THEY are a breed unique to Tasmania and now the world’s last stud flock of Elliot dales needs a new home.
Owners Jan and Carl Terrey have made the difficult decision to sell the sheep because of ill health, but so far no definite buyers have been found.
“It would be absolutely criminal to send them off the butchers so we’re really hoping someone will want to buy them,” Mrs Terrey said.
Elliot dales were a breed originally developed during the 1970s at the Elliot Research Station, where Mr Terrey used to work.
Their main purpose was carpet wool production but since the demise of Australia’s carpet industry, demand for this type of wool is minimal.
The sheep can be shorn up to three times a year and produce an impressive 9kg of wool.
However, the breed also has very good carcass traits and Mrs Terrey said they are sought by butchers.
The Terreys bought most of the sheep from the research station when the stud was dispersed and originally start- ed with three different flock families. Over the years, however, Mr Terrey has continued to develop the breed and their flock now includes six different breeding groups.
While there is another commercial flock of Elliot dales in Canberra, the Terreys are the only ones to now have a stud flock.
While they would like to see the sheep sold as one flock, they are prepared to spilt them into their different breeding lots if needed.
The flock consists of 110 mixed-age ewes with 116 lambs at foot.
There are also 48 hoggets with 35 lambs at foot and 30 rams.
“They are very personable sheep and d easy to handle,” Mrs Terrey said.
“You do need good fences because they can be escape artists but they have lovely temperaments; even the rams are very gentle.”
Mrs Terrey said part of the sale would also include the flock stud books, which date back to the original breeding program at the research station. Roberts livestock agent Mark Lamprey, who is handling the sale, said there had been some interest from potential buyers.