The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Cazzie on February 27, 2011, 05:41:42 pm

Title: Herefordshire Ouessants
Post by: Cazzie on February 27, 2011, 05:41:42 pm
I'm half way through lambing my small flock of black Ouessants.  They won't be ready to go until August but I like to put feelers out well in advance.
My flock is registered with the U.K. Ouessant society.

And for those who are curious here follows a bit more info......
Ouessants are an ideal 'first timers' sheep, they are the smallest naturally occuring breed in the world and originate from a tiny island of the same name just off the coast of Brittany.  Due to their small size they are easy to handle but the best bit in my opinion is that they need no dagging, foot trimming, drenching, and are resistant to the sheep complaints connected with most other breeds.  They usually have just one lamb, although we have just had twin girls  :love: If you have more than one pocket of land to graze them on you shouldn't even need to worm them - we don't.  In fact all we do is shear them once in the summer.  I use mine as eco friendly lawn mowers, in fact mine won't eat hay just the grass and a handful of ewe nuts per day.
And before you think I'm painting too rosy a picture I will list the bad points........
-You can't 'round them up' using a dog as they scatter to the four winds - stealth is what is needed, and a food bucket.
-Although they aren't technically a meat breed, I do eat the ram lambs that are unsuitable for breeding (sorry if this offends, but the meat is wonderful)
-They do like to eat bark off trees and hedges that aren't protected - my hedges resemble some French bridges!

I think you will agree that those bad points don't seem TOO bad?

For more info on the breed there is plenty on Google.
Ewe lambs £300 each castrated ram lambs (wethers) £100
Title: Re: Herefordshire Ouessants
Post by: woollyval on February 27, 2011, 09:12:52 pm
Urmmmmm Cazzie...much as I love you......They can need dagging....they have wool and can and do get shitty bums if on rich grazing....I know as I have seen it! (I have one who is a little pig with grass and usually needs a trim!) They can also get strike.....its not common in Ouessants but I know of cases of shoulder strike! As Ouessants have more wool per kg of sheep than any other breed strike can be a problem, esp in heavily treed pastures such as orchards. They have fabulous wool which is very fine with a coarser overcoat occuring in some, I have made some amazing felt with the 24 fleeces I had last year from mine and some others.
They do need occaisional foot trimming....well mine do! However they are not as heavy as some breeds so feet not so prone to problems. they are sheep they can get exactly the same worm and fluke and lice and scab etc etc problems that ANY sheep can get.............just because you don't have a problem and have extensive grazing dosent mean no one else will.
Ouessants are calmer than shetlands and other primitive breeds and don't tend to jump  but the entire rams can be very feisty. Often they are viewed as 'pet' sheep and a bit like micro pigs however in the same way small pigs are just the same as big pigs, small sheep are just the same as big sheep....

I  just want folks to realise these are proper sheep.....and not irritate anyone
Title: Re: Herefordshire Ouessants
Post by: kanisha on February 28, 2011, 07:24:30 am
Having just foot trimmed vaccinated and wormed my group of pregnant ewes i have to agree with woolly shepherd.they may be small and Ideal for those who want to get a hands on expereince of learning about sheep but they are not without work .
Is anyone actually measuring their ouessants these days?
Title: Re: Herefordshire Ouessants
Post by: Cazzie on February 28, 2011, 08:59:46 am
Okay okay I take your point  :)- I thought I might get a slight reaction there!
I do admit that just because we haven't had any 'issues' that no one else will  ;)
We are at quite a high altitude, so maybe flies aren't so much of a problem, grass isn't so lush so harder droppings, and the ground is harder so no foot problems - but like with most folk I can only state what my experience is over the five years of keeping them.  And if they are newbies to sheep like we were, they would be better starting with a breed with less problems?  A friend of mine keeps Beltex which are an absolute nightmare.
I would always point out the sheepy pitfalls to my buyers, and suggest they do some research as any responsible seller should.

Regards to all  :bouquet: :bouquet: :bouquet: