NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Suitable sheep  (Read 385 times)

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Suitable sheep
« on: June 28, 2019, 10:53:46 pm »
Looking for advice.

I have a flock (two that will become one eventually) of Welsh Mountain Badger Faces. My land is pretty sloped (I live in a valley) but I want to invest in a flock of a different breed more suited to breeding for meat.

I know you have hill, upland, and lowland sheep. So our Badgers are hill. They love running around on the steeper slopes and levels.

My question is, does this literally mean that upland/lowland sheep would not be suitable for our land? I have narrowed it down to a Welsh Mule and crossing with a terminal sire. As they are a cross with a hill sheep would they cope with the slope?!
Voss Electric Fence

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Argyll
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2019, 10:08:45 am »
All breeds can cope with  flat or steep land  it is more about the quality of the grazing , hill breeds can thrive on poorer type grasses and would get fat on top quality grass , downland breeds thrive on good grass and can underperform on poor grass .  Welsh mules will do well on any type of grass but to produce twins and milk them requires decent grass or a large grazing area

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2019, 04:14:40 pm »
Could you not just put a decent terminal sire on your badger face ewes?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2019, 08:21:38 pm »
You need to think about your lambing system and your feeding regime.

If you want to lamb outdoors and it’s hilly, wooded terrain, you need sheep which can do the job on their own and produce lambs that find the milk bar without assistance.  So, basically, not a meat bread!  Lol

If you lamb indoors, then fine.

If the ewes need to manage outside on poorish grass with a bit of hay over winter, then hill types will do better than lowland types or even Mules.   If the grass is good, and you don’t mind adding some cake in the run up to lambing, then you could certainly look at Mules.

And so on.

Lambs which fetch more money at the mart don’t necessarily make more profit, profit is a function of fitting the sheep and system to your ground and climate. ;).

As an example, although it’s cattle, we costed out producing top quality 14-month Limousin stirks vs top price Angus stirks vs “hairy” Angus x Blue Greys on our farm in north Cumbria.

We could top the mart price for their type every year with Angus stirks out of Friesan x Angus and Hereford suckler cows.  But to get the absolute top price, we’d have had to go Limousin.  On our ground, the amount of feeding we’d have had to put into producing mart-topping Limouson stirks would have more than negated the additional money they’d have fetched.  Not to mention costing in occasional Caesarians ;).  But when we costed the hairy little stirks off the Fell that fetched half what the best of our output fetched, we were making more profit on the hairy little fellas.  And if we’d done that costing before we upgraded the winter sheds, we could have saved tens of thousands - the Blue Greys wintered out on our poorest ground! 

So the most financially successful farmers aren’t necessarily the ones getting the best prices at the mart.  They’re the ones who have matched what they produce to their land and climate ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2019, 08:25:32 pm »
Could you not just put a decent terminal sire on your badger face ewes?

And you are so close to the breeder of the best terminal sires in the country....

tommytink

  • Joined Aug 2018
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #5 on: June 29, 2019, 10:37:02 pm »
Could you not just put a decent terminal sire on your badger face ewes?

I could, but this year we’re having a Badger ram on loan for free (part of the deal when we bought them), so will be looking for some lambs to register and sell, as well as some ewe lambs for keeps.

So for now we want another 10 sheep, but not Badgers! (We’ve already got another seven on top of our original lot.) They’re not keeping our grass down that much (although they are piling on the pounds) so think another little flock would sort us out.

Once we have run them a couple of years we’ll hopefully work out what fits with space and financials etc. The Badgers can lamb outside and we’re rebuilding our lambing shed so can use that for the others. It’s all a learning curve and and we’ll see what makes a few pennies and what doesn’t.

I’m intrigued Me - who is this breeder and of what type of terminal sires?


Buttermilk

  • Joined Jul 2014
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #6 on: June 30, 2019, 08:20:33 am »
At this time of year your sheep should not be keeping up with the grass growth otherwise you will have to feed hay all winter.  Here I have over half my land as hay and the grass is still in front of the sheep.  Last year with the same numbers I was having to graze harder until the hay was off as the grass did not grow as fast due to the weather.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #7 on: June 30, 2019, 08:59:04 am »
As above, best to be understocked in summer than over stocked in winter. My ewes run nearly 5 to an acre in summer with their lambs yet winter they are down to 1.5 ewes to the acre.

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Suitable sheep
« Reply #8 on: June 30, 2019, 10:13:45 am »
Could you not just put a decent terminal sire on your badger face ewes?


I’m intrigued Me - who is this breeder and of what type of terminal sires?

(fish on, fish on)… Its Me. Charmoise.co.uk

 

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