The Hazeldean stud ewe flock numbers some 13,000 ewes and while only the best 9,000 of these are used for ram production, the size of the flock makes it arguably the biggest single Merino gene resource in Australia.
In addition to its scale, the Hazeldean ewe flock is unique in its depth and consistency of breeding having been under the direction of the one family, the Litchfields of Cooma, since establishment in 1865.The creation of a selection procedure, ongoing now for nearly 50 years, of measured economic value, rather than aesthetic characteristics, has meant the Hazeldean flock has a consistency of production and commercial worth compounded and entrenched throughout its entire genetic profile to a degree not found elsewhere.
The Hazeldean ewe flock goes through the same stringent assessment process as the rams and every ewe is assessed for its ability to contribute to the overall progress of the stud. This means the diversity in the genetic base is maintained and inbreeding minimized and the full worth of the extensive flock size utilized.
Hazeldean ewes are identified at lamb marking and then following an even up shearing at 8 months are run through until 17 months when they are individually classed, sampled, scanned and hip sampled prior to shearing and fleece weighing.
Following the return of processed performance data including pedigree information and adjustments, ewes are inspected off shears, culled for structural faults and allocated to a stud category dependent on their original classing score, performance data and final inspection.
Surplus and cast for age ewes are available from each of Hazeldeans breeding locations.