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Author Topic: The Hebridean sheep thread !  (Read 9070 times)

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
The Hebridean sheep thread !
« on: May 01, 2015, 11:48:27 pm »
As its says on the tin ,all things Heb related !!! Breeding,Genetics,pics,diversification ,even heb horn crooks,basically the heb thread !!!!
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2015, 01:28:25 am »
Well done verdifish.  I'm in  :thumbsup:

So to start, how has everyone's lambing gone this year?  We have had more ewe lambs than tup lambs, and more singles than usual. In an average year we expect two thirds to have twins, one third singles, and we've never yet in 20 years had any triplets.

Those who keep multihorned Hebs, what sort of percentage of eyelid problems have you had?  We had two tup lambs with one bad split and one minor split, which is about typical for us each year.  No problems with the ewe lambs. One weird thing - lambs with eyelid problems tend to be amongst the first born each season.

It would be good to be able to put together some statistics.  The difficulty is that many keepers of multihorned sheep of all breeds don't like to admit they have any eyelid problems, but I know of no breeders who never have any, and I think from current evidence that the incidence is pretty stable across the board.
Each multihorned breed society has rules and regs about not breeding from sheep with eyelid problems, but there is absolutely no firm evidence that it makes any difference at all, just people's thoughts and experiences.  That's where some data would be so helpful.
For us, we have noticed that two sheep with perfect eyelids can produce lambs with splits, and ewes with splits (can't use tups with problems) can produce lambs with totally perfect eyes.  This is a bit of a soapbox topic for me  ;D


« Last Edit: May 02, 2015, 01:34:16 am by Fleecewife »
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verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2015, 04:56:09 pm »
Well we've just got back from the rare breeds sale at thainstone with 6 new Hebs so very happy ,we bought all the hebs available does that make us greedy ? Lol suz also got 3 national bee hives with all the kit needed for £43 now that is a bargain ????????????

trish.farm

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • hampshire
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2015, 05:13:27 pm »
can you explain the eyelid problem FLEECEWIFE.  Never seen this or heard of it.  Don't keep Hebs, but just interested to hear what it is!!

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2015, 07:07:09 pm »
The Split Upper Eyelid defect is something which is made far more of than it should be !!!

It is somehow related to the multihorned gene, so occurs in multihorned Jacobs, Navajo Churro, Manx Loaghtan, m/h Hebrideans and m/h Shetlands.  There are a few other multi horned sheep around the world which also have a tendency to show this trait.

It can be seen at birth as somewhere between a small notch and a wider split of the upper eyelid.  Sometimes there is a tuft of eyelashes, and very very occasionally the cornea may be damaged.  I think it's thought to occur in about 6% of multihorned sheep, but I'm not sure if that's the correct figure, nor if it's accurate, as breeders don't want to admit their animals have the trait.

I don't think anyone was aware of it until the RBST was set up and a student did some research into it, and into the dominance or recessiveness of the multihorned gene (her conclusion was incorrect we now know)  Anyway, it suddenly became a huge issue, and I think was partly responsible for multihorns plummeting from 60% of the Hebridean national flock to about 6%.  In recent years that percentage has crept up slightly to about 8-9%.

No research has been done in Britain into how the split eyelid is related to the m/h gene, but everyone has their own ideas, which are handed around like old wives tales.

The only significance of the condition (called SUED) is if it causes welfare problems for the animal.  This will only happen if the split is severe, which is very rare, and if this occurs then a couple of stitches at the vets will cure it.

We don't use tups with splits, partly because they tend to be associated with very poor hornsets, but also because they are so greatly frowned on by the HSS - also breed societies for the other breeds involved).  We have however used the occasional ewe with SUED, which is where we get our observation that badly affected dams can have m/h lambs with perfect eyelids.  Much greater statistical evidence is available to show that parents with perfect eyelids can produce lambs with splits of all degrees.

I don't see the matter being resolved, until maybe the Hebridean Sheep Genome is mapped.
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Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
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Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2015, 08:41:47 pm »
What were the hebs costing at Thainstone ?

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2015, 09:16:24 pm »
I have 1 with a split eyelid - 4 horns - She throws good lambs and has not yet thrown another split eye, its not a problem for her and other than that, which I consider minor cosmetic - she is an amazing animal - good mother, eats little and holds conformation, no foot or mastitis problems - just a blemish, and as Flecewife says - can be fixed with stitches by the vet (who has even offered to do it when shes been over). I would only not breed from one if she had it severely, or had thrown a severely split lamb.

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2015, 01:50:45 am »
What were the hebs costing at Thainstone ?

We paid £210"for 4 ewes with 2of them with ram lambs at foot .so jd say fair prices!!!

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2015, 07:24:44 am »
Seems like fair trade - ewes registered and lambs registerable ?

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2015, 09:24:11 am »
Here is an old leaflet i acquired which explains Split eyelids pictorially
In the Hebridean society guidelines Category 1 and 2 are acceptable in tups and 1, 2 and 3 acceptable in ewes. Cat 3 is a fault in tups and cat 4 is unacceptable in both
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 09:28:55 am by Big Light »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2015, 10:16:59 am »
It was agreed that Cat 4 ewes could be used in one's own flock if desired, just not to put them through the marts.  The HSS can no longer 'deregister' any Hebridean sheep, because of European legislation, including those with white spots.

However, I have a couple of points where I am unhappy about this leaflet.

One is that, as I have said before, it is not based on sound scientific investigation; because we can't use these animals, particularly tups, we cannot also study the inheritance and incidence of the condition.  Without a worthwhile amount of data collected, we cannot show statistically to what extent the condition is hereditary.  We know it occurs in only multihorned sheep, but beyond that we have no facts.  Given the current situation, it is unlikely we will ever be able to do this research, hence my comment that we need the Hebridean sheep genome to be mapped.  All we know for sure is that it pops up sometimes in multihorned sheep of all breeds.

Another aspect of the leaflet, and the Society's approach, is the first two categories, 1 and 2.  I can find no difference between the two, yet one is psychologically marked down as less desirable (in spite of being said to be 'acceptable').  Some say they can spot a type 2 eyelid defect, which is supposed to be a 'break' in the colour of the upper eyelid.  Even if this is identifiable, which to me it isn't, what possible affect can that have on the welfare of the sheep?  There is no evidence at all that it's part of the SUED condition.

There seems to be no agreement between societies for multihorned animals about what qualifies as a 'notch', no standard to stick to.  A type 4 can be horrible, or have no detrimental effect on the sheep at all, but would be better eliminated because of the very occasional welfare issue.

But before we can do that, we have to breed animals with the condition to discover its inheritance.

So it goes round and round.

I don't really want to make this a major topic of discussion, because it gets people's blood up and also makes more of the condition than I think it deserves, and we have seen in the past that this can affect the percentage of multihorns in the national flock.  Multihorned Hebrideans are in such a minority that really there are not high enough numbers to select heavily for or against one trait.






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

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kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2015, 10:21:44 am »
Just curious what is understood to be the inheritance of four / multiple horns versus polled or two horn genetics?
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2015, 10:23:43 am »
The multihorned gene is dominant over two horned.  It's a bit counterintuitive til you think it through.
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2015, 10:25:12 am »
I was intrigued by the comment in the paper that both four horned and  polled could show split eyelid has split eyelid in polled sheep been a problem in the breed?
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Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
Re: The Hebridean sheep thread !
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2015, 11:23:12 am »
FW i think the leaflet was from about 2008 - I suspect the information available / debate has rightly  moved on

- just really put up to show the different categories of eyes  - i had asked for the leaflet initially as i was having difficulties with the type 1 & 2 which isn't that easy.

 Its a difficult one i reckon it should really be about animal welfare - if its a bad split  / notch and affecting / infecting the eye then i would suggest it should be culled / not bred from / or indeed stitched. If its anything else then its up to the individual as  to what they are happy breeding from in their flock

 

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