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Author Topic: Hebs - anything different I need to know....  (Read 2623 times)

Katrina

  • Joined Jul 2014
  • Cornwall
Hebs - anything different I need to know....
« on: June 04, 2015, 10:31:54 am »
Hi  :wave:  I have recently acquired a flock of Hebs.  Thanks to the story of 'bleeping Brigitte' I became really interested in them and now I have them I think they are great!!  I really love these sheep - so far.  I have obviously done lots of reading about them etc, but I thought I would ask the experts, is there anything different they need from my commercial sheep and Ryelands? I don't want to do something that changes the hardy nature of the breed, but  I want to make sure I am looking after them correctly.  Many thanks

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Hebs - anything different I need to know....
« Reply #1 on: June 04, 2015, 12:00:29 pm »
I'm so glad you enjoyed the tale of bleeping Brigitte.  She settled the instant her lamb was born and has been the perfect mother ever since.  I expect a lot of noise when the boys go over the road in a couple of months.

You have probably found most of the information during your research.  They are not a complicated breed to keep, and can be worked with dogs in spite of their reputation, especially if they are in with a more 'typical sheep' flock.

They don't need a special feed such as North Ronaldsays do, but they do enjoy rather coarser, more varied grazing and browsing.  Too much lush grass can make them grow too big, and scour.  Ours get a little hard feed in the 6 weeks running up to lambing, and for a couple of weeks after, but very much less that large, woolly sheep.  This must depend on where you are of course - in a mild climate, any hard feed would be overfeeding them, but they can starve as any other animal if their nutritional needs are not met.  Ours have ad lib hay right through the winter, and relish it (our hay is full of various species from our meadows).  Hebs don't tend to overeat - they limit themselves to what they need, and like to be able to roam a bit, as goats do.

Worming, flystrike, fluke, all those things are just as likely to happen to Hebs as to any other breed.  Don't believe those who say they don't get worms, or flystrike - they do. Older ewes tend not to be affected by a small worm burden, in other words they are resistant to worms, but this doesn't mean they somehow repel the worms.  Their feet are normally good, especially if you have some rocky ground, or concrete, they can walk over.  If they are on soft, wet, long grass then expect some foot problems.

They can be sponged if you have to for your flock management, and some breeders do that, but to me it seems against their wildness.  Ours lamb outdoors, and as long as they can find shelter, man made or natural, they will be fine.  The lambs have a very thick, waterproof birth coat, so once they have been dried they are ok even in snow.  They don't like being indoors, so would find indoor lambing quite stressful.

Hebs of course have a reputation for being wild and unmanageable.  We have not found this, except when we first got our flock, which had not been handled much.  They settled down after they had lambed here the first time, and now lambs born here are as calm as....well, not Ryelands, but you can certainly bucket train them, digestives train them, spent brassica train them  ;D

I think that's it.  So not much different to any other sheep, just need less artificial feeding.  I think you'll love them.  They are so beautiful with their big eyes and characterful faces.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2015, 12:02:49 pm by Fleecewife »
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kelly58

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Highlands, Scotland
  • Home is were my animals are.
Re: Hebs - anything different I need to know....
« Reply #2 on: June 04, 2015, 01:33:55 pm »
Will second that , they are beautiful with there big eyes and characterful faces. Wish you luck with you new flock  :thumbsup:  :sheep:

Katrina

  • Joined Jul 2014
  • Cornwall
Re: Hebs - anything different I need to know....
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2015, 07:48:02 pm »
Thank you. That's really helpful. Glad Brigitte is doing well. It will be the name of my first heb ewe lamb   :sheep:  Their faces do have great character.  The oldest looks at me as if to say 'I may be new here but I know so much more about this flock than you' she looks a wise old woman. I just need to get a bit of weight on her, I think her twins have taken their toll.

 

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