Jump to content

The sheep that wasn't CHEAP.....................


Recommended Posts

Why counting sheep can be very expensive: Ram sold for world record £231,000



By Jim Mcbeth and Beth Hale

Last updated at 6:28 PM on 28th August 2009




His strong, sturdy lines scream stamina rather than speed.

Which is just as well, because while Deveronvale Perfection might have just become a ram with a Ferrari-size price tag, he's going to have to live up to his name.

The six-month old Texel tup has just earned the title the world's most expensive sheep - fetching £231,000 at auction.


article-1209744-0635F3C7000005DC-492_634x857.jpg Happy owner: Aberdeenshire farmer Graham Morrison and his shepherd Scott Mickie with Deveronvale Perfection


That's a lot of lamb chops, but Deveronvale Perfection, snapped up by a Scottish farmer is destined for greater things, namely breeding.

Nothing like a bit of pressure.

And as if the name and the price tag wasn't enough when he went off to auction on Thursday, Deveronvale Perfection still hadn't been put through his paces, so to speak.

There is likely to be some considerable air of anticipation down on the farm when the ram does get down to business; particularly as, if all goes to plan he could continue with it for six to eight years.







Farmers held their breath as bids for the tup - the term for an uncastrated male sheep - rose by increments of £10,000 at the Lawrie and Symington livestock sale, smashing a 20-year world record.

It was £102,000 more than the highest UK price for a breeding animal. Tophill Joe, who died earlier this month, fetched, £128,000 in 2004 and went on to earn £1 million and sire more than 1000 lambs.

Deveronvale Perfection's new owner Jimmy Douglas, who farms sheep in Aberdeenshire, was happy to spend more than the average house price for what he called the 'perfect tup'.

Last night the farmer told how he had been 'tracking' the young sheep and knew when he saw a photograph of the prize specimen two weeks ago: 'I had to have him'.


article-1209744-0635F3A8000005DC-198_634x423.jpg Baaa - rrgain: Deveronvale Perfection broke a 20-year world record and sold for £230,000

'I've bred sheep for years but this is the best Texel tup I have ever seen.

'There was tremendous competition and I was extremely pleased when the gavel dropped.

'I have three pedigree flocks and we will be used initially to improve my stock.'

A man with perhaps even more delighted was the sheep's breeder Graham Morrison, a farmer from Banffshire he set off for auction with a 'funny money' hope his ram would fetch £80,000 and was flabbergasted as the price rose, and rose.

'I knew he would make a high price,' said Mr Morrison.


'When bids hit £100,000, I was flabbergasted. From £120,000, I was stunned. By the end, I was speechless. When I phoned home, the family thought I was joking.'

With more than a dash of pride he added: 'Many tups are good; some are great, but you rarely see the perfect animal. He was born and bred on my farm and is without equal.

'It will be a long time before this happens again and it validates a lifetime of work, striving to reach the very top as a breeder.'

He has already spent £13,000 from his massive windfall - on two more breeding animals.


article-1209744-020EF3AF000004B0-2_634x286.jpg A shepherd enjoys his flock of sheep

John Yates, the chief executive of the Texel Sheep Society, was in little doubt that Deveronvale Perfection would be an investment.


He said: 'The farmer is looking at the decades of sheep that this bloodline can produce.


'The price was phenomenal and surprised even us, but when people have that much enthusiasm for a breed, they stop at nothing.'

On the question of expectations, Jonathan Long, livestock editor of Farmers Weekly, said the ram would probably be ready to breed within the next three weeks.

'After that there will be a good indication of the quality,' he said.

There is, however, always an element of risk attached to buying such an expensive creature.

He added: 'There’s a risk the ram won’t breed as good as it looks. It’s a gamble, but for breeders such as Mr Douglas, it’s one that usually pays off.

'This animal is at the very highest echelon, the best some breeders have seen. Over its breeding life of six to eight years, it will be a top sire, producing many breeding rams and other animals for the highest quality meat.'

It's a gamble Mr Douglas is prepared to take.

'He'll be the best in the business,' said Mr Douglas.



Texel sheep factfile



  • If Deveronvale Perfection lives up to his name his potential is almost limitless, he could service as many as 300 ewes a year naturally, and thousands by artificial insemination.
  • He could be capable of fathering 1000 lambs a year.
  • A 'straw' of his semen, so called because of the plastic tube it is stored in, could be worth from £50 to £100.
  • If the ram is the best in his business, a ram sired by him could fetch even more at auction while a ewe might fetch a more modest £21,000.
  • Deveronvale Perfection's 'perfect' characteristics are good feet, sturdy and straight front legs, a good back end, sturdy top line, strong and extremely white head,
  • Deveronvale is the name of the ram's flock and Perfection is because of an alphabet system which means male sheep from the breed born in 2009 have to have names beginning with P.
  • An average ram bought by a commercial producer would fetch £350 to £500.
  • In the 1989 a Merino tup was sold for £205,000 in Australia - it held the record for being the world's most expensive sheep for 20 years.
  • The fleece of the Texel sheep produces medium quality white wool which is used for hosiery yarns and knitting wools.
  • The breed have been around since Roman times and comes from the Dutch island of Texel. It is believed to be descended from long-legged sheep brought from the east coast of Africa.
  • Texels flocks have flourished in the UK since they were introduced in 1970 when the Animal Breeding Research Organisation who brought in four rams for experimental purposes.
  • They have a hardy nature and their meat is prized for being especially lean.
  • Texel sheep have no wool on their face or legs.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...