Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Native breeds and appropriate environment  (Read 8090 times)


  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cambridgeshire
    • Hempsals Community Farm
Re: Native breeds and appropriate environment
« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2011, 07:34:31 pm »
This thread reminds me of an old song (can't remember who it was by) I think the words (which were spoken with the Hovis tune in the background) went something like ...

THE HOVIS ADVERT (Parody) by Tony Capstick
mudcat has the lyrics and youtube the audio:
Hovis Advert - Tony Capstick - Capstick Comes Home 1981

Good stuff!


  • Joined Apr 2010
  • Cambridgeshire
    • Hempsals Community Farm
Re: Native breeds and appropriate environment
« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2011, 07:42:40 pm »
For a more serious contribution to the thread, I agree wholeheartedly that the rare breeds ought to be conserved in an appropriate environment - where possible. However, for those of us not lucky enough to be somewhere exotic like Shetland how do you find out what would be an appropriate rare breed for your area?  I'd love to see a map of britain with the rare breeds shown by location. Might be a real help for smaller rare breeds to raise the profile in their local areas, I'd certainly get an appropriate local breed if I knew of any. As far as I can tell the fens don't have specific tradional breeds - or perhaps I've not looked hard enough?


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Native breeds and appropriate environment
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2011, 10:14:17 pm »
A breed like the Shetland sheep also has a lot of advantages that are of benefit to any smallholder such as easy lambing, easier to handle, do not need clippers to shear as you can roo them  etc etc . So I do agree about environment but there are other factors as well on thinking more about it, it is all about common sense in the end!


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Native breeds and appropriate environment
« Reply #18 on: April 19, 2011, 11:56:26 pm »
Thanks Ben for the video clip  :D
The question of keeping rare breeds in their own regions and what happens when you don't is interesting and relevant.  The breed we keep the most of is the Hebridean, whose name implies that they originated in the Hebrides.  In fact it is not as straigtforward as that - along with Shetlands, Manx Loaghtan, North Ronaldsays and the other British primitives, this type was once common throughout Britain (before being divided up into actual breeds), but was pushed to the rocky outer regions of the British Isles with the introduction of more commercial breeds.  But of course although it was the type which existed everywhere, the individual sheep found in any area came from ancestors which had also been local to that area or nearby so were adapted to that area, so in that way you could say after all that Hebrideans did come from the Hebrides... ::)  However, by the late 1800s there were none left on the islands and most Hebs were later found in England, especially in Yorkshire where they had been kept as Park breeds then became popular with smallholders in the mid 20th century.  So for over 100 years many Hebs have lived in England, whilst a few small flocks survived in Scotland.  So where do they really come from?  Without the breed becoming popular in England, they would certainly never have survived as a crofting sheep, so would have died out. Hebs currently kept in the Hebrides are there largely due to the efforts of the late Donald Ferguson, and came from stock re-introduced from England, but are not popular as money-making sheep.
Many Hebs now living in the soft parts of England have increased in size by a few kgs in the past 30-40 years.  These are the specimens which appear in the big shows and as a consequence 'become' the ideal for the breed, whereas what is needed in the Highlands and islands is a different type - certainly smaller, kept outdoors, lambing outdoors, with minimal extra feeding except hay in winter, and a large tract of grazing land.  We have just experience a typical problem when bringing one of these pampered ewes up to the south of Scotland, where she suddenly found herself in a new environment with insufficient time to adapt before we put her into lamb.  She came from a breeder just north of London where the flock were all sponged to lamb simultaneously, indoors, fed with large quantities of grain feeds and bred for the show ring.  Up here her twin lambs were tiny and she lost one. We knew this can happen when you bring soft sheep north, but she appeared to be coping admirably - obviously we were not observant enough.  There is much exchange of stock between the north and the south, so I wonder how such animals do when they find themselves in North Uist.  The great thing with Hebs is that they seem to be very adaptable and can change to accommodate varying conditions - perhaps it is this adaptability which is so important to preserve?  By keeping Hebs in a wide variety of places perhaps we are taking the right route to preserving as many of their varied traits as possible.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2011, 12:01:44 am by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.


  • Guest
Re: Native breeds and appropriate environment
« Reply #19 on: April 20, 2011, 11:21:46 am »
we had to get our boreray breeding stock from wales and england...and take them back to scotland...!!!


Tell me about native red cattle breeds...

Started by Harebell (13)

Replies: 5
Views: 3138
Last post June 06, 2016, 03:18:24 pm
by Harebell
RWAS Smallholder and Garden Traditional Rare & Native Cattle Breeds competition

Started by Rosemary (12.19)

Replies: 22
Views: 10996
Last post April 08, 2011, 09:28:37 am
by jacquip
Agri-Environment Climate Scheme (Scotland)

Started by oor wullie (9.07)

Replies: 3
Views: 1686
Last post September 23, 2015, 04:35:40 pm
by oor wullie
Native breed cattle classes at Lesmahagow show

Started by HappyHippy (7.26)

Replies: 23
Views: 7324
Last post May 18, 2011, 01:04:41 pm
by princesspiggy

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2022. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS