Some of the rarest breeds of farm animal and poultry, including those at risk of extinction, went on show in Melton at a unique annual event which helps to safeguard their futures.
Owners converged on the town’s livestock market on Friday and Saturday for the National Native and Traditional Breeds Show and Sale.
And there were plenty of buyers and spectators who enjoyed seeing the animals up close, including the striking Lincoln Longwool sheep, magnificent black-spotted Pietrain pigs and the distinctive Golden Guernsey goat.
Supreme champion beast this year, chosen by judges from the hundreds of entries, was a British White cow from the herd of Colin Delamore.
The stunning animals which take their name from their colour are classed as a minority breed after numbers increased in recent years.
Market manager Tim Webster was pleased with the interest in this year’s show - this was the 16th year it was staged at Melton after moving from Stoneleigh in Warwickshire.
He said the new cattle buildings and auction ring, built as part of a recent £5.5million re-development, are helping to bring more people in for sales,
“We had a few more cattle this year for the rare breeds show and there were no spare pens for the sheep,” said Mr Webster.
“The new facilities have made a difference for events like this and it is a real advantage having the use of a purpose-built indoor auction ring.”
The event is the only time of the year when the various breed societies come to the same venue and provide their own stewards, inspectos and judges.
They run their individual breed categories, using their own rules, under the under the umbrella of the Melton show and sale.
For anyone wandering around the pens there are some remarkable looking animals in every direction.
The Belted Galloway cattle originate from Scotland and are predominantly black with a distinctive white band around their middle.
Another animal popular with visitors was the Whiteface Dartmoor sheep which have white faces, as their name suggests and a thick fleece and both rams and ewes have horns, with the rams sporting heavy, spiraled horns.
There were also a number of rare breed goats, including the Bagot, which is believed to be Britain’s oldest goat breed with documented ancestry going back to 1389.
Poultry and waterfowl went on show on the Saturday with categories for miniature and bantam waterfowl, as well as peafowl, turkeys and geese and large waterfowl.
Mr Webster added: “It is a pretty unique event because there is nowhere else you can see this number of rare breed animals in the same place.
“There were some breeds which attracted low prices but others did much better.
“The Lincoln Longwools did particularly well, with ewes going for up to 500 guineas.”