Veterinarian couple bet on “Choné” sheep breeding in Algoz, spending 43,000 euros on rare sheep
José Leitão and Clarisse Breda, both 28 years old and residents of the Algarve, have decided to embark on pursuing a dream they’ve conceived over many years.
The young couple went to Northern Ireland last year in order to fetch seven British Suffolk ewes, in order to breed them and develop the genetics of a new flock by bringing the sheep back to the Algarve.
The Suffolk sheep they seek to breed are inspired by the creation of the well-known “Choné Sheep”. Mr. Leitão explains that there are two Suffolk sheep varieties one French and one English. “We decided to go fetch the Suffolk sheep. We went to the UK in September and then they arrived in October. We got six females and one male,” he explains.
“This was a dream together with my wife. We always wanted to have sheep, but we’d rather have few and good ones than a very large herd, now we’ve found a good place for them. ” José Leitão and Clarisse Breda keep their sheep at Quinta das Poupas, in Algoz, where they also live.
Mr. Leitão also emphasizes that he intends to use sheep-breeding to expand the couple’s monetary horizons. “They all come from a ram that was the most expensive ram to buy from last year. It cost about 43,000 euros,” he recalls.
“Our goal is to sell genetics,” he adds. As for the target audience that would buy their Suffolk sheep, he explains that “it is someone who wants to have these sheep due to their origin, someone who wants to have good genetics, or people who have herds of other races but who want to improve lambs, because crossing the Suffolk will produce much larger offspring. ”
José Leitão and his wife have had a very close relationship with animals their whole lives. They graduated in veterinary medicine and opened a clinic in Guia, Albufeira. “Before we opened the clinic we had a lot of contact with this kind of animals. In the Algarve we started our business working with sheep, cows, pigs and horses,” he recalls.
Moreover, the keen veterinarians plan to participate in the Suffolk National Championships next year. “There is a national competition where only animals born in Portugal can compete and our sheep will start calving in January, so only their children can compete,” says José Leitão. As for the specific characteristics of this breed, the veterinarian points out that “the Suffolk sheep are docile animals with anatomical specificities”.
“These sheep have black limbs and the tip of their ears facing outwards,” he explains. The couple concluded that “the short-term goal is to have a flock of about 30 sheep and then everything will depend on the conditions of the pasture and the land itself.”