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Author Topic: Romney tup on Manx ewe - would you?  (Read 1023 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Romney tup on Manx ewe - would you?
« on: October 19, 2017, 08:33:45 pm »
Just thought I'd check the hive mind here.

We're hiring a Romney tup this year :excited:  A Heb for the little first-timers but ideally we'll use the Romney for the rest. 

The objective is to up the size of the fleece sheep whilst retaining the positive characteristics - fleece, of course, and good feet, trouble-free lambing, good mothering, rearing on grass. 

For definite, the Romney will be getting the black Wensleydale, one of the two remaining Zwartbles (the other to the Heb out of interest to compare the two lots of lambs, and because the Zwartbles are actually a little bit too big for us) and two Shetland x BFL.  I'm dithering about the Manx. 

In theory, the Manx' wide pelvis (I'm not making that up, am I?  They have a wide pelvis like the Shetland?) should mean she won't have lambing problems even if the lambs are larger than she's used to.  But our (limited) experience thus far is that lamb size at birth is predominantly determined by the ewe's size rather than the tup's - so the lambs likely won't be huge anyway, at birth.

So my head is saying I should try Dot Cotton (the Manx) and at worst, she may get a bit of a saggy belly if the lambs are bigger than she's used to. 

I also have a pure Shetland and a Manx x Shetland but I'm nervous about putting all three little sheep (all experienced but to a Shetland tup each time thus far) to the Romney until we know what his lambs are like. 

Carrie (the Shetland) is very precious to me, so I don't want to risk her until we've had a go.  Dulcie Grey (the cross) could be the 'experiment', but it's Dot Cotton whose lambs grow on the best, and her own fleece isn't particularly wonderful so I've less justification for giving her a rest year! 

Thoughts?  Experiences to share?

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Romney tup on Manx ewe - would you?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2017, 09:22:22 pm »
Hi Sally,

As you know, we have put our Manx Loaghtan ewe, Alice to a Zwartbles tup for the past two years. Each time, she's lambed twins unassisted, though it was pretty obvious that she worked harder to deliver them than her first year, when we put her to a Shetland tup.



The first year we put her with Mr Z, her lambs were 4.8kg (oops) and 4.4 kg. The second year, we kept her away from the Zs at feeding time, and her lambs were each 4kg.



Your mileage may vary of course, but in our case, crossing to a Z was the only way Alice could earn her keep here, and I'm very glad we did it.  I think this coming lambing will be her last though, since whenever there's one I can't catch, it's invariably either her or one of her lambs. Also, her offspring only ever have value as butcher's lambs, whereas if we kept a pure Z in her place, there's always a chance the lambs will come out well marked and hence worth more.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Romney tup on Manx ewe - would you?
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2017, 07:23:46 am »
Thanks, Womble.  And yes, of course I remember you and your Zanx Logwharts  :D.  In part, that story was what made me think I might try DC with the Romney.

Having reread your posts on them, your mentioning that Alice did have to work harder to deliver the crossbred lambs has given me pause.  The Zwartbles is a lankier shape than the Romney, so I might expect a Romney x Manx to be more of an effort than the Zx.

Like your Alice, DC needs to produce lambs to justify her position here; her own fleece is too short and a bit kempy, so if she stays she needs to produce good lambs.  All of her offspring to date have been good sheep with lovely fleeces; apart from her first one, her Shetland x lambs all outgrew either parent and all have been very good shapes.  However, all that said, it’s not the end of the world to give her a year off. 

Still not sure :/
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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