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Author Topic: Black welsh mountain  (Read 5257 times)

cyncoedfarm

  • Joined Sep 2012
Black welsh mountain
« on: September 21, 2012, 10:04:38 am »
Hi all -

We're looking to add some Black Welsh Mountain sheep to our flock of Jacob Sheep. We were trying to find out what the breed criteria/inspection criteria for BWM sheep is. The balwen sheep society has a very useful page on its website outlining what to look for in Balwen sheep. We can't find anything similar for BWM. It would be great if anyone out there can outline what we need to look for when buying our sheep. Obviously there are the standard characteristics but is there anything specific to BWM sheep that we should be looking for?

Also, can anyone tell us what the pros and cons of BWM as opposed to Balwen are? Of the two breeds, what would you go for?

Many thanks for your help.

Best, Miles
Voss Electric Fence

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2012, 10:09:56 am »
It did used to be on the american site I know, but looks to have disappeared.  I can PM you it...

cyncoedfarm

  • Joined Sep 2012
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2012, 10:15:38 am »
That would be fantastic. Thank you so much

feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2012, 01:43:43 pm »
Foobar can you pm me too  i'm buying some BWM in the next two weeks and their website is very basic, no criteria for showing or anything useful.
Thanks

funkyfish

  • Joined Nov 2011
  • Devon
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2012, 01:58:54 pm »
My friend has Balwens- very flighty, have been fed from a bucket for years and still wont approach it unless you are a good distance away. They are a nightmare to herd as just run at you and scatter! Beautiful to look at tho!
Old and rare breed Ducks, chickens, geese, sheep, guinea pigs, 3 dogs, 3 cats, husband and chicks brooding in the tv cabinate!

Fronhaul

  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2012, 05:52:44 pm »
The breed standard is in the Flock Book.  Fiona the secretary is on holiday but if you can't raise her soon then nudge me and I will type it out in full for you.  Just not today while I am trying to finalise tomorrow's Jacob Open day.

Take a look at http://www.carlessstud.com/sheep.htm.  The master of BWM breeding at work.  It may sound simplistic to say get the head right and the rest will follow but it is actually about right.

For a ram scroll right to the bottom and look at Masterman.  Edward says he is probably the best ram he has ever bred.  For your rams he is what you are aiming for.  Correct size, tiny ears, not a white hair to be seen anywhere.  That isn't the best photograph I have ever seen of him.  In the flesh he is stunning.

Your ewes need to be feminine.  Again small ears, alert smart looking sheep.  Lots of examples on that page of what you should be looking for.  That flock hasn't won flock of the year 8 times by accident.

Two schools of thought.  One that doesn't mind the sheep getting a little larger, the other that believes to be true to type they should remain small.  I subscribe to the latter school but each to their own tastes.

Everything about a Black Welsh Mountain should  be in proportion.  See a few and you begin instinctively to know what is right and what isn't.  Don't rush it.  These sheep are mountain sheep and they need to be nimble and balanced to survive so balance is key.

Issues to watch, obviously white hairs.  Check hocks. there can be a tendency towards sickle hocks in some lines.  Large and "melon" heads.  Fleece quality is not a huge factor and some BWM judges actually like to see some kemp.

And Miles if you are able to come tomorrow then I promise to show you some top quality BWM's, including the Society Show and Sale Champion from 2009, the ram who won at Martletwy this year, and some Jose Mourinho and Jose Wales daughters, a couple of ewe lambs from Christopher Garn's flock and a ram lamb who has attracted interest from several of the top breeders but is staying with us for the time being.  They will help to get your eye in and there is absolutely no pressure as none of my best BWM's are for sale.


feldar

  • Joined Apr 2011
  • lymington hampshire
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2012, 11:45:11 am »
Many thanks, for the helpfoobar and Fronhaul

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2012, 04:21:23 pm »
I'm glad someone else is thinking of getting this breed.  I have had a mixture of commercials for about 4 years and have decided I would like to concentrate on a particular breed.  Basically I am looking for something marketable, easy to manage if I'm on my own, hardy, good meat, reasonable price and hopefully less prone to flystrike and foot trouble if that is ever possible.

Is this a good breed to go for and are there any con's I should consider?

I have always like Suffolks but having got a couple realise that they are big brutes and if flightly I can't really manage alone.  Could do with selling but no-one seems interested.  ???

Views appreciated as I hope to go have a look at some over the next few weeks.

Fronhaul

  • Joined Jun 2011
    • Fronhaul Farm
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2012, 10:24:10 pm »
They will seem tiny compared to your Suffolks.

They do have good feet on the whole, although if footrot gets in the flock they aren't immune.  It will be a battle to keep the size down in Wiltshire as they have a tendency to increase in size on flatter lower ground.  The meat is delicious.

They are very nimble on their feet and very quick thinking so sometimes not that easy to handle on your own without good handling facilities.  They get bored quite easily and aren't that easy to contain if bored.  But they will point out any deficiencies in your fencing quite quickly.  I bought a ram lamb last year and he spent the first three days getting out of his field and coming to find us.  On the plus side by the time we had him contained in the correct field he was also halter trained.  Our older BWM ram is as cunning as they come and quite capable of standing by a gate working the knot in a piece of baler twine until it comes undone if he wants to be in the next field.

Not by any means the cheapest of the mountain sheep to buy if you are looking for top quality animals but on the other hand relatively inexpensive compared to some of the big commercial breeds.  In this area certainly very marketable but I don't know if you might encounter resistance selling black sheep in your particular area if you do so through a local mart.  A better than average shearling will probably cost in the region of £150 and top quality will start around £250.

Figures from this years Show and Sale where ewe prices were reasonably buoyant but ram prices were well down on the two or three previous years.  Sorry for the rubbish formatting but I am too tired to table it.

54 SH. EWES            av    £152.32     top      360 GNS
71 EWE LAMBS                £111.49                 280 GNS
6 AGED RAMS                   £290.50                420 GNS
11 SHEARLING RAMS        £374.18                 680 GNS
18 RAM LAMBS                 £209.41                 680 GNS

Oh and certainly up here they will often come into season a little later than many other sheep so often later lambing than you may be used to.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2012, 10:54:30 pm »
Increasing in size on lowlands isn't a problem unless you let it get out of hand.  A slight increase is beneficial though if you are marketing them for meat rather than showing.  Don't let them get too big as they really aren't designed for it. 

Start off by buying off farm, avoiding the hefty sale prices, unless you want showing stock or have mega bucks to spend. :)

Don't buy anything that has had to have it's feet trimmed.  The majority have good feet, but like all sheep there are some that don't.  Avoid breeders who have neglected to cull bad feet.

They aren't invincible, they can still succumb to the usual sheep ailments, including fly strike if you let them get dirty (although they don't get dirty very often, at least mine don't ;)).   Actually I've seen strike on clean BWM sheep on shoulders etc and around horns (but these weren't my sheep).

As for Fronhaul's statement about lambing late - around here (SE Wales) they will lamb early Feb without persuasion.  It obviously depends where you live.

Most are very gentle in nature, especially the boys.  They do like to climb, and, as Fronhaul says,  un-tie things (shoe laces esp.).  I've not had any go wandering off though.  Mind tend to stay together like a family.  Apparently if you put them in with white sheep they stick together too and don't mingle with the Whites. lol.

The only con I can think of is having to stop mid-drenching/shearing/injecting/whatever-job-it-is to talk to people who have spotted your sheep and stopped to talk to you, saying they are "so lovely" and want to know all about them!!! ;)
« Last Edit: September 23, 2012, 11:30:31 pm by foobar »

Small Farmer

  • Joined Jan 2012
  • Bedfordshire
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2012, 11:29:31 pm »
There's a decent size flock about ten miles from us at a farm which we saw when they hosted an Eblex event last week.  We're getting a few to try out next year.
Being certain just means you haven't got all the facts

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2012, 08:30:08 am »
Thanks, those comments are very useful.  I think our main fencing is invinsible (cost a fortune with the rabbit netting!) but I do sometimes have to use electric. Going to look at some hopefully Saturday and then contacted a breeder in Oxford so hope to go see hers over next few weeks.

If I have to get a ram will he be ok kept with a Suffolk?  My suffolk is a big softy so don't want him being scewered by BWM horns.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Black welsh mountain
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2012, 09:22:06 am »
There is another thread on here about mixing rams with and without horns.  Beware, the horned one could easily kill the un-horned one.

 

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