The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: ZacB on April 29, 2012, 02:23:28 pm

Title: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: ZacB on April 29, 2012, 02:23:28 pm
Just a bit of research at the moment. Does anybody on the forum keep / has kept ???

Have been reading / researching & thought I would post the question on here. Maybe in the future we will look to establish our own small flock of sheep. We have around 1.5 acres to play with at the moment, good summer pasture. I'm thinking 3 ewe's ???
Kerry Hill's seem to tick a few boxes. Native breed, good meat quality & not a hill breed (no disrespect meant), plus look pretty. This is as much for pleasure as food.
To any owners, are the lambs able to finish off on grass alone within a resonable time?
Anybody have any views or suggestions for other breeds. As I said, main boxes to tick, I think, are native / rare breed, not horned though, & good quality meat.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: ZacB on April 29, 2012, 02:48:16 pm
Oxford Down ???

Teeswater ???
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Moleskins on April 29, 2012, 08:05:19 pm
This question comes up time and again, and I'm sure I must have asked it a few years back.
The answer that always comes up apart from ''have some of the breed i've got'' is
'have a breed that you like' at the end of the day I think that's the most important thing,
you've got to like them.
Kerry hills are known for running away to the other side of the field I'm told.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Small Farmer on April 29, 2012, 08:19:35 pm
Is there a pool of genes you can access reasonably close - in other words are there other breed enthusiasts nearby?  If there are then you can borrow or buy rams.  If not then avoiding in-breeding becomes difficult. 

All the rare breeds have attractive points combined with less desirable attributes.  That's why they're rare.  You have to like them and want to persevere otherwise go for something easy,

Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Brijjy on April 29, 2012, 08:37:03 pm
I don't have any myself but I live 2 miles away from where they originate. My local pub is called The Kerry Lamb. There are a few around here. I like the look of them, they are smart looking. I have found that they are the first to run away from you when you walk near them. That could be a good point or bad point depending on your perspective.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Mays on April 29, 2012, 08:46:02 pm
a very good sheep farmer told me to always fill your feild with what is popular locally... that way they will sell when the time comes  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: bigchicken on April 29, 2012, 11:45:17 pm
I would go to the Kerry Hill sheep society web page as they will have the information you seek. I like the looks of the Kerry, very pretty sheep and a field of them would be somethink to see. Maybe you could go and see a few flocks and get the facts from the people who are the experts. Best of luck.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: blades on April 30, 2012, 06:43:20 am
I agree with Moleskins.... choose a breed that you like but research it carefully. When we first started out with sheep and after a lot of research we chose Herdwicks, we loved the grey colour and the overall shape of them. For us they turned out to be a disaster, we found them very flighty and despite having good stock fencing, ours were without doubt all related to Houdini. We sold them on to a friend who has much larger fields than us and for him they have been perfect. At the end of the day I guess they are a hill breed and it was perhaps my mistake to think 4 and 6 acre paddocks would suit them. Now we keep Ryelands, we recently bought our first 2. It's early days but I have to start so far we have found them to be fantastic. Really friendly, calm and deliberate; throughly enjoying them.

Good luck with your search and hope you are has happy with your final choice as we are with our Ryelands!  :sheep:
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Tilly on April 30, 2012, 12:03:18 pm
Hi ZakB,
I have just read your post and just like to say.....

We have kept Kerry Hill Sheep in the past,they are the most eye catching, beautiful sheep ....(http://i954.photobucket.com/albums/ae26/thomsett_bucket/lambs051.jpg).They are very good mothers and woe betide any dog that gets to near to their lambs.
They are however noted to be independent and flighty ,and yes I agree they are fairly "lively",but saying that a lot of how  sheep behave depends on how you handle them.
I have successfully shown the breed and with correct handling CAN become quite tame.
I would say maybe not the ideal "starter" sheep, for inexperienced shepherds.

Tilly  :wave:

Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on April 30, 2012, 01:09:17 pm
If I kept what is popular locally I would have a great big Blackie x Texel or x Suffolk mule, be unable to tip it up for treatment on my own, the meat joints would be too big for us to eat and I would be having to assist with lambing/mismothering as it had triplets then stuck two fingers up at at least one lamb and peed off across the field 3 times round :-))))). sooo...whats good locally for sheep farmers in general might not be the best for a smallholder approach.

Instead I put up with the flightiness of the Shetlands in exchange for the fab meat, easy births, good mothering, toughness and cheapness of purchase and keep and lightness so I can manage them by myself when needed.

Its more important to me that they are easy every day of the year in looking after themselves and their lambs than that they are easy to round up every 5 minutes. (in fact they arent too bad if you get them bucket trained and get them to come to you instead of the other way round).
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Bramblecot on April 30, 2012, 04:15:17 pm

Instead I put up with the flightiness of the Shetlands in exchange for the fab meat, easy births, good mothering, toughness and cheapness of purchase and keep and lightness so I can manage them by myself when needed.

Its more important to me that they are easy every day of the year in looking after themselves and their lambs than that they are easy to round up every 5 minutes. (in fact they arent too bad if you get them bucket trained and get them to come to you instead of the other way round).
that made me laugh ;D ;D.  My new selection procedure for the Shetland ewes is 'last one to bucket feed is first one in the trailer - for the one-way trip'
a neighbour has KH's but they are pretty much left to fend for themselves.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: SteveHants on April 30, 2012, 05:01:14 pm
Most people round here are mule mad too. Theres the odd "more enlightened" keeper of lleyns and Romneys creeping in. Dont know of many keeping the weird shedding things I am creating. I don't worry about it though because it is all part of my highly cunning plan....
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Small Farmer on April 30, 2012, 10:53:53 pm
Hi Tilly is there a breed you haven't kept?

Jill, by the way produced a pair of fine lambs a few weeks ago.  Found her coughing and scouring and unable to get up this afternoon so had the vet in.  Two separate infections, but she should recover now the vet's bill is ticking up. 
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Castle Farm on May 01, 2012, 09:12:31 am
I've had a few in the Kerry Lamb in the past, as I lived in Newtown years ago.

Kerry Hills are a lovely looking breed and my great uncle had a flock.
But if your going to keep Kerries your going to need a tup at some stage and finding one near you may be a problem.

I looked into getting Kerries and as I live near The Royal Welsh Showground enquired about availiblity and cost at the Royal Welsh Show.

They were asking stupid money even for miss marked, so I bought Llyens instead.

Best choice ever, as they are a superb breed.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Remy on May 01, 2012, 09:57:18 am
I started off with a mix of cross cade lambs given to me free - I think the owner saw me coming  ;D.  Four of them grew into fantastic ewes (three mules and some other cross) and I was talked into getting a ram by a farmer friend who thought I was mad having these 'pet' sheep.  He spotted a Ryeland ram for sale in the local paper for 40, I went along to see him and was hooked!  Jasper the ram has been fabulous, very calm and even tempered (although he can have his moments in the mating season lol) and has produced some cracking meaty lambs - my foundation flock was certainly a bargain!

I've since added five pedigree Charollais which I got at a bargain price from a breeder near me, they also breed with Jasper and have great lambs.  Last year I wanted to add some colour to my flock and got various coloured sheep I liked the look of (Gotlands, Zwartbles and a Herdwick).  I had to laugh at a previous poster's comment about Herdwick, they are indeed very flighty especially mine and I wouldn't get more of them, although I do love the look of them.  The Gotlands are by far the most friendliest sheep I've even encountered, some of mine are like dogs!  Friendly sheep do make all the maintenance jobs easier  ;)
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Tilly on May 01, 2012, 10:30:04 am

Hi Smallholder, :wave:


Jill, by the way produced a pair of fine lambs a few weeks ago.  Found her coughing and scouring and unable to get up this afternoon so had the vet in.  Two separate infections, but she should recover now the vet's bill is ticking up. 

Sorry to hear this ,but sounds like you acted quickly and saved her.  - Hope she gets back on her feet soon and looks after her lambs.
I think the weather is more to blame than anything -Hot ,Cold then never ending  rain.We have been struggling here on the farm and have been getting stock back inside at night so they can  lay dry -but have to be very careful as "recipe" for causing pneumonia.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Crofterloon on May 01, 2012, 11:12:22 am
If I kept what is popular locally I would have a great big Blackie x Texel or x Suffolk mule, be unable to tip it up for treatment on my own, the meat joints would be too big for us to eat and I would be having to assist with lambing/mismothering as it had triplets then stuck two fingers up at at least one lamb and peed off across the field 3 times round :-))))). sooo...whats good locally for sheep farmers in general might not be the best for a smallholder approach.

Instead I put up with the flightiness of the Shetlands in exchange for the fab meat, easy births, good mothering, toughness and cheapness of purchase and keep and lightness so I can manage them by myself when needed.

Its more important to me that they are easy every day of the year in looking after themselves and their lambs than that they are easy to round up every 5 minutes. (in fact they arent too bad if you get them bucket trained and get them to come to you instead of the other way round).

I agree with you I am in the North East of Scotland I have wiltshires and shetlands which I put to the cheviot tup and they work for me. I find sometimes farmers are frightened to take a chance which obviously someone had to at some point. Although I would never criticise anyone for what they choose to have.

I have been told that if there is a flock of Kerry Hills grazing and you come across them it quite something when they all look up at you.

All the best whatever you decide.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: ZacB on May 02, 2012, 09:36:28 am
That you all for taking time to reply & esp to Jilly for the photo  ;D

It is early days but I feel we have to start somewhere. I think the general opinion on the Kerries is that they are a cracking looking breed & good mum's, for me that a start. Will build my list as I go along & see where it takes me.

Attending the Suffolk Show in June so hoping to pick the minds of a few sheepy people there.

Castlefarm, re the Llyens, a few people around us keep these & second what you say about being a lovely breed.
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Tilly on May 02, 2012, 10:15:18 am

Hi ZakB
I am booked into the Suffolk Show with some G.F.D - hope to see you there........ :wave:
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: ZacB on May 03, 2012, 12:12:55 pm

Hi ZakB
I am booked into the Suffolk Show with some G.F.D - hope to see you there........ :wave:

Will make a point of coming to introduce myself to you & your GFD's

Esp as I've now google'd & found out what GFD's are  :dunce:
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Small Farmer on May 03, 2012, 07:34:54 pm
Tilly's GFDs are awesome, along with her Lincoln Longwools
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Karen-Louise on May 12, 2012, 04:34:02 pm
Hi

Just wanted to add that having a flock of Kerry's myself, they are the most wonderful characters and indeed are the most protective mothers  :D
They do get tame very easily as long as you have the time to spend with them, mine come to call and even though i still havent actually got round to finishing fencing my fields adjoining to the next farm they have never roamed off my property.  I personally think they are not skitty at all, the tups are very bold and curious and will come bounding up to you  ;D  simply put they are 'perfect'.
The surplus lambs that havent made the grade for breeding/showing make lovely meat too  :yum:
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Tilly on May 13, 2012, 01:26:55 pm

Hi Karen-Louise,
Welcome to the forum   :wave:
Perhaps you could tell us a bit more about the Kerry hill breed,there are very few about in my area Norfolk.

 I believe they are not classed as a rare breed now so numbers must have increased since we had them.
- and some photographs of your flock  :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep: would be a real treat.....

Tilly
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Karen-Louise on May 15, 2012, 10:39:26 am
Hi Tilly,
Thankyou so much   :wave:

I think they are still classed as a rare breed at present, most shows don't have a Kerry class but we can compete in the rare breed classes, its rare to see Kerry's at the shows as i usually compete against other native breeds but numbers are definately on the up so maybe we wont be rare for much longer  :thumbsup:

Do you have a special place for pictures on here?  I would love to show off my flock, they are very gorgeous (even if i do say so myself)    ;D

Karen-Louise
Title: Re: Kerry Hill's - Opinions
Post by: Small Farmer on May 22, 2012, 02:09:39 pm
There were lots at Builth Wells show and looked very appealing for our purposes (not least because there's a good size flock near us for borrowing rams etc).  However chatting to a couple of owners we were told that they were "sharp" to handle, run fast, jump well and test sheepdogs. 


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