Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Daft questions about adding new sheep  (Read 873 times)

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #15 on: May 27, 2020, 04:45:24 pm »
I would go for a low input ewe and cross to an appropriate terminal sire if you want bigger lambs... so you get the best of both worlds! Shetlands would be good. I bred pure black welsh and they finished on the ewe and went to be processed at weaning on limited acreage. A friend of mine puts her handful of black welsh to a texel and gets great results. She has a big commercial flock but keeps a few black welsh because they are so lovely. I am no longer in the UK and now have texels, but I digress! 

Zwartbles are lovely sheep but personally I would not get them in your situation, as they may just be too big. With a smaller breed you can always get away with keeping a lamb or two longer or even keeping back a ewe lamb you particularly love.

Ultimately you have to get a breed you really like, as they always say you have to see it every day so it helps if you like the look of it haha. From your list of three options, I would go for Shetlands and if you want a bigger lamb cross with a good terminal ram. The breed society recommend Texel, Charollais, Suffolk, and Beltex!

**EDIT** Adding a link with more info for you - https://www.shetland-sheep.org.uk/shetland-sheep-breed/commercial-shetlands

Good luck!
« Last Edit: May 27, 2020, 04:51:38 pm by roddycm »

silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #16 on: May 28, 2020, 11:12:18 am »
I would suggest that you buy your Zwartbles from silkwoodzwartbles (or someone like her) since she has got rid of all the undesirable traits from her flock.

Aww thank you, I'm pleased with my girls and would be very happy for the OP to meet them, but I have nothing to sell as pedigree this year as I'm keeping the best lambs for myself. I have 3 shearlings and 4 lambs to sell but they're for commercial, hobby or ET use only as they don't conform to breed standard.

I sourced my best bought in ewes from the Redgate flock in Shropshire though so would recommend them if pedigree animals were wanted (ideally Cynefin Ceiron daughters as these are the ones I've found to be the best).

vegpatch

  • Joined Oct 2016
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #17 on: May 28, 2020, 12:07:36 pm »
Many thanks everyone for your really helpful and thoughtful comments and suggestions.  I shall ponder this some more and no doubt will be back with more questions.

Thank you @Womble and @silkwoodzwartbles for your offers to let me meet your sheep - sadly I no longer live in Scotland Womble - though I spent most of my teens in Falkirk and Braco.  I'm now in north Oxfordshire but if lockdown conditions change dramatically and I can get up to Edinburgh to see my parents, I might take you up on that offer of a visit.

@SallyintNorth - you're making Shetlands sound more and more feasible :excited: - particularly if by using a ram from a more commercial/fast growing breed I might be able to get most lambs away earlier.  Do they still taste like Shetland meat though?  I will say our dorset tastes great - though the breed itself doesn't really thrill me (except for our crazy Cotswold/dorset cross - and it's the Cotswold in her that was my downfall I think).

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #18 on: May 28, 2020, 10:08:09 pm »
I would think Shetland x Texel will have considerably more flavour than pure Texel, for sure.  Probably not quite the depth of flavour of pure Shetland.  Shetland x Charollais would be interesting... Charollais grow like stink, the meat is sweet and succulent.   But I assume you will be using whatever tup is around nearby you can borrow or take your ewes over to?
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2020, 11:56:27 am »

The other thing nobody has mentioned about Shetlands is that they come in all sorts of utterly unpronounceable colour combinations, which is really cool for a hobby flock.


Can I throw another one into the mix though? Balwen Welsh Mountains. They look like Zs, but will have characteristics more like Shetlands? Maybe? Or am I talking out of my......  :thinking:


I have no direct experience of Balwens except having some fleece as part of the first Tour of British Fleece.  It was the harshest, roughest, least pleasant of all the fleeces I span that Tour - and I think I span something like 27 different ones!!

But yes, they do have colouring and markings like Zwartbles and are a smaller, more primitive type.  Folks on here who have them talk about them having many of the same characteristics as Shetlands from a management point of view - but of course, absolutely no variation in fleece colour or pattern.
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

Gornoeth

  • Joined May 2019
Re: Daft questions about adding new sheep
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2020, 01:24:52 pm »
We have 3 Zwartbles and our neighbour has Balwens. She asked us what we were feeding as our sheep much bigger than hers  :roflanim: very similar looking but I'd say you need to make sure you have good fences with the Balwens, they're quite wild, bit like goats.

 

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