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Author Topic: hebridean - white  (Read 2210 times)

kanisha

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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #15 on: April 12, 2018, 03:19:35 pm »
Hi Fleecewife thanks for the reply. I'm aware of the genetics of white spotting in the jacob however dominant black would hide white at agouti in the face of selection for black ( as would appear to be the case ) . I'm curious what is the history of colour selection on the island before and after the 1800's?
 I'm also aware of the studies into horn type and advantage in the soay. However with problems associated directly with the inheritance of four horns (split eye ) it would seem to have some serious disadvantages not factored into the soay study. I find horns and their distribution on a geographical scale potentially quite informative.  Do you know if any studies have been done to try to pin down their appearance geographically and with a timeline across the breeds?
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #16 on: April 12, 2018, 08:11:06 pm »
Black Sheep said: << So given that we'll be looking for a tup later in the year, if I want to try and maintain this are there any particular characteristics to look for apart from those already mentioned? >>

The only advice I can give is that these characteristics tend to take a couple of years to develop, so if you are going for a tup lamb or a shearling, you will not be able to choose him by appearance.

<<There are also disadvantages such as the extra energy needs to grow and carry them about >>.
I think big hornsets are heavy, and older tups can struggle with them, but I think the general consensus is that the mass of 2 horns and that of 4 horns are pretty much the same, at any given age. The difference is that the 4 horns might perhaps be weaker than the 2, being individually less massive, so it could be that 4 horns might be more likely to break in fights, although I've not seen this.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2018, 08:13:31 pm by Fleecewife »
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #17 on: April 12, 2018, 08:52:28 pm »
Hi Fleecewife thanks for the reply. I'm aware of the genetics of white spotting in the jacob however dominant black would hide white at agouti in the face of selection for black ( as would appear to be the case ) . I'm curious what is the history of colour selection on the island before and after the 1800's?
 I'm also aware of the studies into horn type and advantage in the soay. However with problems associated directly with the inheritance of four horns (split eye ) it would seem to have some serious disadvantages not factored into the soay study. I find horns and their distribution on a geographical scale potentially quite informative.  Do you know if any studies have been done to try to pin down their appearance geographically and with a timeline across the breeds?


Hi Kanisha.
My understanding of genetics is school standard only, so I'm not up to speed with agouti, alleles etc, although there is much discussion of this with Shetland sheep.  Of course Shetlands were selected from the same basic Landsheep as Hebrideans, Manx, N Ronaldsays and so on, so all should be similar.  I really hope that this is a possible explanation for white Hebs, as the society view is that whites are genetically impossible!
I find the scurs story with Soay sheep to be fascinating and unexpected but it does throw light on the workings of the theory of evolution.


For Split Upper Eyelid Defect in multihorns, I believe the problem is for the humans owning such sheep, rather than for the sheep themselves.  In only a few severe cases is the split bad enough to impact on the survival or health of the animal, and we are now suspecting that it is not inherited in a dominant way. Emily Gascoigne's PHD recent research thesis, now published, showed no link in occurrence between the eyelid status of parents and that of offspring.  This is what we have found too.  @Big Light what is your experience with this?


The expert on the incidence of multihorned skulls in the archaeological record in Britain is Louisa Gidney.  She has found multihorned sheep bones in Roman and Pictish sites in Britain.  As far as I know, the only evidence for sheep colours come from rare fabric samples again from archaeological sites.  Louisa's work will be published in scientific papers but I have no access to those.  David Kinsman has done much research into mulithorned sheep across the spectrum, some of which is mentioned in his book 'The Black sheep of Windermere', self published ISBN: 0-9540383-0-9.  You might find some answers to your thoughts in there - it's a fascinating book.


My pet theory is that fleece colours and quality were selected by women, who would choose to breed from sheep with more useful fleece (not necessarily softer/finer) and maybe light coloured to take dyes.  Early fabric was often woven in tartan and check patterns, so needed contrast.
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Big Light

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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #18 on: April 13, 2018, 09:09:19 am »
We have had a pair if ewe lambs 2 years ago with split rather than notched eyelid which caused a little eye watering on one lamb as the hair was turned in however after trimming the hair it was fine we had planned to take them as hogget however by the time they were gimmers it wasn't having any affect on them so we kept them ( albeit in the crossing flock)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #19 on: April 13, 2018, 01:36:03 pm »
Thanks Big Light.  And have you found that breeding from notched parents produces eyelid problems in the lambs or not?
Our first and worst split eyelid was a Jacob cross lamb, but even then, when we took her to the vet for advice, he felt there was no problem, and there never was for her.  She was a lovely part of our fleece flock.


Do you have any views about the possible genetics of white Hebs?  Sorry to call on your knowledge as I know you'll be in the midst of lambing.
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Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #20 on: September 15, 2018, 02:59:48 pm »
Interestingly amoung my pure Hebs I've had 3 show white marks on their front of neck which persist into adult hood, and these were all on shedding hebs which i kept for crossing.
I've seen one alleged White Hebridean in Yorkshire from registered parents, the second from the same dam sire combo but the owner was embarased and sent it off and wouldnt let me have it.
I would expect the gene pool still contains the required bits but as the flocks tend to be small in the breed, it may be unlikely for them to meet again.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #21 on: September 15, 2018, 07:00:05 pm »
I expect that was a remnant of the same Yorkshire flock we got our white Heb, Blondie, from.  I am unaware of any flocks still breeding pure white Hebs, because of the derision from the HSS back in the early days, when they could see no way that the genetics could work.  I wish there were still breeding white flocks as we could now do gene sequencing to see if they are really pure Heb or there has been an introduction of genes from other breeds to explain it.  I have a feeling that the genetics will be explained at some point as our knowledge increases, but by then there will be no white Hebs left.
I suppose white marks on Hebs are remnants of the spotting gene, which may indicate the infiltration of Jacob blood, which is known to have happened in parkland flocks (Jacobs are of course dominant black sheep with the white spotting gene; Hebs are recessive black)
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kanisha

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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #22 on: September 15, 2018, 09:44:55 pm »
Spotting gene is a recessive and occurs frequently in ouessants which were by selection in the majority  black  a recessive (to white at agouti)  white spotting is in general in ouessants limited to a poll spot although white spotting is variable in its expression.


Its arguable that its the dominant black in hebs which is the introduced gene...
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 07:56:21 am by kanisha »
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #23 on: September 15, 2018, 11:27:50 pm »
As the ratio of dominant to recessive black in Hebs is 20:80/ 1:4, yes it seems logical that the dominant black is the introduced gene.  Hebridean sheep are known to have been a selection made in the 1870s-80s from the multicoloured 'landsheep' of Scotland.  That they continued to breed black tells us that they were black recessive, not dominant.  Hebs were often kept in parkland flocks with Jacobs, which are black dominant, and it seems a reasonable assumption that there would have been some mixing of the breeds.  A Jacob / Heb cross looks pretty much like a Heb to the casual observer (black and multihorned), although in fact the crossing of the more roman nose of the Jacob with the dishy Heb face produces an atypical head on the cross, and there are size and fleece differences too, as well as occasional white spots.
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kanisha

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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #24 on: September 16, 2018, 08:00:23 am »
Does anyone know why the original selection was for black sheep?


How do you get your figures for dominant black fleecewife?


My understanding is that dominant black (Extension dominant) is present in shetlands in the uk . No doubt a breed enthusiast could confirm or not.
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
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    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #25 on: September 16, 2018, 10:29:34 am »
Does anyone know why the original selection was for black sheep?


How do you get your figures for dominant black fleecewife?


My understanding is that dominant black (Extension dominant) is present in shetlands in the uk . No doubt a breed enthusiast could confirm or not.


The Hebridean Sheep Society carried out extensive trials of mating Hebs with white breeds and seeing what colour the lambs were.  I don't know how the methodology would have stood up to in depth analysis, but the figure the HSS came up with showed that 20% of the males were black dominant in that they produced 50% black lambs on white ewes.  Black recessive males produced all white lambs on white ewes in the first generation.


I believe, from David Kinsman's research for his book The Black Sheep of Windermere, and many discussions with the author, that black individuals were chosen from the general type, because they were intended as parkland flocks.  Some owners of mansions liked to impress their visitors with the animals they had surrounding their house, and kept Jacob sheep, red deer, even zebras, so the striking black multihorned heb tups added to the fun.


The Manx Loughtan was also selected from the same basic type, purely for the preference of a large landowner (I forget his name) on the Isle if Mann, who liked the rich brown colour and bred for this.


I will be interested to hear if others have alternative information here.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 10:31:06 am by Fleecewife »
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #26 on: September 16, 2018, 11:24:52 am »
The Castlemilk Moorit was also bred for its appearance in parkland by a man who liked brown.  He had brown cattle - Dun Galloways - too.  His inheritors sold all the brown animals, having felt stifled by the lack of colour as they grew up!
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kanisha

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Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #27 on: September 16, 2018, 12:01:56 pm »
Interesting info on colour selection thankyou. Not sure if people are aware before the introduction of  multi coloured sheep some islands in the Faroes were home to a feral population of black sheep
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lítla_Dímun


The reason for asking was that the selection of  black was in some cases for the wool market.
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: hebridean - white
« Reply #28 on: September 16, 2018, 12:56:20 pm »
Interesting info on colour selection thankyou. Not sure if people are aware before the introduction of  multi coloured sheep some islands in the Faroes were home to a feral population of black sheep
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lítla_Dímun


The reason for asking was that the selection of  black was in some cases for the wool market.


That link took me to a wonderful page about the letter L, and various other letters and their origins


Got it now.  What fascinating info Kanisha.  From the pic, a very Soay like sheep, but black.  Very similar terrain to Soay and similar difficult access.  All shot...hmm!  Changing times.  I had heard of Litla Dimun before but thought it described the little black sheep  ::)


There is evidence, from for example some New Zealand islands, that when livestock species become feral, their colour reverts from white (in the case of sheep and pigs) to dark colours.  Presumably this is because white animals get picked off by predators sooner than coloured ones, which can lurk unseen in the undergrowth.  An example of natural selection, as opposed to selection by humans.
« Last Edit: September 16, 2018, 12:59:55 pm by Fleecewife »
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