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Author Topic: Hebridean Sheep............?  (Read 5342 times)

Hamish Crofter

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Isle of Skye
Hebridean Sheep............?
« on: May 09, 2014, 02:32:18 pm »
Hi,
We are quite new to keeping livestock and soon want to start a small flock,preferably of a breed that's slightly unusual. We are keen on the idea of Hebrideans....

Anyone have experience of them that could give us a few tips and tell us if they are suitable for newbies like us.
Thanks
Voss Electric Fence

Somewhere_by_the_river

  • Joined Dec 2013
  • Near Llandeilo
    • Angela French Graphite Artist
    • Facebook
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2014, 03:02:12 pm »
Lovely sheep, real stunners! I can't help, but I believe Fleecewife is the one to speak to...

valandgeorge

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2014, 03:23:35 pm »
Hi, we started out with sheep a year ago and have Hebs and Sussex. The Hebs are great sheep, they are smaller so easier to handle and eat things like gorse that my Sussex won't eat. They have a very distinctive look which we really like and are generally very easy lambers  :excited: . All in all they have been a very positive experience. If you look at the thread I started yesterday you will see that we have had an issue with a lamb born with a split eyelid this week, which is a problem that can occur in any of the multi horn sheep breeds. However, this has not put us off and we are looking to phase out our Sussex girls and focus on a registered Heb flock.


Hope this helps


Val and George

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2014, 03:31:01 pm »
We have Hebrideans and yes they are good for newbies, they lamb themselves and generally require little intervention in other matters also. Financially starting a flock of hebrideans may be less of a dent in the pocket than starting with some other breeds.

Due to there size they are easier to physically handle for all abilities

 They are hardy and good mothers and can live on less perfect land quite happily. They would be well suited for Skye and the all 4 seasons in one day that the Highlands and Islands get.

 The meat carcass although obviously smaller than other breeds (8 -10kgs of butchered meat if taken Oct / Nov time or 15 - 20 kg of  butchered meat if taken the next spring / summer as hogget). However what it lacks in size it make up for in flavour and is exquisite and if you plan on filling your freezer you can't beat it. Crosses with a commercial tup produce bigger lambs but still keep the flavour side also. There is also a niche market for Hebridean lamb meat and you may be able to link into a local hotel / restaurant or similar

The breed society has its own website

http://www.hebrideansheep.org.uk/

and Facebook page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Hebridean-Sheep-Society/450498905019745

There are a few people in the Highlands and Islands with Hebrideans  and you may be able to pick up local private sales. The main closest sale would be at the spring or Autumn Rare Breeds and poultry sale at Dingwall Auction Mart. The Breed society has a sale in September in Stirling and there is also some at the Rare breeds sales at Thainstone.

Although they really require very little feeding it can be handy ( especially if you don't have a dog) to get them bucket trained so they will go where you want - change field  / go into pen etc. If you buy them and they are a bit timid, a week or so in a big pen with plenty access to fresh water and food and regular gentle handling will get them used to you and much more workable.

The other thing to consider is whether you wish to purchase registered or non registered Hebridean  obviously with the registered you know what you are getting whilst the non registered may have some cross blood on occasion. The other thing to consider is what your plans are for them as if you wish to sell breeding stock then registered sheep command better prices and the market for an unregistered tup is very limited - even flocks that are unregistered generally buy registered tups. You cannot register stock from unregistered sheep. so that would be a decision to make before buying.

Also don't stint on a tup pick the best you can afford as he is half your flock - depending on numbers of ewes consider buying a tup and tup lamb ( with different parentage to keep your genetics wide) - as you may want to keep the males separate out of the breeding season

 The good thing about the breed society sale in September is that the sheep are card graded by experienced breeders so you can actually read the qualities and any faults a sheep may have and therefore have some reassurance in what you are buying and what price you might bid for a specific animal. The Breed also comes in a variety of horn types - a mixed flock is nice unless you have a specific preference.

We are down near Kinross and your welcome to pop in for a look if you passing - Fleece wife on here is down near lanark and has nice hebs also.

There are 2 specific shows for heb classes on the mainland at the royal higland show and border union show but i think some of the island shows have specific classes also.

Hope this helps
BL

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2014, 03:54:31 pm »
BL, do you find yours a bit, well, frisky?  Only we have just bought four Manx Loaghtan Hoggs, who are similar to Hebs, and really rather lovely.  However, I tried to pen them the other day, and they jumped straight over a 4' hurdle without any hassle at all!  :o
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2014, 04:18:49 pm »
Not really I guess they probably have the capability to jump things but they dont we tend to get them moving for food into pens etc although some times we do have to round them up. Some are tamer than others but we tend to use the tamer ones to draw the others in . Sometimes putting them back out if we only got half in to assist with the second half. I find the less chasing about the more relaxed they are and Iguess if you get them used to food in the pen the more likely they are to settle either that or build a higher pen! :0)

moony

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Dent
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2014, 04:35:33 pm »
We have some hebrideans and they are the easiest sheep we have. Never escape, never had a lambing issue, never had flystrike and foot problems/other problems are rare. We don't give ours any extra feed, other than to catch them with and they are easy to handle with their size. We have been crossing them with a Texel and had some nice size lambs. This year we have stuck them to a Wensleydale and got some absolute monsters.

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2014, 04:39:56 pm »
Do you have photos of your cross lambs? - if you have could post please them here but also on the Heb Facebook page as the Heb society is keen to demonstrate the breeds place in modern farming and using them commercially for a low input ewe producing good cross lambs

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2014, 05:23:47 pm »
we used to breed them, they were lovely, not too big or too small. meat was good too.

Hamish Crofter

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • Isle of Skye
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2014, 08:24:16 pm »
Thank you to everyone for the great informative responses, really appreciate it.

Looks like we will be getting some Hebrideans then!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2014, 11:47:43 pm »

I don't have much to add to everyone's great replies except - Hebs do need some care and attention as they are sheep as well as wondersheep.  They do need some nutritional properties in their diet, although they don't thrive on rich grass but prefer something a bit more scrubby, they can get flystrike, worms, bad feet and have the occasional lambing problem, so whilst you are unlikely to come across these difficulties, you still must look out for them and treat accordingly if you're unlucky enough.
Hebs can be calm and manageable if they are treated quietly and with confidence, but if you chase them or flap your arms at them they will take off in the opposite direction. Take your time to get to know them and for them to settle into their new home.

You'll love them Hamish Crofter and you couldn't find a more appropriate breed as they were originally a crofters sheep, used for milking, fleece and the occasional meat dinner, but left to their own devices for most of the time.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2014, 09:34:39 am »
there were used for milking fleecewife? i never knew that. i wonder what the crofters used the milk for? just drinking or cheeses? interesting.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2014, 01:57:46 pm »
BL, do you find yours a bit, well, frisky?  Only we have just bought four Manx Loaghtan Hoggs, who are similar to Hebs, and really rather lovely.  However, I tried to pen them the other day, and they jumped straight over a 4' hurdle without any hassle at all!  :o

 :roflanim:

Your mistake - you simply gave them a trotting pole!   :roflanim:

Yes, you will need to pen 'em up tight, quick, to stop 'em jumping, or need much higher fences/hurdles.  Walls are useless completely smooth, they just use 'em as vertical roads ::) :hugsheep:  :love: :sheep:

And...  Mr Womble... we shall require piccies of your new arrivals! 
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

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hebridean Sheep............?
« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2014, 04:25:44 pm »
there were used for milking fleecewife? i never knew that. i wonder what the crofters used the milk for? just drinking or cheeses? interesting.

Apparently, for making cheese, probably soft cheese.  Nowadays I don't know anyone who can be bothered to milk them, and their teats are too small to fit a milking machine.  I'd love to have a go.......
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

 

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