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Author Topic: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?  (Read 10724 times)

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2011, 10:41:21 am »
The only thing I'm not sure about is the black couloring, having never done it.

The way my 'mentor' (who keeps hundreds of Wilts Horns on Salisbury plain) went about his Lleyn cross was by putting a pure Wilts ram to Lleyn ewes and then a different pure Wilts to that first generation of ewes who will then produce shedding offspring. These can then be put to whatever terminal sire you like. I suppose you could but a BMW ram to wilts ewes and put that 1st gen back to a Wilts ram, if I remember my genetics. The 1st gen crosses will not shed, but their fleece does kind of 'come off' a bit I believe, but will still need shearing. Don't whatever you do, put a ram back to its mother (or I wouldn't anyway).

As I understand it, the gene for shedding is dominant (or so he said), the reason it takes two generations (my hypothesising here, not his) is that it must be coded for on two different genes. Anyone with a better grasp of genetics that me is welcome to correct me on this.

My grazing is over a number of paddocks with access roads running through the site. Being both too stingy to pay for fuel and something of a tradtionalist, I always walk mine when I change pasture. I go on ahead with the bucket and whoever my lucky volunteer is walks on behind. You have to be gentle when you are walking them - when I have driven mules there was handclapping and so on - clap your hands at Wilts and they will vanish into the sunset. On the rare occasions that I'm not 'bucket guy', I whistle softly and tell em gently to get on, only raising my voice when they don't.

They are hard to pen and will jump out of a square hurdle pen - sometime tying a hurdle across the top helps, but I can't bring myself to tie two over, enclosing them completely. I am treating a ewe for 'lumpy jaw' (no - I'd never heard of it either), which is a 5-day course of intramuscular antibiotics, and I keep coming back and she is out of her pen, so now I've put her in a bloody loose box. Funnily, those who had to be penned at lambing (and she was one - good mother but had a rare case of triplets, one of which I gave to the local community farm to bottle rear) didn't jump, maybe they were exhausted, maybe they didn't want to leave their lambs, who knows?

They are a bit like hill sheep, from what I hazily recall (my godfather had a hill flock in the lakes when I was a nipper) - except they are big.
Voss Electric Fence

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
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Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #16 on: August 25, 2011, 12:13:19 pm »
black colouring is either dominant black or recessive as I understand  it most? BWM are dominant black and so first cross are likely to be black second generation rather depends on the genetics of the ram you use and whether you are bothered by the colour of offspring in which case continue to select for black

steve in hants is right if the genetics for shedding are dominant. i'm not sure whether its shedding thats being inherited or hair fleece  then the second cross  he proposes will fix the majority of the resultant lambs as homozygous for shedding.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 12:45:06 pm by kanisha »
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SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2011, 12:44:48 pm »
Aye, but as I understand it none of the F1 crosses shed properly. If it was on one set of genes, you'd get some that wholly did and some that wholly didn't (the homozygous recessives).

By F2, they all shed - so as far as I can work out, it must be coded for over at least two sets of genes.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
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Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #18 on: August 25, 2011, 12:46:33 pm »
If this is the case you are talking of incomplete dominance or incomplete penetration seen also in horn genetics  and yes if this is the case your first crosses won't shed properly. The genetics for non shedding have an influence on the shedding gene and so any that are heterozygous ( one gene  that sheds and one that doesn't ) will have the shedding gene incompletely expressed.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2011, 12:48:23 pm by kanisha »
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SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2011, 11:36:27 am »
I was briefly tempted to drag my 1st year undergrad genetics textbook out as I am now genuinley interested in the genetics behind shedding (I know how it works, just not exactly why), but then I saw the size of the book..... :o

I wonder if anyone has access to athens here and can drag out a couple of papers, if any exist?

And also, in describing Wilts as 'gits' I hope I haven't shot myself in the foot when it comes to selling ewe lambs later in the year..... ;D

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
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Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2011, 12:38:53 pm »
http://jas.fass.org/content/early/2011/02/25/jas.2010-3713.abstract  a little more to the point. my own curiosity is more to do with rooing of wool  and I am not certain that the genetics found in the wiltshire are the same as for the shetland.

Rooing a Shetland sheep

if so would there  not be a case for a wooly wiltshire that sheds? two products not one? my own breed  ouessants will roo  and I understand from shetland breeders that selection for sheep that roo pays dividends for producing lambs that roo but there are some peculiarities  yearlings don't always roo well etc.

my understanding is it is temperature dependant but I haven't looked any further than that maybe a daylight hours thing as well.
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SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2011, 01:54:13 pm »
I don't know if there would be a case for a wooly shedding Wilts - the wool comes off in dribs and drabs anyway. To be honest, the appeal of the breed is how little you have to handle them, which excuses them being difficult to handle.

That abstract is pretty interesting and explains why some lambs appear to hang onto their wool much longer than others.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
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Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2011, 03:13:48 pm »
 ;D I guess I should have read a little further than the first couple of lines  :sheep: :sheep:
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darkbrowneggs

  • Joined Aug 2010
    • The World is My Lobster
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2011, 04:44:41 pm »
Thanks for the suggestion Sally  :)

So the question is  ??? has anyone on here kept Soay and BWM and how do they (or for that matter another shedding breed) compare as regards being quiet and easy to handle, and what about flavour

I kept my BWM flock for about 20 odd years, and found them trouble free and easy to handle, easy lambers and good mums.  All the rams were quiet and pleasant, and the meat was delicious -  How do any of the other primitive breeds compare, preferably black ones  ;D 

Sue
To follow my travel journal see http://www.theworldismylobster.org.uk

For lots of info about Marans and how to breed and look after them see www.darkbrowneggs.info

Fronhaul

  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: Sheep Genetics? BWM x Wiltshire Horn ?
« Reply #24 on: August 29, 2011, 05:23:28 pm »
You know my feelings already.  I have just been up to the Blacks and as usual they steamed up, the leader of the brat pack, Lily, who I showed this year, virtually climbed on the quad in her efforts to claim she hadn't seen me for weeks (actually I was last up there at 8 this morning), they are as you say easy to handle but still retain that spark.  Nevern is the only ram I have had who effectively halter trained himself and he is a perfect gentleman except when he is pushing the other young males off the food.  Having said that I do have five Shetlands from the Mandeville Flock who are extremely friendly and easy as well.  Keeping them black would not be easy tho as black is not dominant if the sheep is carrying any lighter colours (if I understand the genetics of Shetlands correctly and I am in some doubt about this).  And flighty Shetlands are like flighty Herdwicks - where did I put those binoculars?  Jacobs will give you dark coloured sheep but although I am assured they taste great (never yet managed to bring myself to eat a Jacob) they are larger framed and I can't see either the size of joints being what  you are looking for or the texture being equal to a BWM meat wise.  Balwens don't seem to have the same degree of hardiness, although a friend of mine has just acquired 2 Balwen x Herdwick and apparently the result of that cross appears to be quite interesting.  My only experience of Soay was to marvel at their jumping ability.  Not sure what the point would be in looking at Badger Faced Torwens rather than BWM and we are well into improved rather than primitive breeds by now. 

 

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