NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Hebridean sheep  (Read 8915 times)

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Hebridean sheep
« on: August 09, 2014, 12:06:08 pm »
Hi I was thinking about getting a trio of mature hebradian ewes from a reputable breeder and this is my first year of keeping sheep and he also would be able to rent me a ram for this year. I have been told by other people that they are difficult to keep but he said that if they have sufficent grazing that they would be happy enough. I have 4 acres of field and another place for the rams to stay. So I was wondering if anybody could give me some advise on keeping hebradian sheep and just some usefull tips and pointers on the breed and what to look ou for in good sheep when buying?

Voss Electric Fence

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2014, 12:40:35 pm »
Hi.  We haven't found Hebrideans at all difficult to keep.  Once you have learnt that they don't necessarily flock as other sheep do when you round them up, and once you have developed your strategy to get around this, you won't have a problem.
Hebs are small to handle, with ewes weighing about 40kgs, tups about 60kgs.  Most Hebs are two horned these days, but there are still about 6-7% multihorned, including our Ancient Type.  For a beginner, two horns are easier to manage.
Just what you are looking for in your sheep when you purchase them will govern your choice.  If you want to show them, then you will need a different beast compared to if you want a sturdy, rainproof, independent animal for general use.
For showing, your sheep needs to have all the qualities of any good animal, plus a very black double coat, longish but not too long.  The horns on  ewes need to curve back and slightly outwards, not be too close to the face.  The tail shouldn't hang below the hock (this is a shorttailed breed) and should be covered in thick fleece.

  In two horned Hebs, the head should be 'clean' ie no topknot, the eyes bright and either dark or light brown. The face should be slightly dished in ewes and straight in tups, but never a Roman nose.  There should be no white spots or marks anywhere on the fleece, and you may need to search well for these.  As lambs it is acceptable for a small white spot on the head, as long as this disappears by 4 months, ie when offered for sale.
Hebs are slightly less stocky than a four-square sheep, but should still stand well, sturdy leags well placed, good rib cage and for a tup a good strong straight back.  Tups horns curl around and can eventually manage about 1 1/4 or 1 1/2 turns.  Their horns mustn't touch the face, nor should they be widely set.  They have a slightly triangular cross section and are fairly heavy, more so than, say, a Shetland.  Obviously a tup should have all his dangly bits, and you should check the penis for discharge or infection.
I always check sheeps feet, teeth including molars and bite, all over including the crutch for fly strike, skin for mites, lice etc, eyes for brightness and no discharge, all that.
I would also always ask for the age and history of each animal, including if the tup is proven, and see the registration doc which goes back to gggsire, so you can cross check for too close a relationship with the proposed ewes.
Hebs are long lived and you can expect ewes to produce lambs until they are a good ten yo.  Some of ours have gone on til 15, as long as they have kept their teeth.

Hebs for general purpose don't come so black, often with a grey 'blanket' over the back.  They are more very dark brown than black and don't always have the fleece double all over.  Both the undercoat and top hair coat are water repellent, so as long as the fleece has a good 'spring' to it that's fine.  Occasional ewes are polled but as that is genetically multihorned, if you are concentrating on 2 horned Hebs then you won't meet one.

If you're interested in multihorns then I can go into them too.
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 12:43:51 pm by Fleecewife »
www.scothebs.co.uk

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

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shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2014, 12:52:38 pm »
Two breeds polar opposites   ZWAR  large breed ewes can do 80kg live wt needs very good ground or large inputs to maintain lots of fast growing lambs      HEBS small ewes   40kg    does best on rougher ground with very little in puts   .      very difficult to feed both together without over or under feeding

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #3 on: August 09, 2014, 01:03:37 pm »
Thanks fleecewife I would mainly be interested in two horned hebs I am currently gassed in peebles and the flock offering me ewes is bryland. What time of year do they lamb. Just to see if they would lamb with my Zwartbles?

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #4 on: August 09, 2014, 01:13:03 pm »
Hi shep53
  I only have one field but 2/3 of the field is lush green grass where the Zwartbles usually graze and the other part is hilly with long grass that is too long and thistles so they can pick what they want to eat. I tend not to feed extra to the Zwartbles but I do provide a crystalx lick for them at all times so they help them selves. The only time I will feed my Zwartbles extra would be when I would flush them and I would only do that if the grass becomes poor. So really the sheep just help them selves when ever they want a they only seem to take what they need.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2014, 01:31:32 pm »
Correct me if im wrong but from your other post you have not fed ewes through the winter into lambing and then suckling lambs , you may be surprised how much condition your dairy breed sheep can lose .      A crystalix block is just another form of sheep feed providing  protein and energy so you are already feeding them .
« Last Edit: August 09, 2014, 02:19:15 pm by shep53 »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2014, 03:36:31 pm »
Thanks fleecewife I would mainly be interested in two horned hebs I am currently gassed in peebles and the flock offering me ewes is bryland. What time of year do they lamb. Just to see if they would lamb with my Zwartbles?

Bryland sheep are fine  :thumbsup:  We are a few miles west of there.  They show at the Highland and did very well this year.

Normally Hebs lamb in April, having run with the tup from Nov 5th.

We give ours a small amount of feed in the 6 weeks running up to lambing, especially the older ewes and twinners,  but nothing like the amount you need for Zwartbles, nor with such a high percentage of protein, so you would have to keep them separate at that time.  Best to check with Caz and John what the ewes have been used to, and whether they have lambed outdoors or not, so you don't change their treatment.
They also need adlib hay available throughout the winter up here - they will choose to eat it if they need it. If the snow is deep then we would also give them a very small amount of Champion tup.  They have a licky bucket, which they take as needed, but they don't OD on it.

Hebs can get copper deficiency grey fleece on ground which is copper deficient.  If severe it can cause other problems, so as well to keep an eye out.  If they are grey in a line throughout the fleece, then they need treating with a glass bolus which goes in the stomach and releases the copper very slowly over a year.  All sheep and cattle too can get the deficiency, but black sheep show it in their fleece colour.
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

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2014, 08:25:34 pm »
Hi fleecewife
  If I posted a picture of the feild would you be able to tell me if the feild is ok for hebs?

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2014, 10:13:21 pm »
Agree with Fleece wife Bryland have v good Hebs and they do interact with them so they should be reasonably handled
Hebs generally won't over eat and will leave food in the trough

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #9 on: August 09, 2014, 11:15:41 pm »
Hi fleecewife
  If I posted a picture of the feild would you be able to tell me if the feild is ok for hebs?


I can try but I don't know how much I'll be able to tell from a photo.
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

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #10 on: August 10, 2014, 12:45:25 pm »
I think children and horns don't mix well, I would go for Shetland or ouessant sheep. There are many flocks of silly tame Shetlands and most ouessants you come across will also be very tame! Hebs tend to be more flighty even when they are tame. Alway exceptions to every rule of course! And if your heart is set on hebs then obviously just go for it! Good luck with whatever you chose, do let us know how it goes!

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #11 on: August 10, 2014, 10:29:29 pm »
here are some pics

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #12 on: August 10, 2014, 10:30:32 pm »
some more

ThomasR

  • Joined Jun 2014
  • Peebles
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #13 on: August 10, 2014, 10:31:18 pm »
sorry it took me such a long time hope they are ok

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Hebridean sheep
« Reply #14 on: August 10, 2014, 10:57:01 pm »
we bred hebrideans for a while. they were never any bother, didnt jump fences and came to a bucket mostly. nothing bad to say about them at all.

 

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