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Author Topic: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?  (Read 5762 times)

zackyb

  • Joined Oct 2010
What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« on: October 26, 2010, 12:21:37 pm »
Hello All

I am new to AS and am planning on creating a small holding with some pigs and a couple of sheep.

I have knowledge of pigs but no knowledge of sheep at all. I want to give them a good life and we have about four acres so would be sectioning off one part of one of the fields for them.

Could you please advise a good book I could use and what types of sheep you would recommend that are easy to rear that will give good meat?

Thanks in advance
Zackyb

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daddymatty82

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2010, 12:23:11 pm »
how quick a turn around do you want?

TenTors

  • Joined Aug 2010
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2010, 02:00:59 pm »
I also have limited knowledge having only started this summer - I found the Gold Cockerel Series book - 'Sheep for Beginners' a good 'down to earth' starter. We are lucky in Devon because the Devon Assoc of Smallholders (DASH) also run sheep courses which are very reasonably priced - maybe there is something similar in your area? Also I was able to 'practice' a bit on a friend's small flock beforehand, which gave me more confidence.
We decided on Wiltshire Horn breed - mainly because they shed wool. do not require shearing or dagging (removal of mucky wool around the bum) and are reputed to be easy lambers. I have heard from two sources that they produce excellent meat but am still to confirm that.
BUT they are big sheep - our biggest ewe takes a fair amount of hanging on to when needing to check things or medicate. And I still have not mastered getting them over for foot trimming. They have horns which puts some people off but they are good temperament and easy to like.
One thing that I have found recently - we started off with quite a big enclosure for working on our three sheep- about 8ftx12ft. I have since built a very solid shed and now work on them penned into an area 6ft x 7ft. It really is loads easier. Wormer Drench last weekend was a doddle. Also we tried 'herding' them when they first arrived - found it a complete waste of time - and it agitated the sheep. Now I just use bribery - a few ewe nuts in a metal trough so they can hear them being sprinkled in - and they are straight into the pen - no bother.

Sylvia

  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2010, 10:37:13 am »
Ten Tors, are you going to the D.A.S.H. dinner next month, if so I will see you there :)

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2010, 12:14:49 pm »
BUT they are big sheep - our biggest ewe takes a fair amount of hanging on to when needing to check things or medicate. And I still have not mastered getting them over for foot trimming.

I don't turn mine - I just pick up their feet like  a horse. Works great for me.

morri2

  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2010, 01:46:51 pm »
Hiya!  Replying to the last paragraph of your post - as you are down in that area of the world, you couldn't go far wrong with one of the Dorset breeds.  I keep Polled Dorsets, but there are horned and down breeds.  A good meaty sheep, very placid, apt to become tame (not always good if your going to eat them, :D, but can make life easier for you in the short term) and they have nice fleeces if you want to make use of them.  As for books, you will see advertised on this site on the Amazon ad above, 'The Sheep Book for Smallholders' by Tim Tyne.  Keep meaning to get myself a copy, as its highly recommended.  Good luck. :wave:

zackyb

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2010, 02:32:34 pm »
how quick a turn around do you want?

Hi - thanks for your reply - would like to have some decent meat - so no strong preference really - what do you advise please?

Thanks
Amanda

zackyb

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2010, 02:34:02 pm »
I also have limited knowledge having only started this summer - I found the Gold Cockerel Series book - 'Sheep for Beginners' a good 'down to earth' starter. We are lucky in Devon because the Devon Assoc of Smallholders (DASH) also run sheep courses which are very reasonably priced - maybe there is something similar in your area? Also I was able to 'practice' a bit on a friend's small flock beforehand, which gave me more confidence.
We decided on Wiltshire Horn breed - mainly because they shed wool. do not require shearing or dagging (removal of mucky wool around the bum) and are reputed to be easy lambers. I have heard from two sources that they produce excellent meat but am still to confirm that.
BUT they are big sheep - our biggest ewe takes a fair amount of hanging on to when needing to check things or medicate. And I still have not mastered getting them over for foot trimming. They have horns which puts some people off but they are good temperament and easy to like.
One thing that I have found recently - we started off with quite a big enclosure for working on our three sheep- about 8ftx12ft. I have since built a very solid shed and now work on them penned into an area 6ft x 7ft. It really is loads easier. Wormer Drench last weekend was a doddle. Also we tried 'herding' them when they first arrived - found it a complete waste of time - and it agitated the sheep. Now I just use bribery - a few ewe nuts in a metal trough so they can hear them being sprinkled in - and they are straight into the pen - no bother.

Hi TenTors

Thanks for your reply - that is really helpful. Will get that book ASAP! Good luck with yours - please do let me know how you get on with them.

Amanda

zackyb

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2010, 02:37:12 pm »
Hiya!  Replying to the last paragraph of your post - as you are down in that area of the world, you couldn't go far wrong with one of the Dorset breeds.  I keep Polled Dorsets, but there are horned and down breeds.  A good meaty sheep, very placid, apt to become tame (not always good if your going to eat them, :D, but can make life easier for you in the short term) and they have nice fleeces if you want to make use of them.  As for books, you will see advertised on this site on the Amazon ad above, 'The Sheep Book for Smallholders' by Tim Tyne.  Keep meaning to get myself a copy, as its highly recommended.  Good luck. :wave:

Hi Mori

Thanks for your reply. I am in Yorkshire not Devon - so sadly could not make the 'do'. Will get the book you have recommended tho.

Kind Regards
Amanda


morri2

  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #9 on: October 27, 2010, 07:29:40 pm »
Ooops, sorry Amanda, must have read wrong post!! Typical of me.  You could still have Dorsets though.  I'm in north Wales and mine do well here.  Or have a look at the native breeds for your area.  Cheers!

daddymatty82

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • swindon
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #10 on: October 27, 2010, 11:02:38 pm »
i like the shetland meat  so im biased they take a bit longer to mature so if you can wait for tasty meat go for shetlands

Elissian

  • Joined Oct 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: What sheep are best for rearing and eating easily please?
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2010, 11:33:16 pm »
I've got the tim tyne book and it covers almost everything, it's also a good read. He shows you how to turn over sheep. I also went on his lambing course which was excellent, though it didn't come along during the best period of my life and i wished i'd been feeling a bit better as it was soo valuable.
I have wiltshire horns, before the course i always handled them by the horns, I haven't touched the horns since he showed me how to handle a sheep properly. We keep our wiltshires for over a year before slaughter and they don't lay down too much fat. The lack of shearing was very appealing to us. Everybody loves their own breed of sheep, i would recommend visiting a few shows and talking to breeders. Make sure your fencing is sound before starting out, I'm sure it already is if you've got pigs.
Good luck, Helen

 

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