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Author Topic: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested  (Read 7083 times)

happyharry

  • Joined Jun 2014
Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« on: February 05, 2015, 02:13:34 pm »
Planning to get a few sheep during March. Ideally some in-lamb ewes, and then fatten the lambs at grass over the summer.
Having looked at breed options I'm tending to favour "Easycare" (for all the obvious reasons).
I've got a chance to buy some in-lamb Easycare ewes which have been crossed with a Texel ram - so should produce some decent lamb ? The seller is asking £150 per ewe, scanned with twins, or £140 per ewe scanned with singles.
Opinions on any of the above points welcomed
Voss Electric Fence

henchard

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Carmarthenshire
    • Two Retirees Start a New Life in Wales
    • Facebook
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #1 on: February 05, 2015, 03:27:08 pm »
Easycare does not mean 'no care'. Other than no shearing and possibly less 'fly strike' they need just as much care (if not more - see below)

We had around 30 here (not mine) and the owner got rid of them after a short while as they didn't like bad weather (and I live in a very mild area of Wales), were not very prolific and had a fair number of foot problems.

Other people swear by them though. I'm sure that TimW will be along with another view shortly.

What age are the ewes; the price seems high to me?

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #2 on: February 05, 2015, 04:48:19 pm »
I agree on the price - is it a closed flock, registered pedigree, MV accredited or any other USP?

Treud na Mara

  • Joined Mar 2014
  • East Clyh, Caithness
  • Living the dream in Caithness
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2015, 04:55:50 pm »
Two points, both via other people : one, they really don't cope well with bad weather (see Henchard above) and two, from a vet who was speaking on a Crofting Federation course, avoid Texels if you want to keep your vet bills down, because of over chunky lambs making for complications.
With 1 Angora and now 6 pygmy goats, Jacob & Icelandic sheep, chooks, a cat and my very own Duracell bunny aka BH !

mowhaugh

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Scottish Borders
    • Facebook
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #4 on: February 05, 2015, 06:08:15 pm »
I don't think £150 for a ewe scanned with twins is out of the way at all, unless the ewes are aged.  If you can  keep your costs down, by which I mainly mean having enough decent grass to finish the lambs on, you should hopefully  be able to recoup the cost in year 1, and then still have the ewes to lamb again.  No personal experience of Easycares, but I would have thought a sheep like that with a reasonable frame should lamb to a commercial type Texel OK, certainly the Cheviot ewes manage to the Texel with few complications.

nutterly_uts

  • Joined Jul 2014
  • Jersey - for now :)
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #5 on: February 05, 2015, 06:48:31 pm »
Friend took on the care of a badly managed flock of easy care and they were by far the most awkward sheep she's dealt with - nothing easy about them as others have said..

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #6 on: February 05, 2015, 07:46:57 pm »
I would guess the price is not out of the way for in lamb ewes - when I was looking I was quoted 120 for ewes ready for 1st tupping (not sure what the correct term is) and 60 for full mouthed older ewes.


I took 4 full mouthed ewes and in the 1st lambing (last spring) I got twins, twins & triplets and one with nothing. No problems with flystrike (didn't put any treatments on them) but I have had recurrent foot problems - two of the original ewes and their lambs seem to be prone.


I still haven't decided if I like them or not. Compared to my old shetlands I had before they're big (ewes are 10-12 stone), hard to handle (there's no wool to grab and they're not docile IMHO), they're not much to look at, and the shetlands smelled better (not sure that matters to you).


On the other hand, they don't need shearing, they seem flystrike resistant (a lot of my neighbours had problems even though they had treated their sheep and their fields are more exposed to winds), they can't jump a stock fence from a standing start (unlike the shetlands), and in theory, if I had to sell at market they'd fetch more than shetlands - although I did hear somewhere that they may tend to fetch a lower price than wooly sheep at market as they 'look' smaller.


If I were in an exposed location I would worry about them being cold as they don't have a lot of fuzz - but they seem OK where I am (700' up but in a dip).

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2015, 07:58:33 pm »
Might cope with the weather - depends on where you are.  On our hilltop I like sheep to go into Winter with a fleece thick enough for them to wander around for weeks with unmelted snow on their backs because they're so well insulated.

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2015, 08:01:41 pm »
I farm wool shedding sheep (Exlana) at 900ft on Salisbury plain and down in the vale on good dairy type land
They perform according to their environment ----never had a problem with the weather (they don't have to hide in the shade as much as fully fleeced sheep & are not bothered by the wind/rain/snow any more than any other sheep )

how good they are will depend not on what breed they are so much as where they come from and how they have been treated, how harsh the breeders culling policy is etc------there is a great deal of truth in the old adage---'buy stock from a harsher farm than your own'

In August I sold yearling ewes for £140----now I would want more for those animals scanned in lamb because I have kept and tended them (£1/week x 20 weeks) + tupped them (£10/ewe for use of rams in top 5% of breed evaluation) + £10 for a single scanned in utero /£30 for twins scanned in utero)
Which means that I would sell you twin bearing yearlings at £200 and singles at £180

If they were tupped by a terminal sire I may reduce this by £10/£15

texel cross should produce some decent lambs that will not look like wool shedders and hence will sell at market no problem without any of the usual buyer prejudice

langfauld easycare

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #9 on: February 05, 2015, 08:41:55 pm »
 :wave: have banged on about these many times before on here . they will only be as good as how they are bred /culled and managed . here is my thoughts and findings with easycares
they are an upland breed .they out winter in scotland with no problems,i had them on a north facing hill and now have them on a very open rspb reserve .(primative sheep have approx 2 inch of wool most other breeds were bred to have more for our good not the sheeps).  no feet problems(again breeding and culling) , lamb unassisted would be suprised if i have to help any at lambing time .
if they have plenty of grass to range over(and are managed properly) then they will produce and rear twins with no supplementary feeding(what they were designed for) .
personally i would not cover them with anything other than an easycare as hoggs or gimmers . but older ewes no problem . i have used beltex ,charollais ,texel and this year suffolk(not lambed yet) all with no problem on my older or slightly lesser ewes .the lambs are fine but not as quick as the pures in getting going .the pures almost bounce of the ground when born and are in sooking .
the easycare is also an ideal sire over scottish blackface makes a nice mule that about 75% shed wool .she is not as hungry as a standard mule .


i should hit 300 ewes by the end of this year i also lamb the hogs .i also shepherd a flock near glenfarg perthshire of around 500 . it was larger but they cut it due to loss of grazing.


i would want to see how the flock you are buying from is managed . i would also want a cut of ewes not cherry picked problem ewes or poor doers .


there are good and bad in every breed but if coming from a decent flock you should do fine with these they are not everyones cup of tea but then no breed is !!!!!


oh and i would say price is a tad high imo 


Porterlauren

  • Joined Apr 2014
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #10 on: February 05, 2015, 09:16:44 pm »
I haven't really read through the other replies.

But I run a mixed flock (half easy care, and half another shedding hybrid). I do like the Easy Care ewes, they are small and hardy, and obviously they shed they wool. But I think a lot of folk forget just how much variation there is in the breed, in any breed.

If you take your Easycare sheep, feed them cake, lamb them inside, keep sorting out their foot probs etc etc etc then you end up with just regular sheep, that happen to shed their wool. The key is to pick the right sheep from the right source, someone who culls hard for the right traits.

That way, you are genuinely buying some Easy Care sheep. There will always be work with sheep, but if you get the rights ones there can be a lot less.

I looked at a mob of 50 ewes today, not had any messing about done with them since . . . . . probably, well it has to be five months? Anyhow, all of them are good on their feet, and actually need to lose a condition score or two!

And they have not had a grain of cake, a mouthful of hay, nothing.

We breed some pure and the rest go to terminal sires.

Seen some nice Easycare hogs in lamb to a Charolais for £110.

Edited to add - If they did not like the cold, you've just got shitty sheep.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 09:19:35 pm by Porterlauren »

Ladygrey

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Basingstoke
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2015, 10:49:19 am »
Easycare in some cases can be a loosely applied term to describe shedding sheep

If "easycare" sheep have been treated like say mules for example or other breeds, having feet trimmed, being fed (anything other than grass), being put indoors, not being heavily culled, they will very quickly revert to being like a normal sheep

Also I know of many people keeping shedding sheep in cold and exposed places, if they dont like bad weather they are from the wrong breeder, soays and shetlands have barely any fleece compared with say mules or romneys and these are survivalists, some of my shetlands are completely naked by Mid May each year (makes for wool orders being awkward  ::) ) and they right now only have an inch or two

They should make some lovely lambs to a texel! I also know of someone who has easycares and exlana's and tups the ewe lambs with the Charmoise to very good affect

Good luck!!

lizzypeg

  • Joined Oct 2012
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2015, 11:12:43 am »
we have easycare  and wiltshire horns and i find both very easy to manage..mine came from a flock where they wernt messed with and all have good feet and have been out over winter with no supplementary feeding and are all looking fine...the only issue i find is one always starts to shed hair in early feb , so looks like she should get cold as half her fleece has gone already , but never seems to notice the weather even without most of her coat.
we are in kent but the field is fairly exposed.

im selling most of mine off now due to personal reasons and am looking for £70 per ewe, all have been running with tup but not had any scanned as only have a small flock and cannot get anyone to come out to scan only 7.

happyharry

  • Joined Jun 2014
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2015, 10:44:43 pm »
Thanks for all of the opinions which range from fairly negative to fairly positive and all points in between.
I do understand that Easycare does not mean " no care". If I'm spending £150 per beast then there's going to be a significant incentive to look after my "investment"
So, I've taken the plunge and bought three ewes. The seller offered me the pick of over 100 ewes, which he ran from an open barn, through a hurdle "run", and into a closed barn. I just marked the ones that I wanted , paid the money, and took them home.They were on a lowland farm in Cambs. Mostly arable but a herd of sheep running on conservation/SSI land. The ewes are coming up to 2 years of age so this is their first pregnancy. I've bought two that are carrying singles, and one with twins. To declined the triplets. Due to lamb 1st-21st April which will suit me as I've got mostly new leys sown last Sept which should produce grass mid/late April onwards
I'm in West Suffolk so,naturally,lowland and fairly sheltered.
Question: at the moment they are running on some tufty meadow grass that was not grazed last summer autumn with access to some only average quality hay. The seller suggested a fairly standard routine of supplementary feeding, starting with 200 gms/hd/day of hard feed at 6 weeks before lambing and increasing 200gms per week up to a max of 1 kg/hd/day.
Given some of the views above, that seems excessive. They are currently in good nick. Not fat, but certainly not undernourished.
Can I please ask for opinions on supplementary feeding and feed levels for the singles and the twins
Thanks in advance

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Easycare Sheep - opinions requested
« Reply #14 on: February 11, 2015, 08:44:56 am »
Grazing + hay will be plenty . By April the spring grass will appear and they will flush through nicely in time for lambing

Only give them hard food if you want to use it as bait so you can move/catch/handle them

I've got 1000 on nothing but grass all year and I guarantee yours have more grass ahead of them than mine

 

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