The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: Snapper on January 21, 2013, 12:47:54 pm

Title: Anyone got Hebdridean Sheep?
Post by: Snapper on January 21, 2013, 12:47:54 pm
Help!!
 
We bought some Hebdridean lambs last year to grow on for the freezer , however on checking today there appears to be not much meat on them under the wool! They look a good size but are obviously deceptive.
 
In previous years we've had Hampshire Downs and Jacobs and they were ready by now. We're going to bring them in for extra feed, but how long do they usually take to 'finish' and how heavy should they be at slaughter?
 
Thanks
Title: Re: Anyone got Hebdridean Sheep?
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on January 21, 2013, 01:50:46 pm
Hebs Shetlands moorits and the like if bred pure generally need to overwinter and be sent off the following year ie as hoggett rather than lamb. The taste is worth it and they only need hay and a lick over the winter if not in lamb ewes (and even most of them). Def not as much meat as something bigger but by golly the taste is worth it. heb and Shetland cross well with some of the more commercial breeds as long as not tooooo big if you wanted meatier lambs and just breed pure for replacements,
Title: Re: Anyone got Hebdridean Sheep?
Post by: Fleecewife on January 21, 2013, 03:21:02 pm
As L&M says.
 
Feeding concentrates to Hebs over the winter doesn't help them to finish quicker - just costs more.  They only seem to finish well on grass - we send ours off at 16 months (as recommended by the Hebridean Sheep Soc) which for us means the beginning of August, a couple of weeks before weaning the next crop of males (we let the ewes wean their ewe lambs).  We only feed concentrates (for us - Carr's Champion Tup mix which is safe for both sexes) to tup hoggs when there is snow on the ground or a hard frost (which is quite often here  ::) ) but they do always have adlib hay and a licky bucket, plus water of course, throughout the winter months.  They start to grow again when the grass does.
We used to send them off in June but found we still had some low weights, so now we wait until August and have been pleased with the results.
 
Heb Hogget is a different product compared with downland breeds but everyone I know who has tasted it loves it  :thumbsup: :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:
 
I see no point in bringing them in to try to fatten them quickly - they are a hardy outdoor breed and the meat tastes that much better for growing slowly.
Title: Re: Anyone got Hebdridean Sheep?
Post by: Snapper on January 22, 2013, 12:54:33 pm
Thanks for your posts L&M and Fleecewife.
 
We'll follow your advice and leave them till 16 months old. I can't think why I never thought to check the Hebridean Sheep web-site.
 
They have been getting extra hay and as they're so agile they've been jumping over to visit the pigs and helping themselves to their food too. They've also cleared our Winter Cabbages and Kale but for some reason leave the Leeks, so there is lots of Leek and Potato Soup this Winter.
Title: Re: Anyone got Hebdridean Sheep?
Post by: Fleecewife on January 22, 2013, 05:00:57 pm
Pig food contains copper so is toxic to sheep.  Sounds as if you have some fencing to do  ;D