spend from October through till May inside in barns made specially, due to the snow and predators.
Can I import my own?
Unfortunately the boards to Switzerland were closed in early 2015. This was done due to the Swiss government not wanting lots of different breeds of sheep coming into Switzerland. They have closed export and import.
What is a Grp1?
Group 1, 2 and 3 refers to genotesting of the Valais Blacknose sheep, Grp1 ARR/ ARR is the most scrapie resistant. We also have Group 2 ARR/ ARQ and Group 3 ARQ/ARQ these are less scrapie resistant but it doesn’t mean they carry the scrapie gene.
What is MV Accreditited?
Maedi Visna is disease that can be passed on to sheep through their parents, this disease is quite nasty and can cause withering away.
Please see the link below to get more information on MV
What should I be looking at when buying a sheep?
Firstly you want to decide what you want from the sheep, I.e. show quality, or good breeding or just pets?
If you are looking for show quality sheep then you need to pay attention to markings, conformation, teeth, and good fleece.
When buying any sheep you need to be able to have a good feel , and check the sheep over ideally. You also need to check the sheep has pedigree certificate and if it has been genotyped that it comes with a certificate. It is also important to check these for their bloodlines. Libby Henson at Grassroots is always willing to be able to help check this for you.
DO NOT BUY A SHEEP WITHOUT PAPER WORK
See the pictures below for markings...
How do I get access to the flock book?
You have to own sheep to have access to the flock book. However you are able to contact them and ask questions.
How do I join the breed society?
You can join by emailing our secretary. Or Downloading and sending the membership form here.
Can I register my cross breeds?
We are not doing the breed up program here in the UK and no cross bred animals will be allowed to be registered.
Can I register my ET lambs?
To register ET lambs you will need to have an ET certificate from the vet, as well as DNA test the lambs. You will need to make sure that the Sire and Dam have been DNA tested as well. You can get genotesting kits from Grassroots please get in touch with them via the link below.
When should I shear my sheep?
Valais should be sheared twice a year. If you are showing your sheep you need consider when to shear your sheep so you have the right amount of fleece on the sheep for a show. You should have a minimum of 10cm length on your sheep for showing.
Should I change the ear tags?
NO, it is a legal requirement for sheep to have EID ear tags in their ears, if someone suggest cutting them out and putting in your own tags you are breaking the law. This makes the sheep un- identifiable.
I have my sheep but no paper work?
As said above, if you are not given paper work or shown paper work walk away, this sheep could not be what it looks like, it could be stolen or unregistered or not able to be registered.
If it seems too good to be true then it probably is so walk away.
What is a spitti?
A Spitti, is basically a reverse or negative valais blacknose, They are often completely black with white splodges on.
Should you trim Valais feet? If so how will I know when I need to?
Valais need their feet trimming as they can grow very long without trimming. it would be advisable to check your sheep feet once a month if they don't need trimming then don't touch them. The valais are also very prone to foot rot, so it is a good idea to stay on top of any limping feet. Please see link below to one of our members demonstrating foot trimming.
What classes can I show my VBN in if there are not breed specific classes at shows?
You can enter your Valais in Any other continetial class at shows that do not have valais specific classes. The more people who enter these classes the more likely we are to be able to get classes of our own at the shows. If you are a show who wish to host classes please let us know and we will be able to assist.
Can I show my wether?
Some shows have classes for wethers, it is worth checking to see what shows have classes.
When is a good time to breed and how often can I breed?
Valais can breed twice a year, however you need to keep the sheep in good good condition so that they can rear the lambs well. Therefore breeding them is really when it is convenient for you to be lambing. Traditionally in switzerland they are lambed in Feb and Sep, however in the UK we have to think about shows and weather condition are different.
If showing you want to be lambing early Jan, if you want to wait for niceer weather then lambing March and April is better.
When and why should I castrate?
Legally sheep have to be castrated within 7 days of birth in the UK. there are a lot of rams in the UK, keep the best and castrate the rest, if they don't have the correct markings it is important to castrate them so that the standards are kept high for breeding males.
What are the benefits of DNA testing my sheep?
DNA testing is an added security for the valais, there have been sheep stolen and this is an added way of checking the security of your flock. as DNA can not be cut out like tags.
My VBN has 4 horns, the smaller ones don’t seem to be attached to his skull but what can I do about this? Is it normal?
This is quite normal for the valais and is very easy to deal with. If you come across this situation, hold on to the sheep and give the smaller horns a twist, they should come loose, if there is any bleeding put a bit of blue spray on, or wait for it to dry and wash it off. It won't hurt the sheep and is best for them to come off as they can grow into the eyes.
How short should I dock the tail?
The tail should be docked just above the hock/ knee on sheep. See photos below
My sheep is dirty should I wash him?
Most breeders only wash their sheep for show or before shearing. Valais do not have much lanolin in their fleeces so it is important to keep the natural oils in the fleece.
What should I feed my sheep?
This depends a lot on where you are located, as the amount of grass you have and weather and ground type and acreage can all be factors. Local feed stores generally have specialists who are able to help you with different feeds. Rams will need different feed to ewes as the high protein feed you would give a ewe can cause problems with the rams. Also try and find a local breeder who will be able to help you.
How do I fly treat the Valais?
Again this can be different in different areas, as the sheep have to be shawn twice a year and different regions have different weather so this can change when you shear your sheep. You can use a Fly treatment like Clik after shearing this will give protection of up to 16 weeks. Before shearing and as a treatment for fly strike you can use a Dysect or Crovect, these are both good treatments. It is important to be vigilant during the summer season the Valais are prone to this as they have a lot of fleece, make sure to check around the horns regularly and the bum areas.