Upgrading is not a new concept. It has been used for years in many species. We are probably most familiar with its recent use in establishing flocks of foreign sheep breeds in this country, as with the Wensleydale and Gotland breeds.
Through upgrading, we can increase the population of the breed quite rapidly while introducing genetic diversity and vigor. We must, however, take into account the character and purpose of the Coopworth when we upgrade. The most benefit will be achieved if the newly introduced genes are similar to those in the current gene pool. By maintaining a reasonable degree of predictability within the breed, we preserve its integrity. ACR has approved the use of 6 breeds which are listed below. No crossbred sheep or other breeds will be allowed.
All animals in this Program must meet the standard for their particular breed and exhibit qualities consistent with those of Coopworth sheep, i.e. easy births, attentive mothering, virility in rams, fleece production, etc.
You must be a current member of the ACR to participate in the Upgrade Program.
Fees for upgrading, as listed on the Application for Recording, must be received by the Registrar at the time the application is made.
Sheep entered into this Program must be from the ACR's list of 6 approved breeds. They must be registered with their specific breed registry and meet the standard for their breed. A copy of the animal's registration certificate must accompany the Application for Recording.
Both white and natural colored animals are eligible. ACR's color definitions must be used when completing Upgrade Program forms. Definitions are noted on the Application for Recording.
Upgraded ewes that are at least 87% Coopworth blood (F3) and rams that are at least 93% (F4) Coopworth blood may be ACR registered provided they meet eligibility requirements and the ACR Breed Standard.
Foundation Animal - A ewe or ram that you begin upgrading with. It must be registered and be from one of the approved breeds listed below:
Bluefaced Leicester (S)
Border Leicester (B)
English Leicester (E)
The ACR# assigned to a Foundation animal will be preceded by the letter "F" and its breed letter.
[Example of a natural colored Romney Foundation Animal: ACR# FY3502N]
Recorded Percentage Animal - A ewe or ram that has some traceable percentage Coopworth blood and has been entered into the ACR database. The ACR# assigned to these sheep will be preceded by the letter "R".
[Example of a natural colored Recorded Percentage Animal: ACR# R4782N]
Percentage Coopworth blood will be calculated by the Registrar and indicated on the Certificate of Recording.
Fully Upgraded Animal - A ewe or ram that has reached the required Coopworth percentage blood to be considered for ACR registration. Percentage Coopworth blood will be calculated by the Registrar and indicated on the Certificate of Registry.
Artificial Insemination – AI may be used in this Program provided the criteria for use, as outlined by ACR, are met. See the Artificial Breeding page.
HOW TO UPGRADE YOUR ANIMALS
Getting Started: Send an Application for Recording to the ACR Registrar. List the animal(s) you would like to upgrade and identify each one as "F" (Foundation) in the Action field. Include a copy of the registration paper for each animal listed and the required fees. The Registrar will assign an ACR # to each and send you a Certificate of Recording for each animal.
Increasing Percentage: To get a Certificate of Recording for a Foundation animal's offspring, complete an Application for Recording to the ACR Registrar. List the animal(s) you would like to continue upgrading and identify each one as "N" (Record Percentage Coopworth) in the Action field. Identify the sire and dam of each by their ACR#'s and indicate their percentage Coopworth blood. Include the required fees. The ACR Registrar will send you a Certificate of Recording for each animal.
PLEASE NOTE: During the upgrading process, it is especially important to select for qualities that are typically Coopworth. Retain only the animals that show the greatest potential and base your choices on the Coopworth Breed Standard. Become familiar with Article XII of the ACR By-Laws and use it for guidance as well.
Upgrading can take quite some time. In some years, you may find that you don't move forward at all because the offspring just don't make the grade. Don't be discouraged. Keep in mind that the end result of your efforts must be a sheep that looks and behaves like a Coopworth…and one that you will be proud to put your farm's name on.
Reaching Requirements for Registration: Upgraded ewes that are 87% Coopworth blood (F3) and rams that are 93% (F4) Coopworth blood may be ACR registered provided they meet eligibility requirements and the ACR Breed Standard as outlined in the ACR By-laws. List the animals that have reached these percentages on your Application for Recording and identify each one as "Y" (Register Fully Upgraded Coopworth) in the Action field. Identify the sire and dam of each by their ACR#'s and indicate their percentage Coopworth blood. Include the required fees. When the ACR Registrar has confirmed that percentage requirements have been met, you will receive a Certificate of Registration for those animals. Percentages will be noted.