When purchasing pedigree Valais Blacknose stock there are several things to be aware of, hopefully this guide will help you buy with confidence.

Pedigree Certificate & Registry

  • Every pedigree Valais Blacknose should have a Grassroots registration certificate
  • Always check that the animal matches the details on the Grassroots registry certificate – if no certificate is available take note of all the ear tag numbers and contact the registry directly to check if the animal is registered before you purchase. Ideally request all this information prior to any negotiations so that you can validate the animal prior to any viewing or purchase 
    • Grassroots email: Libby@grassroots.co.uk
    • Grassroots telephone: 01392 437788
  • The address on the Grassroots certificate should match the one you are buying and collecting the sheep from unless it’s an auction sale. 

Stock Selection

  • If possible, arrange an in-person stock viewing appointment prior to any deposit payments as often deposits are non-refundable.
  • Request to see the dam and sire whereby possible.
  • Find out when the sheep was last vaccinated and wormed, all sheep should be on the yearly Heptavac P Plus program and wormed regularly.
  • Be sure to thoroughly assess the sheep and be comfortable with your selection prior to arranging a deposit payment and final purchase.
  • If you are looking to buy genotype specific (ARQ/ARR or ARR/ARR) or Maedi Visna (MV) stock be sure to request for the relevant certification that apply
  • Have faith in your supplier, never be afraid to ask questions or obliged to purchase, if the animal is not of the standard you are looking for.
  • Try to avoid purchasing from photographs via the internet as often they are not a true representation of the animal and judging conformation and fleece quality is extremely difficult.
  • If buying from a website or Facebook page, do your homework and background checks first and if possible, speak to other breeders.

Collection of sheep

  • The Seller should always have a CPH number and complete in the relevant movement licence. 
  • The buyer is also required to have their own CPH number.
  • On collection of sheep check the animal over so that you are a 100% happy with its health status, if you have any concerns address them immediately with the seller.
  • The seller will provide you with the relevant Grassroots certificate and any other certification that may be applicable i.e scrapie results
  • Change of ownership can be managed in two ways:
    • By the buyer completing the lower section of the Grassroots certificate and posting the slip to the registry directly. 
    • By the seller via an online Grassroots system transferal.
    • Once transfer is completed Grassroots will issue a new ownership certificate.
  • Breeders offer and aftersales service, don’t be afraid to use them if you need any support or advice.

Things to be aware of 

  • No ear tag – no sale!  By law, all sheep must be ear tagged and corresponding paperwork/pedigree supplied to you.  If you are ever asked to remove and replace with a different ear tag, do not do this!  The EID ear tag is a unique identifier which should remain with the sheep throughout its life and identifies the holding where it was born.  By removing the ear tag, you render the animal unidentified and therefore unregistered.
  • If it’s too cheap and you feel something is wrong, then walk away.  Remember that old saying, ‘if it’s too good to be true', it probably is.
  • If buying a lamb, it should be at least 4 months old when weaned, unless a pet lamb still on the bottle or sold with recipient mother.
  • No paperwork possibly means that the sheep is not a pure pedigree or stolen. However, this may not apply to castrated males born prior to June 2020 who will have been recorded in the registry but not issued a certificate due to their non-breeding status.
  • Castrated and Spitti males can now be listed with the Grassroots registry as non-breeding animals and will be issued with a pink ‘Listed - Non-Breeding’ certificate if the breeder requests this. 
  • There is no official breed-up program in the UK, therefore you will not be able to register offspring from non-pedigree stock. 

Imports

If you are looking to purchase sheep from other countries, please be clear on the Grassroots register rules and regulations that apply to imports and ensure the breeder paperwork matches these criteria prior to purchase.

  • Sheep must be fully registered by an EU Zootechnically recognised Registration Authority
  • Sheep must have a Zootech pedigree certificate with three generations of full pedigree ancestors
  • Sheep must be registered by the importer within 6 months of arrival in the UK 
  • You will need to provide a copy of the:
    • export documentation from the source country
    • import documentation from the UK or Irish ministry

The information within this guide is based on the knowledge and input from VBSSUK members and the Grassroots Registry.