The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: NewLifeOnTheFarm on September 16, 2019, 09:23:18 am

Title: Which tup?
Post by: NewLifeOnTheFarm on September 16, 2019, 09:23:18 am
Morning all! I'm in a quandary. So we are fairly new to sheepkeeping, going into our 3rd season. We started with 3 shetlands, this has grown to 23 Shetlands, 1 ryeland, (a short-lived expermiment!) 14 cheviots and 2 zwartbles. We more than doubled our land this year and are now looking for something more marketable than the field fillers they used to be as well as growing our flock. The initial plan for this year was to use a Cheviot tup on everything bar my ryeland and a couple of Shetlands (I have a ryeland tup for them), so that the pure Cheviots and Cheviot crosses would do better at market, with the ewes being a good maternal replacement. However, we have been gifted two cracking zwartble rams over the weekend, and I'm now wondering what's best to do. Should I use a Cheviot on my Cheviots and zwartbles over Shetlands? Any advice greatly received!
Title: Re: Which tup?
Post by: bj_cardiff on September 16, 2019, 12:20:05 pm
I don't know Cheviots I'm afraid, but as you already have the ram I would probably use him. I suppose it depends on what you would like to produce, if you want to go down the pure bred route, or just produce for the commercial market?

I'd be tempted to carry on breeding bure Cheviots (I assume they are registered) in the hope that you will get good prices for the ewe lambs and if you can sell the occasional breeeding ram. Anything that wasn't special enough to be registered I would cross with a Lleyn or Texel to produce a comercial type lamb.
Title: Re: Which tup?
Post by: SallyintNorth on September 16, 2019, 01:07:35 pm
I'm not a fan of Zwartbles, personally.  My reasons include :

But they do have their plus points :

Shetland and Cheviot are both fab breeds, in my eyes.  Great fleece, lots of crafting applications.  Lambs born without assistance, generally jump up and round the milk bar very quickly.  However, Cheviot is slower-growing than Zwartbles, so you may get Zwartbles x Shetlands away sooner than Cheviot x Shetlands.

In the experience from here, all first cross Zwartbles lambs are black.  Much harder to sell than white lambs, and black fleeces in the wool sack devalue the whole clip unless you are very rigorous at keeping black fibres out of the white.

I would think Cheviot x Shetland would sell better in both prime and store marts.  And the ewe lambs might sell as breeders - we'd have been interested if still farming in Cumbria.  (We investigated importing Cheviot x Shetland ewe lambs from Shetland, but they'd have never seen a tick, so we decided it was too risky.)

I'm sorry but I would eat the Zwartbles tups.  They taste fab :)
Title: Re: Which tup?
Post by: shep53 on September 20, 2019, 04:49:38 pm
Depends on where you are in the country and what kind of cheviot , initial thought would be  to use the Cheviot ram on every thing of a good size and the better Zwartble  ( based on shape not how pretty )  on the smaller blockier sheep to put size into the lambs , advertise the Ryland and Zwartable on preloved or eat