Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Hebridean Genetic Diversity / flock management / breeding strategy  (Read 11775 times)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Yes our new Heb Board should really cover Soay, Boreray, Foula Shetlands, North Ronaldsay, maybe even Manx and Castlemilk, as well as Hebbies.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Fleecewife - Im going for genetic diversity, chasing phenotype reminds me of the texels -n how the breed soc chase a bigger chest and head, basically breeding for difficult lambing, vs looking at the new z texels which are the opposite - bred for ease! Makes me angry!

I dont give a damn about show ring appearance and have been critiqued for it in the past - but to me Hebs should be long lived (10+ years) touch, thrive on low or no inputs but pasture and hay and lamb without problems and have good feet, mouths and be good mothers - and be tough as iron in all weather.

Ive been to view too many heb flocks given food all year round, nuts in summer, lick blocks all the time, and what that does is allow week lines which should not be bred, to thrive, and weaken the breed - even more so as Ive seen this at 100ft above sea level - and this means soft sheep are thriving, while a heb with genes for hardiness may struggle under such a soft system, getting fat, scouring etc and as such not breed so well, so perversely many breeders are screwing the breed up imo, by giving their sheep an easy ride, and breeding for appearance - sadly making future hebs potentially a breed of old-world looking black sheep, adapted to live on year round supplements, adlib feeding and sheltered lambing -
I belive Hebs should be the opposite - Hardy little buggers, good mothers, thrive on grass alone (hay in bad weather), live out all year, lamb easily, good feet, good mouths and generally be a strong and healthy breed - compared to so many of the soft molly-coddled show-ring flocks which over time are breeding narrow lines for appearance and thus loosing the attributes that count. (I have brought from breeders like this who pride themselves on how good pedigree they are - and these ewes melt without inputs, struggle, and got twin lamb, then bad feet, repeatedly on all from the same set - Obviously WEAK genetics, but perfect appearance!

Beauty is a) in the eye of the beholder, b) only skin deep

lintmill

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • South Lanarkshire
    • The Lint Mill
    • Facebook
I agree with FW

www.thelintmill.co.uk

verdifish

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • banffshire
Coximus , where do you get your ideas ??? Lol btw i totally agree !!!

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Ran a five family system for many years works well , you need to really be hard at culling to achieve your goals ( in my case anything not good enough came out of the recorded flock and were crossed )    Be care full buying in the odd new ram as they may not click with your ewes and can set your breeding back .    You will probably find that you will keep more ewe lambs as genetically  they should be an improvement .

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Yes our new Heb Board should really cover Soay, Boreray, Foula Shetlands, North Ronaldsay, maybe even Manx and Castlemilk, as well as Hebbies.
So for Primitive sheep breeds?

ladyK

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Conwy Valley
So for Primitive sheep breeds?

yes please!  :thumbsup:
"If one way is better than another, it is the way of nature." (Aristotle)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Maybe "Hebrideans and other Primitive sheep"?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Done. Will move the two current threads to the board shortly. Feel free to bring these to the attention of folk that might be interested  :thumbsup:

Victorian Farmer

  • Guest
Would straws be a good idea .so you have the seamon in one place .Its big in scotland So the best ram seamon could be used on lots of projects

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
That's the opposite of achieving genetic diversity.  I'm aware that is something done for breeds with large numbers of sheep produced commercially, where there is an ideal, and using the same or related tups will produce fields of near identical lambs.
What we need with Primitive breeds is to use as many different tups as possible, on small numbers of ewes, so the genetic base is as wide as can be.

It is a strategy which can work over time, though, and this has been done to a small extent by the RBST, which funded the collection or rare breed semen a few years back, after F&M.  We contributed 4 tups, and their semen is now held by the RBST for use after the animal itself is long dead.  Ideally every tup ever used for breeding should have semen stored, and that should be available for anyone to use.  In practice I think very few tups of any breed were used, simply because of cost and difficulty of getting to collection centres.  Oh and the tups weren't too impressed with having to service a captive mule ewe without even an introduction  :roflanim: or with being expected to perform in February  :o

I'm not sure how much the stored semen has been used yet, as we have plenty of tups available within the breed in general, although not amongst multihorns.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2015, 11:23:49 pm by Fleecewife »
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

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

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Straws would be a terrible idea and make the very problem im trying to achieve so much worse!!!!!

BReeding from just the top conforming few rams is what wrecks a breed as the gene pool is narrowed so badly! I want more blood diversity not less.

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Could we even expand this thread to a multhorned Ram dating agency?

Id love to loan my multhorned Ram for another multi-horned ram and get some new blood in that way?

Big Light

  • Joined Aug 2011
    • Facebook
I guess its not the straws that are the bad idea its the using one tup to cover everything - our lambs this year are from 3 different tups over a small flock and they had been covered by others behind them we also lent a different tup lamb out aswell - however not every one can afford or have the space to keep over half a dozen tups and tup lambs through winter. If you could use the straws of a number of tups on your own flock that would'nt be as bad but you would need loads to choose from and as FW says the logictics of it probably don't make sense especially when decent tups in the real world aren't that expensive.

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook

  Ideally every tup ever used for breeding should have semen stored, and that should be available for anyone to use.  In practice I think very few tups of any breed were used, simply because of cost and difficulty of getting to collection centres.  Oh and the tups weren't too impressed with having to service a captive mule ewe without even an introduction  :roflanim: or with being expected to perform in February  :o


From what I understand collecting semen in this way is quite a specialised process and not ideally suited to primtives that aren't always used to being handled. Has anyone looked at alternative ways of collecting it?
Ravelry Group: - Ouessants & Company

 

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