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Author Topic: suffolk sheep  (Read 9616 times)

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
suffolk sheep
« on: October 28, 2011, 08:20:31 pm »
hi, does anyone out there have any experience with suffolks? i know that they cross well, but as a breed are they hardy and healthy and good for meat? I had heard they are susceptible to scrapie, is this true? Hope to hear from you wise people, many thanks
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woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 09:07:16 pm »
Look smart...very heavy, very dim, floppy lambs who want to die, daft ewes who have difficulty lambing.....just my experience......rams crossed with other breeds...lovely!
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Maggie

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Umberleigh, Devon
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 11:10:06 pm »
The first sheep I ever had, over ten years ago, were Suffolks.  They are still my preferred breed, though now we only do rare breeds. 

30% of my Suffolks had triplets, they all lambed easily, outdoors the first two years I had them, then they got posh and lambed in the stables we built.  Lambs  grew well and were up to market weight very quickly and with little hard feed.   Found them a good deal easier at lambing time than any of my rare breed sheep.  Never had scrapie either.  The meat is delicious, and if you like hoggett meat, even better.

Woollyval is right though, as a terminal sire, the Suffolk ram is great.  My neighbour farmer has over 600 sheep and uses only Suffolk and Charolais rams.


Hopewell

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #3 on: October 29, 2011, 12:31:32 am »
Look smart...very heavy, very dim, floppy lambs who want to die, daft ewes who have difficulty lambing.....just my experience......rams crossed with other breeds...lovely!
My experience as well.

Blinkers

  • Joined Jan 2008
  • Carmarthenshire
  • Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire border
    • Glyn Elwyn - Faithmead Herd
    • Facebook
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #4 on: October 29, 2011, 11:40:10 am »
Look smart...very heavy, very dim, floppy lambs who want to die, daft ewes who have difficulty lambing.....just my experience......rams crossed with other breeds...lovely!
My experience as well.

Ditto

and ditton about the Terminal sire......excellent.
Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again !!
www.glynelwyn.co.uk

Lostlambs

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Canada
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 02:28:40 pm »
Suffolk  is one of the major commercial breeds here in Canada. I only have a few crossed with Charollais. They are flighty and wiley-almost impossible to catch and hold. I beleive their rate of gain is good and lambing percentage is fair. I like my Charollais and Hampshires more for handling but the lambs are a little slower to get going at birth

Hopewell

  • Joined Apr 2011
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 04:41:41 pm »
I discovered recently that quite a few sheep breeds vary quite a bit between countries and so it may well be that Suffolks in Canada, although recognisable as a Suffolk don't share many of the traits we associate with the breed in the UK. I certainly understand that the Suffolk in France has different characteristics and that is from someone who has a lot of experience of sheep in both UK and France. She also told me that the Charollais sheep in France is very bald especially as lambs and they tend to not have the conformation that we associate with the breed. Some of this is no doubt because she told me most French sheep are housed over the Winter, as well as the market requirements being different.

humphreymctush

  • Joined Jul 2010
  • orkney
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 05:03:14 pm »
I use suffolk rams to produce butchers lamb and I think they are the best terminal sire for the following reasons:
very good feet (unlike texel)
lambs grow fast
you can use them on all sorts of ewes and you get a fairly uniform batch of lambs that all look a lot like suffolks
suffolkX lambs are very cute which makes me more motivated to look after them well


One negative point is that some have large heads which can lead to lambing problems in small breeds of ewe. I always select a particular style of long lean suffolk ram with a relatively small head to cross with my shetland ewes.
They are big boned so the killing out percentage is a bit lower than some continental breeds.

In my opinion the only useful purpose of suffolk ewes is to produce Suffolk rams. They really make a meal of it and are generally bad mothers. They quite often fall asleep on top of their lambs and squash them. Suffolk cross ewes can be quite good if you are prioritising carcass quality over mothering.

If you are worried about scrapie just get ones that are certified as genetically resistant.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 05:13:07 pm »
I use suffolk rams to produce butchers lamb and I think they are the best terminal sire for the following reasons:
very good feet (unlike texel)
lambs grow fast
you can use them on all sorts of ewes and you get a fairly uniform batch of lambs that all look a lot like suffolks
suffolkX lambs are very cute which makes me more motivated to look after them well

Interestingly, back in the late 70s, Suffolks had a reputation for terrible feet.  Clearly this has been addressed over the last 30 years; I wonder what they did?  And whether the same thing is now being done - and working - for Texels?
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

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 05:24:19 pm »
Thanks again for all the helpful advice people. You have confirmed my suspicions. This forum is proving to be very useful! As a hobby and a means of providing high quality (i wont say cheap to start with) food for the family, it is really addictive

old dad

  • Joined May 2010
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 10:33:25 pm »
my vet describes suffolks as  dark head dark bum, if you catch my drift.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #11 on: October 31, 2011, 12:48:17 am »
my vet describes suffolks as  dark head dark bum, if you catch my drift.
err... no, I don't, actually.  :dunce:
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

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #12 on: October 31, 2011, 09:13:13 am »
my vet describes suffolks as  dark head dark bum, if you catch my drift.

Guess that could mean black head as in colour, and black bum as in mucky?

As yet, early days with my Suffolks but so far I have found them fine as a breed.

I prefer the Suffolk ram as they have no horns to barge at you with when they get a bit stroppy, the girls are good do-ers, and so far they have shown themselves to be good mums. They have had no foot problems. Some of the ewes can be a bit flighty, but they are farm animals not pets, and I prefer that they are wary, rather than too trusting, of strangers.

  :farmer:  :sheep:

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #13 on: October 31, 2011, 10:22:37 am »
Look smart...very heavy, very dim, floppy lambs who want to die, daft ewes who have difficulty lambing.....just my experience......rams crossed with other breeds...lovely!
Can be like that but not always. Flighty! mine used to knock me off my feet for grub!
They are not my fav' breed but they are a  good meat lamb, and excellant terminal sire. They are very big and can be difficult to handle or turn over.
They usually do very well in the show ring and great improvements have been made to the breed, foot and confirmation wise, they cross very well with your more intelligent breeds of sheep ::)

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: suffolk sheep
« Reply #14 on: October 31, 2011, 10:52:27 am »
Yes, they aren't daft when it's time to chow down, it's the sheepie Grand National for a bucket of grub. Some barge and will happily knock you over, whilst the more flighty ones prefer to eat what they can on the outside of the ever eager circling 'queue'. If no grub on offer I find most of the ewes are flighty and we can't get near them.

The ram will always investigate, and can get narky if no food bucket in sight (head down, reverses then here he comes....). That said, he loves a good head scratch.

  :farmer:  :sheep:

 

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