Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Good starter breeds?  (Read 3505 times)


  • Joined Apr 2014
Good starter breeds?
« on: July 10, 2014, 11:10:50 pm »
Im relatively inexperienced, which breeds are good to start out with?
Good grazing grass (lowland hill)


  • Joined May 2013
  • Proper Gloucestershire !!
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2014, 08:05:59 am »
There are many! I keep Cotswolds. Although a big lump of a sheep I find them easy to keep, friendly and strange as it may sound a happy breed! And they are beautiful in full fleece! See the breed society website for more details. Mine are very respectful of my dodgy fencing, as with horses I tend to find with sheep the bigger they are the more docile they are (not always the case).
A good starting point is to find a breed that is native and bred for your area of the country.


  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2014, 08:12:38 am »
Crimson, everyone has their favourites. I have Ryelands and Coloured Ryelands and love them  :sheep: :love:
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2014, 08:12:57 am »
Depends what you want to achieve. If it's enjoyment primarily, pick a breed you like so go to a few big shows and have a look at the different breeds. I think Sally in't North quoted her BH as saying you'll look after them better and enjoy it more if you actually like the look (and temperament) of them.

We have Coloured Ryelands because we liked the look of them but they are also docile, produce wonderful lamb at about 6 / 7 months (so we don't castrate the boys and we get them away before winter), good fleece, don't do escaping and just nice to have around.

But there are loads of wonderful British breeds, many rare, that may appeal to you. Maybe your local rare breed?


  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 03:18:18 pm »
For lowland grazing with plenty of grass you could keep a number of breeds. If you want some thing which will produce big bodies for the freezer you could go with suffolk x's or texel x's and zwartbles . If you want some thing that is an easy lamber ryelands, zwartbles, and all the down breeds which are also good for meat, but if you want trouble free lambing and all year round healthy sheep I would advise zwartbles. If you want something to breed pedigree and sell lambs at sales for high prices then you should get a terminal sire breed like the Suffolk's at number 1 then the texels. Over all zwartbles and the down breeds or a good choice the zwartbles are extremely milky and can raise triplets no problem, they taste good with lean big bodies for the freezer and they are exceedingly docile and don't even need to be trained to come to the bucket as they seem to just know to do it anyway and they look good in the field.
p.s. If you go for texels be prepared for a difficult lambing or beltex's as they have a tendency for there lambs to die before they are born and also during labour or after labour the ewe tend to drop dead suddenly for no apparent reason which is heartbreaking especially after you put so much effort into keeping her happy and healthy over the winter maybe even for a few years.
Hope this helps


  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #5 on: July 13, 2014, 07:37:00 pm »
Hi Crimson   Depends what appeals to you personally and what you want them for.  Can recommend Zwartbles.  I was totally new to sheepkeeping when I got mine.  Very easy to deal with.  A couple of my ewes actually run over to me when I go in the field.  Lamb is lean and tasty - I used to take the tup lambs straight off their mums to market at 14 - 16 weeks (typically around 50kg), but now have built up a few customers to sell direct to and they are happy to repeat order when I have lambs ready from my small flock. 


  • Joined Jul 2010
  • orkney
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #6 on: July 19, 2014, 08:53:39 am »
I would recommend starting with whichever breed is popular in your local area. You know it will suit the conditions, will be easy to buy and easy to sell.


  • Joined Oct 2009
  • Worcestershire
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #7 on: July 19, 2014, 09:45:29 am »
As said, we all have our favourites,  I keep Shropshires,  nice size, docile sheep, good mothers, easy lambing, fantastic meat, see the Shropshires breeders website for more info.


  • Joined Feb 2010
Re: Good starter breeds?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2014, 03:57:04 pm »
I will add if next year you feel you are ready for the experience of lambing, it would be a real good thing to buy some experienced mums, rookie ewes can be very testing.  We like our Lleyn, good looking, intelligent, tough and it's one of those breeds that you will find all over the uk actually.  They can be a bit sharp, but worth it.  They have also got a bit of a rep as good jumpers. Brilliant to bucket train, in fact a bit too friendly at times.  I see they cross well too, we have them with a little welsh blood to, now they're good ewes, excellent mothers.  Good luck with your choice.  Get your self also to the sheep lines at the agriculture shows, ask about the breeds, and get a first hand look and feel of each breed, flock close to your area.   I'm off to the royal welsh on Monday to show some nags, but I ll be going round the sheep to, nowt like it lol x


Are Herdwicks a good starter breed?

Started by FarmerJase

Replies: 18
Views: 5148
Last post February 06, 2012, 08:18:55 pm
by YorkshireLass
Starter Flock Ewes

Started by sophiedog

Replies: 0
Views: 1208
Last post August 25, 2011, 10:55:47 am
by sophiedog
New starter after twenty years away

Started by Carlk

Replies: 3
Views: 1466
Last post December 01, 2016, 11:26:58 am
by Womble
Another sheep starter needing advice :)

Started by KeeleyR

Replies: 5
Views: 1988
Last post September 18, 2012, 12:34:40 pm
by woollyval
Balwen Sheep as a Starter Flock?

Started by Raine

Replies: 15
Views: 6531
Last post October 13, 2012, 05:53:51 pm
by shetlandpaul

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2020. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS