Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: which breed of sheep for us?  (Read 3129 times)


  • Joined Jul 2009
  • Kirriemuir Scotland
which breed of sheep for us?
« on: November 01, 2009, 09:42:02 pm »
Ok, its my turn to ask the question.
We would like to get a few sheep to mow our field, produce some lambs and give me some wool for spinning.
Our field is low quality highland pasture, we are 300m above sea level in the middle of Scotland and we have been planting trees in clumps around the field. The trees all have plastic tree guards on them. So we would like a few friendly sheep who will keep the grass down and add to family venture. Someone I know has offered me 4 unregistered shetland ewes and has offered to put them to a tup before we get them. The tup could either be a merino for fine wool lambs or a charolais for eating. She is talking around 40 per ewe.
I would be very grateful for any advice out there.


  • Joined Oct 2008
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2009, 07:15:07 am »
thats quite a lot. we can get them for 25 from the mart and there was an add selling ten lambs at about 10 each funny how fast they went. some were between 15 -25 is the normal for shetlands up here. have a look around there maybe cheaper ones. is there no native hill breeds around your area. a shetland cow would also do the same job by the way. hey are used for this purpose in lots of places.


  • Guest
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2009, 08:42:02 am »
I can't help with the sheep breed unfortunately, but you'll need to make absolutely certain that you're tree guards are robust (or preferably surrounded by chicken wire on a post) or whichever breed you choose will have a rare old time demolishing all your hard work planting  :yum:


  • Joined Mar 2009
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2009, 12:41:06 pm »
Shetland sheep should be a good bet but yes they like to browse as much as graze.
If you want to get into wool perhaps merino would be nice though personally I do not like putting big rams on small sheep.
40 for in lamb ewes sounds reasonable to me.


  • Joined Aug 2009
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2009, 08:55:09 pm »
Hello Kirsty

Any sheep that are hardy and used to hilly ground should be ok but please be warned - sheep will try to eat the lower branches greenery, but the worst thing they do is use them as scratching posts, and this can lead to leaning or fallen/broken trees.

I lost two weeping willows four years ago because of sheep scratching - now we have post and rail fences around the trees, about 2ft x 2ft square, to stop this  ;)

Living the Good Life and spreading the word


  • Joined Jul 2009
  • Kirriemuir Scotland
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2009, 11:23:16 pm »
Thanks all - we're still debating. Fencing is the big issue again. We would need to fence at least a small paddock and as you've said, reinforce around the trees. Not sure we can afford it just now. Wish there was a cheap way to fence. Trouble is the longer we leave the big field without topping or grazing the more tussocky it gets. I resent paying a neighbouring farmer 150 to top the field. We can't afford our own tractor and 4 shetland ewes would graze it beautifully. There's nothing for it, if I can't afford to fence I'll just have to stay off work and shepherd my wee flock the old way and sit and watch them all day.
 ;) :sheep: :sheep:


  • Joined Oct 2009
Re: which breed of sheep for us?
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2009, 03:08:31 pm »
If you haven't kept sheep before I would suggest you go for a docile easy lambing breed. I would also go for a breed that is known to taste nice and fetch a good price for the meat. Personally, I would recommend the breed I keep - Llanwenog Sheep - as they meet all those criteria. You can find out more about the breed at this link

As far as fencing goes, you could invest in electric fencing. This is a lot cheaper than permanent fencing. It also means that you can move the fence boundaries so you can "rest" part of the land - which will keep your pasture and your sheep as healthy as possible.

Llanwenogs are less likely to escape than other breeds of sheep as they have a very calm nature. You will get good money for the meat so that should pay off the cost of the electric fencing quite quickly.

All sheep, apart from the primitives, are quite expensive this year as meat prices are so high (I am told that this is due to most of our UK lamb being sent to France).  A non-primitive breed sheep will probably cost you at least 90. If you buy in the next month or so, you should be able to get ewes in-lamb.

If you decide to go for Llanwenogs, feel free to give me a shout and I will find out if any breeders close to you have any to sell.

Good luck with what ever approach you take!

Jane :sheep:


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