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Author Topic: Condition scoring primitive ewes  (Read 1514 times)


  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Condition scoring primitive ewes
« on: March 05, 2014, 07:55:56 am »
Hi everyone  :wave:

I have a query about condition scoring

Most of my ewes are pure shetlands, I also have shetland cross ryeland, ryeland cross wiltshire horn, charollais cross shetland, Texel mules, Texel Lleyns and Charmoise (I know... many kinds!!)

Now I gathered them all up last week to split the charmoise ewes off to go in the barn to lamb this coming weekend, the charmoise feel amazing, I cant really feel much of a spine at all, they have been on next to no grass at all and they have only just started picking at hay.

The others are a different story, 1 of the older shetlands is like a skeleton (and she has been since I got her) so she will be culled this summer as she looks horrible.

The majority of the shetlands I can feel spine easily and just about tuck my fingers under the transverse processes, some are thinner than others but all pretty much the same.

The charollais cross shetland feel great

The wiltshire horn cross ryeland feels the same as the charmoise???

Texel mule feels the same as the shetlands

Now as they are natives I cant really condition score them the same as other types, but what is ideal in a shetland?
I feel they are ok but what are other natives like? also im pretty sure they were fatter last year when they lambed in March as opposed to this year when they will lamb first week of april.
They are on hay and lifeline buckets (hay is really good hay)

What is an ideal score for shetlands? they are up to date with fluke and worm counts show they are clear
Voss Electric Fence


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Condition scoring primitive ewes
« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2014, 08:27:29 am »
I was going to leave this for the more experienced primitive-owners to answer, but then I noticed that you said the Texel mule was the same as the shetlands.  A Texel mule that's thin a month before lambing when she's had ad lib hay is either flukey and/or in need of cake.  She's probably carrying twins and putting her all into the lambs.  If she doesn't get enough glucose in the last 6 weeks she could go into metabolic meltdown.

Whether it's the same with the Shetlands I don't know - what tup did you use on them?  And was it the same breed as last year?

In general I would have said that you shouldn't ever be able to get your fingers under the transverse processes - except maybe in a high performance dairy cow, mid-lactation!
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


  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: Condition scoring primitive ewes
« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2014, 08:35:53 am »
Thanks Sally  :wave:

Ok my fingers maybe cant get right "under-neath" them, but I can feel them as slightly rounded ends (apart from sickly ewe)

Yes I think the texel mule is too thin.. she produces a ton of milk and I think she is having twins/trips, I may move her indoors are start her on some cake and worm her just incase.

Shetlands are in lamb either to a pedigree shetland or a Hampshire down cross Charollais ram, they are meant to be just to a shetland but after a ram-bashing-though-fence problem and me on my own could not seperate them, I am pretty sure all of my smallest shearling shetlands are in lamb to the commercial ram as they were crayoned with his colour!
My bigger ewes were crayoned with the shetland tup...

So if they are having singles I really dont want them to put any weight on!

Last year everything went to the charollais ram

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Condition scoring primitive ewes
« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2014, 10:00:47 am »
Can't be of much help I'm afraid. Asked a similar question on here before about scoring our Soay. There were some good replies ... perhaps you could find the thread.

To be honest, we still can't effectively CS our Soay. All I know is that they can look pretty round and be on good summer grass and you can still feel the spine pretty prominently ... but not get your fingers under. They all feel the same so we've concluded it must be normal.  ;D


  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Condition scoring primitive ewes
« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2014, 10:18:08 am »
I'm sure someone on here said something like CS'ing primitives was a bit tricky cos they tend to store fat internally (around the organs) rather than externally (on the back)??  (or maybe I dreamt that! :))

in the hills

  • Joined Feb 2012
Re: Condition scoring primitive ewes
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2014, 11:50:28 am »
Yep, you're right Foobar. The thread that I started about CS ing primitives is listed below in "Related Topics". Just spotted it  :dunce:.

Good descriptions there from SITN and Fleecewife.

Should help.


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