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Author Topic: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles  (Read 8044 times)

countrygirlatheart

  • Joined Apr 2008
Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« on: May 28, 2008, 09:03:31 pm »
Does anyone have experience of Blue Texels or Kerry Hills ?    I've already done a bit of research on zwartbles and spoken to a couple of breeders and they seem friendly and docile although I have heard they need a bit of pampering i.e. shelter/possibly indoors in winter and supplementary feeding, however have since come across Blue Texels (at Ayr Agricultural show) also very attractive and docile, and have seen Kerry Hills (striking markings but perhaps more of a hill sheep and less docile ?)on the internet and spoken to one breeder.

I like all three breeds and am trying to decide whether to choose one breed or get a couple of each breed. 

Have 5 acres with a possibility of using a neighbouring 7 acre field in winter, and these would be my first sheep.  How does everyone cope at tupping time if you only have a few ewes - are breeders generally willing to let you borrow a ram ?  If I had three breeds would need three separate areas for tupping - can you do this with electric fencing or would the rams try to fight each other despite it ?

any comments on the breeds welcome also advice on numbers etc - don't want to end up superstressed when lambing time comes !

Voss Electric Fence

woollyval

  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2008, 10:07:12 pm »
Blue tex are very nice BUT all tex are prone to lambing problems! Zwarts are friendly, the fleece is nice and felts well........Kerry Hills are lovely and the fleece is lovely .............I'd personally go for the blue tex given the choice of the 3 but for a novice I'd reccommend the other 2 breeds!
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countrygirlatheart

  • Joined Apr 2008
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2008, 05:12:57 pm »
hi woollyshepherd       

I read somewhere that texels could be difficult because of their head shape but that the blue was less exaggerated and therefore not as bad, however, may be best to err on the side of caution in my case !    Might be interesting to have both the zwartbles and the kerry hill, one being black with white highlights and the other being white with black highlights (had a blonde moment there !)

thanks for your comments

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2008, 10:08:08 pm »
Hi Countyrgirlatheart

I live on the edge of Kerry Hill country on a small Hill farm, however I keep Zwartbles at 1100ft without any problems, they winter out fine with just hay and minerals provided and shelter from hedges, we feed extra prior to lambing and after but they do give a lot to their lambs which grow very fast - so don't dismiss this breed because you think they need to be wintered in and fed lots! We recently attended the annual breed society open day at the chairmans( a vet) farm and his sheep manage to mainly winter out on grass alone on an extensive grazing system, no extra hay required except when they come in 3 weeks before lambing in January when hay is fed and supplementary feed introduced. This April we had planned to lamb outside and about half the flock did so, we just penned them at for 2 - 3 nights after, however the weather turned quite nasty so we did end up bringing the remaining ewes in at night.   I think if you talked to show sheep breeders then they do tend to feed up the showing sheep to have them well covered for the shows, and they would take more feeding up then terminal breeds like texels for showing, commercial breeders seem to expect them to mainly do on grass. Their narrower heads and conformation makes them much easier lambers then texels, we have a couple of mainly texel ewes and they produce super lambs from our Zwartbles tups.
Did you see the Zwartbles at Ayr show, I sold a ewe lamb last year that was due to be shown there?

A couple of people that I have sold ewes to in Wales have had no problems with being able to borrow a Zwartbles tup, this year the society has decided to set up regional groups so I would think that through this you may be able to find someone with a tup to lend you if you didn't want to keep your own, the society also producers a year book with all the breeders listed so you could contact people local to you. AI might also be an option, and several breeders advertise in the year book, but it is a bit of an invasive process for sheep. Rams will go through a single electric fence, but if you had 2 rows of fencing a couple of metres apart then you would have a better chance of keeping them seperated.

If you start of with inlambs ewes in the autumn then you won't need to worry about a tup until next year.
Goodluck with whichever breed/s you choose!

countrygirlatheart

  • Joined Apr 2008
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2008, 09:08:27 pm »
Hi Blacksheep

thanks for the extremely helpful reply, much appreciated.   It was a relief to hear that the zwartbles would probably manage fine.  They were the first breed to catch my eye and I am fascinated by them.  I like the fact that they seem to like people ... at Ayr show it seemed that some of them were even looking out for their owners coming back to their pens !!  I do have quite good hedging at the far end of the field which protects from the prevailing wind so natural shelter would be ok.  The field can be a bit wet mid-winter but I suppose that's a common problem !

I watched the zwartbles being judged at Ayr show (much to husbands bemusement  - he couldn't believe I could sit for a couple of hours just watching sheep!) and thoroughly enjoyed it.  On average there were 5 in a class.  Not sure if its ok to put names of who competed on here (?) presumably a ewe lamb last year would be in the ewe hogg class  ..... if so this was the biggest class with 8 entries from 3 exhibitors.  I could e-mail you the winning exhibitors if you like (although as an novice observer I do wonder how you know which actual sheep were shown as there is no registration no. in the catalogue ??)

I do want to get some good examples of the breed and have been on the zwartbles web site, spoken to the breed secretary re contacts in this area and was very kindly given a yearbook from a lovely lady in midlothian so I am trying to 'get my eye in' so to speak.  I understand that 'category A' has been done away with, however, I will be looking for what would have been category A, and might even try showing.  I think the in-lamb ewe sale last year was December and I don't think I can wait that long ..... the bug has bitten !

Although I love the look of the blue texels, however I think I will give them a miss at the moment and go for easy lambers. So zwartbles for definite and perhaps a trio of kerry hills ! 
 
looking forward to going to the Royal Highland in a few weeks to see some more !

Blacksheep

  • Joined May 2008
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2008, 10:36:08 pm »
Hi again

Glad that my reply was helpful and that you seem keen on the Zwartbles! They caught my ewe too at the shows with their temperaments as well as looks when we were deciding which breed to go with. I think their origins as a dairy breed may account in part for their temperaments, I'm sure 'mine' would have been one of the ones looking out for their owners a the show, she was a very friendly lamb and halter trained very easily.  yes please I would love to know the results of the ewe hogg class if you have them - my email is j.l.moore@btinternet.com

You could look into purchasing lambs or ewes direct from breeders if you don't want to wait until the December sales to buy, due to the BTV8 restrictions breeders in Scotland may not be keen to sell at the pedigree sales in England as if they don't meet reserves they can't bring their sheep back into Scotland as the current rules stand - may change by December though, but could affect the August sales at Carlisle. So there should be opportunity to buy direct and you then get to see the rest of the flock that they come from too, and ask lots of questions!

Although the breed society no longer has the two catagories for markings I think for the showing the markings will still be part of the judging ie everything else being equal a well marked sheep should do better than a poorly marked one.

Look forward to hearing from

www.freewebs.com/zwartbles


countrygirlatheart

  • Joined Apr 2008
Re: Blue Texels v Kerry Hills v Zwartbles
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2008, 09:05:52 pm »
Hello again Blacksheep

Have sent on an e-mail 

best wishes

 

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