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Tuesday, 1 February  2005  Sheep Judging

Visit a sheep judging day at the Royal Adelaide Show.

In here today we're judging sheep. They are all put in different categories and they're judged on each specific category.

When a ram come out, they are looking at them being in the right age group, and then when they come out the first thing they look for is confirmation, which is how they are put together, whether they are well proportioned.

And then the next thing they would look at in the meat merinos would be their wool.

Well, he'd start off with the heard and he'd look for faults in the head, like he would be looking for black spots on them, bigger than say a five cent piece.

And on the head, whether it's a ewe, they'd be testing whether it's got horns or not, and in the rams, if they have got horns. They are not allowed to have too much horn in our breed, so they would be checking that.

Check the ears, for colour and more black spots because we don't want to have black wool in them, and they would move over the front of the sheep to have a look at its legs and chest area, to make sure it's nice and wide, and then they'd move along around to the back, and check out those legs.

A perfect ram is one that stands well on its own feet and as you would have seen we walk our sheep up and down just to see how well they carry themselves and so they have got to be well proportioned on the back end and on the front end, and they've got to have good style wool.

Today they are looking at the merinos, polled, which is without horns, and then the merino with the horn and the South African meat merino is being judged now.

Earlier on in the week they were judging a lot of the White Suffolks, Dorsets, Border Leicesters and all those breeds like Texels. So they can't fit them all here to be here at the same time so they have to split it up.

I guess merinos have been in Australia for probably 100 odd years, MacArthur brought them in there and I'm looking at the South African meat merino and they originated from Germany and they come out into Africa in about 1932 and in 1970 they were recognised as a breed in their own right where they had bred them up in South Africa.

About nine years ago they imported embryos from there to Australia and that's where this breed started off so really we've only been in Australia about nine years.

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English Bites - Sheep Judging
story notes

Sheep is an unusual word . The plural form is the same as the singular form. We have one sheep.

And many sheep. We never say 'sheeps'.

Several very common words have irregular plurals that need to be learnt.
more information: irregular plurals

When they're is the short from of they are it is spelled t-h-e-y-'-r-e.
more information: they're their there

A ram is a male sheep.

the first thing / the next thing
Notice how he orders events here by saying the first thing and the next thing. That's like saying 'the second thing'. So the first thing they look at is confirmation, the second thing is their wool.

confirmation, which is how they are put together
Which is means that what follows is the definition. So confirmation is how they are put together.

Merinos are the most common type of sheep in Australia. They are known for their excellent wool.

a ewe
A ewe is a female sheep. Notice that we say a ewe and not an ewe, because we pronounce ewe the same as 'you', with a consonant sound at the beginning.
more information: a & an

The verb to check means to 'look at closely', to see if everything is right.

check out
The phrasal verb check out here means the same as check (to look at closely), but it's a bit less formal.

Example: You should check out our page about the phrasal verb 'check out'.
more information: check out

The plural of foot. Several very common words have irregular plurals that need to be learnt.
more information: irregular plurals

polled, which is without horns
Notice he says which is. This means that there is a definition following. A sheep that's polled has no horns.

The past participle pf the irregular verb breed.
more information: breed

Notice that when there is used to indicate a place, it is spelled t-h-e-r-e.
more information: they're their there

What's a female sheep called?

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