Large scale breeding in commercial conditions

Extensive and low input

size and scale

We believe in order to make significant genetic gain a large population and data set is needed.

Ewes and Rams are selected from a base flock of 6,000 ewes all run under commercial conditions with only the top 10% making it into the stud flock


High Health Status

We think it’s important to safeguard your flock from potentially very costly diseases. Therefore we run a closed flock and all stock is MV (Maedi Visna) accredited and Scrapie monitored, giving you complete peace of mind


In order to have a profitable sheep enterprise workload must be kept to a minimum. 

  • Sheep are reared on a solely foraged based system
  • Lambed outside with very little intervention
  • Minimal drenching with adult sheep not routinely wormed
  • Tough culling policy with emphasis on structural correctness


progressive outlook

We are always looking ahead and trying to predict what new challenges the sheep industry may come across and striving to be innovative within our sector. This aspiration is something which is shared within our clients. It’s been great to see our client enjoying some real success. Two out of the three finalists of The Farmers Weekly Awards 2017 Sheep Farmers of The Year were Wairere UK ram users. Congratulations to Gordon Wyeth, one of our longest and largest ram clients, on winning it

performance recorded

We performance record all of our ewes and their offspring each year in the 1,600 ewe Elite flock. All data, pedigree, birth details, weaning and growth rates, ewe lamb and shearling tupping rates, backfat and eye muscle measurements, are all objectively measured and analysed by SIL – New Zealand’s performance recording and genetic evaluation database. This gives us the best independent eBVs. This is further enhanced each year by taking 150 tissue samples to give us gBVs (click here for more info).

survivabilty and longevity

Performance records investigate sire progeny groups to access survival rates . E.g how many lambs a ewe weans compared to how many she gave birth to. In addition to this, we assess her for body condition score, dags, udder, feet, longevity and wool. We are looking for an open faced animal with minimal wool on its legs that has good feet and is able to operate for many years under a minimal shepherding system. She must have a good constitution and resilience to bounce back after a hard time, keeping your replacement costs to a minimum.

SElection pressure

We run two flocks, one recorded and one commercial. Typically 1,600 recorded ewes are involved in our ram breeding programme, with 2,000 ewes (including hoggets) being run commerically. Both flocks are grazed throughout the year with no supplementary feeding and all sheep are lambed outside.

early maturing

One of our selection criteria to make it into the recorded flock is that the ewe had to be mated as a ewe lamb, to help select early maturing ewes. We therefore regularly mate over 800 ewe lambs annually. We demand good fertile sheep, with typically more than 85% conception in their first cycle.

Growth rates

Growth rate is a key attribute to making shepherding easier and more profitable. Faster growing lambs are sold earlier and in turn create less work.

Faster growing ewe lambs provide the option of hogget (ewe lamb) mating of easier wintering. This together with carcass analysis via eye muscle and backfat scanning means that wether lambs are hitting the prime lamb specification. In New Zealand, Wairere bred store lambs are much sought after by large scale specialist finnishers.


Large mob sizes are grazed under commercial conditions on second quality H.L.S ground, rising to 800 feet above sea level on the South Downs. This is a good testing ground on our ewes. We don’t feed them to produce big shearling rams, we only want only the very best rams to make it through the selection, with just 1 in 5 making it to the sale day.

Wairere UK

Locks Farm,

The Pike, West Sussex,

RH20 4AA

Chris & Caroline Hodgkins 01903 892443 / 07837 405957

Andy Hodgkins – 07805 660 225

Rob Hodgkins – 07747 623 124

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