Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: A question of size  (Read 1802 times)


  • Joined Dec 2011
A question of size
« on: December 31, 2012, 05:10:01 pm »
Having lost my Gotland ram (see my other thread), I have a home bred Gotland ram lamb who I will now keep.  However he will be quite closely related to some of my Gotland ewes and won't be able to mate with them.  My other two rams are a Zwartbles and a Ryeland, the Zwartbles being a large breed and the Ryeland is a pretty chunky chap who usually produces good sized lambs with my crosses and Charollais ewes.

My question is, would the Zwartbles and Ryeland be too big to mate with my remaining Gotland ewes?  Both of them are fully grown and have born twin lambs this year.  If I can't put any of my rams to them it would be a big waste but I can't get rid of them as they are so lovely!

I'm just wondering about the pros and cons of putting a bigger ram to a smaller ewe.
1 horse, 2 ponies, 4 dogs, 2 Kune Kunes, a variety of sheep


  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: A question of size
« Reply #1 on: December 31, 2012, 05:16:37 pm »
I know this doesn't really answer your question but couldn't you swap rams with another Gotland breeder?


  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Cumbria/N Yorks border
Re: A question of size
« Reply #2 on: December 31, 2012, 05:27:15 pm »
I would have thought the Ryeland was a possibility, given that they're adults and not first-time lambers.
I can't say it's a cross I have any direct experience of however.

But a Gotland ewe will not be much smaller than a Swaledale? And it's not uncommon to use downs breeds on Swaledales, for their second crop onwards.


  • Joined May 2008
Re: A question of size
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2012, 05:27:27 pm »
Hi Remy, so sorry to read of the sudden loss of your Gotland ram, really feel for you with all of this and so hope that you can at least get some answers this time and hopefully then  know what you are dealing with.

I am not too sure about putting a bigger tup to a Gotland ewe, I think in part it would depend on the ewes breeding conformation, ie whether they are roomy breed or whether they have a tighter pelvis etc.  However I do know that commercial buyers of our Zwartbles rams have been using them successfully on first time ewes, including texel ewes, to help give them an easier time with their first lambing. So although a larger breed the conformation of the Zwartbles lends itself to an easier lambing for other breeds too. We did have someone buy a tup that he intended to put to Welsh Black mountain ewes, so know that they have been used on much smaller breeds too, but am not too sure of the outcome, we did select a smaller tup for his ewes though.
Is there a breed society that could maybe put you on contact with breeders that use commercial tups on the purebred ewes?


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: A question of size
« Reply #4 on: December 31, 2012, 05:54:34 pm »
I have only kept one Gotland ewe but she was very capacious inside (great expression  ;D ).  She always had triplets so the only problem she ever had lambing was when one triplet had died and was lying across the way (that's how I know she was capacious - could definitely have swung a cat in there  :cat: )
Just thinking of head shapes, Zwartbles have a similar shape to Gotlands ie not too wide,  but how about trying one of your ewes with each of the rams  :sheep: :sheep: ?   The fleece from a Ryeland x Gotland should be interesting  :knit:
Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

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


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: A question of size
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2013, 11:52:09 am »
I agree, it's much more about pelvis width than it's about overall dimensions.

If you've had to assist a Gotland to lamb - how much room for your hand was there?  If they've a tight, narrow canal, I'd be wary of using a tup of a wider breed.

I agree about the fleeces, too - both Gotland x Ryeland and Gotland x Zwartbles sound very interesting...  :knit: :knit: :spin:
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing


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