Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Assn holding annual sale, open day

Waimate teacher and black and coloured sheep breeder Stuart Albrey at home on his farm. PHOTO:...
Waimate teacher and black and coloured sheep breeder Stuart Albrey at home on his farm. PHOTO: SALLY RAE
Fancy a black sheep in the family?

Then South Canterbury is the place to be on Saturday, February 5 as the Black and Coloured Sheep Breeders Association of New Zealand holds its annual sheep sale, followed by an open day for all interested people.

The sale, at the A&P showgrounds in Waimate, is expected to attract entries from Canterbury to Southland. Sheep viewing will begin at 10.30am and the sale will begin at noon. In a new initiative, the sale will be followed by an open day at Stuart and Sue Albrey’s farm, near Waimate, from 2.30pm, where local breeders will display different breeds and highlight their specific characteristics.

Usually after the sale, breeders head to the Albreys’ for a couple of workshops, followed by a barbecue. But they had run out of workshop ideas that were not repetitive, and there tended to be the same people each year, Mr Albrey said.

Mr Albrey, who is the South Island delegate to the association, said he was thinking about what they could do "a wee bit different". Generating membership was something that was often discussed and so it was decided to hold an open day for the public; the sheep sale had always been open but only members could sell sheep at it.

His aim was for people to see how they could use black and coloured sheep to fit their needs on their own properties, whether it was as a "lawnmower" through to producing fine fibre to be made into lightweight garments, Mr Albrey said.

Information would also be available on breeding sheep, while Canterbury breeders Leo and Karen Ponsonby would show how to process the raw fleeces through to yarn.

Mr Albrey is originally from Palmerston North and moved south in 1986 to a teaching position at Waimate High School.

He coached athletics and the parents of some children he coached had a small coloured flock and he and his wife got half a dozen hoggets from them, he said.

A close relationship with the late Bruce and Ellen Anderson provided access to "some of the best genetics" and their flock numbers grew.

After tiring of having "little lease blocks here and there", they later bought their 50ha property.

Having knitted from the age of about 7 or 8, he was very keen on handcrafts, utilising his homegrown wool.

sally.rae@alliedpress.co.nz

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