Award for little shepherdess

Hayley Mackey, winner of the Novice Show Flock of the Year in the Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club's annual Flock competition along with her grandfather, John Robinson and mum, Marlene Mackey
Hayley Mackey, winner of the Novice Show Flock of the Year in the Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club's annual Flock competition along with her grandfather, John Robinson and mum, Marlene Mackey

Mary had a little lamb but four year old Hayley Mackey from Lisburn has a flock and what a flock it is.

Her Beltex Mackro flock, which she looks after aided by her grandfather John Robinson, has just been named ‘Beltex Novice Show Flock of the year’ in the Irish Beltex Sheep Breeders Club’s annual Flock competition.

Hayley and her grandfather were presented with the award at a gala dinner held recently in the Rosspark Hotel and the trophy now takes pride of place in her bedroom. “My father set up the Beltex flock for Hayley in 2015 as he thought it would be a great interest for her growing up,” explained mum, Marlene. “And that has very much proved to be the case. She was introduced to the sheep at a very young age joining us in the lambing shed at just a few months old.”

The flock is registered to John Robinson’s home address in Ballywalter but the family work between the farms in Ballywalter and Lisburn. “We have a small flock of 15 females plus two stock rams with all lambing taking place on our farm in Lisburn,” explained Marlene.

It’s very much a team effort with Hayley’s father, Eric also closely involved. Once lambed the sheep go back down to Ballywalter to graze but return to the Mackey farm in Lisburn for show and sale preparations and once again Hayley is actively involved. “She is such a natural with the animals and she is absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award – it’s such an honour.” added Marlene.