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Author Topic: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements  (Read 2695 times)


  • Joined Sep 2021
Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« on: September 16, 2021, 04:35:42 pm »
Got 11 soay ewes for next to nothing. Have a mixed flock which runs along side my brothers mixed commercial flock of blackies, cheviot, mules and shetlands. He uses texel for the mules bfl for the blackies cheviot for the Shetlands which he's keeping the ewe lambs for replacements. What tup would be best for my 11 soays to make decent replacement ewes for myself. I thought texel as lambs would be small but have a bit of size and the tup lambs could go as stores. Would everyones thoughts?


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2021, 08:23:09 pm »
Only time I ever had to pull lambs out of a Shetland ewe was when I used a texel on them.... I know it is a common cross, but I would now go for a Cheviot to cross with rather than a texel... also, I wouldn't cross 1st timers with a large tup.


  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2021, 09:00:09 pm »
Will be interested to see what replies you get.

We put a Soay ram onto Wiltshire Horn ewes last year (as well as putting him onto Soay ewes) and the offspring seem a good size to me. Sending them off end of October. We're going to do the same thing this coming season but will look to replace the Soay ram with something bigger next year and are mulling over what to get.


  • Joined Sep 2021
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2021, 09:10:59 pm »
This will be their 3rd lambing been tupped with a soay tup the first two times. Got a heb x texel gimmer going to the tup this year for the first time and she's a cracker. Thought that a soay might give something a bit smaller then her.


  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2021, 10:51:49 am »
I would agree with Anke. I would not put a Texel tup onto a Soay ewe because of potential problems. A Cheviot tup will still give you a reasonable sized lamb out of a small ewe. There will be a good reason why your brother uses a Cheviot, not Texel ram on his Shetlands, and a  a Soay ewe is even smaller.

You might have got the ewes for little money but it still works out expensive if you end up with a vet bill or dead ewe because the ram is just too big for such a small ewe.   :thinking: 

So in answer to your question - yes I'm sure a texel x soay ewe would make a good replacement. But at what price to your original soays?
« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 11:54:39 am by landroverroy »
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  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2021, 12:12:00 pm »
The problem with Texels is they have large square heads and Soay ewes have a relatively narrow pelvis. Hebridean ewes have a larger pelvis proportionate to their size than Soays do.  I have used a Texel on Hebrideans with no problems, although the tup was chosen for his narrow head - not ideal for being a Texel, but great for being a sire on a Heb.
For Soays, no I wouldn't use a Texel sire.  Although the ewes have lambed before, birthing difficulties would be likely, and delivering a stuck lamb from a Soay is hard work unless you have tiny hands. Texels are not renowned for being great mothers, so as replacemnet stock you would be reducing the good mothering from your Soay input.

Whether the crossbred SoayxTexels would be good as replacements for your ewes, I think the answer to that is 'maybe'.  You never quite know what you will get from a cross, but if you did do this then at least some of the resultant lambs would be ok for breeding.  I wouldn't chose such a risky crossing though from choice, but a Shetland or Cheviot cross would be fine.  Why not put half your ewes to a Shetland and the other half to a Cheviot and see what you get? 
« Last Edit: September 17, 2021, 12:19:19 pm by Fleecewife »
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  • Joined Sep 2021
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2021, 03:50:34 pm »
Thanks for the replies. Thinking about putting them to the cheviot tup this year instead. Now thinking use are right about the problems lambing a big texel x lamb. Thanks for the advice  :sheep:


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Would soay x texel ewes make good replacements
« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2021, 09:11:16 am »
Good choice  :thumbsup:

For completeness, two other massive factors in such decisions are the likelihood of twins, and of male lambs being horned. 

Heads are bigger with horn buds.  Singles are bigger than twins.  So if the cross will give polled males and the ewes are pretty much always mutiparous, the risk of a stuck lamb is far less.  Conversely, if the cross will or might give horned males and the ewes may have singles, it's a much higher risk cross.

And a final comment... some breeds are born chunky and some are born small (and grow once born, to catch up later.)   Texels are the former, Cheviots the latter.  Hence Cheviot is a better cross for a small ewe, and Texel is a higher risk cross.

In my experience, Beltex (or Beltex x Texel or Beltex x Charollais) is a better choice than Texel for a crossbred breeding ewe (although all the same factors still apply.)  The resulting ewes are more maternal and considerably more milky.

If you use a very chunky tup on small ewes, you really need to know what you are doing in terms of how to feed the pregnant ewe.  Too little feed and the ewe might get twin lamb disease, and may not have enough milk for her chunky, fast-growing lambs.  Too much feed and the lambs will be too big and you will have difficult lambings.  And never, ever feed a small ewe carrying a single lamb to a tup that gives chunky lambs - so now you need to add scanning and separating your ewes to the equation, if you don't already do this.

So yes, use Cheviot and save yourself a lot of angst ;).  You can always use a meaty boy on the Cheviot cross ewes (once they've had a first crop to a same-size tup.)
« Last Edit: October 05, 2021, 09:13:21 am by SallyintNorth »
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