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Author Topic: Balwen ewe with terminal sire  (Read 1092 times)

Brewster

  • Joined Sep 2020
Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« on: June 26, 2022, 03:00:20 pm »
I have a small flock of Balwen sheep and I recently lost my Balwen ram. I lamb outside on lowland in April and slaughter in April /May the following year as they are too small to slaughter in the Autumn.

I was thinking about getting a terminal sire  instead of another Balwen as I'd like to slaughter the same year. Has anyone got any experience of crossing Balwens? I dont want to buy something that will produce lambs too big for the ewes. Any suggestions to what tup would be suitable would be appreciated

 I know Welsh mountain and and Black welsh Mountain sheep  are crossed which are similar. Thanks

silkwoodzwartbles

  • Joined Apr 2016
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #1 on: June 26, 2022, 03:25:00 pm »
A Berrichon could suit - they cross well onto Welsh ewes so I imagine they'd work on a Balwen too.

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #2 on: June 27, 2022, 12:45:32 pm »
Beltex /  Charmoise /  Charolais / Hampshire / New Zealand Texel  or Suffolk / Hill North Country Cheviot / Southdown  /Dorset
« Last Edit: June 27, 2022, 12:47:54 pm by shep53 »

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #3 on: June 27, 2022, 02:11:18 pm »
The only time I ever had to pull lambs from my Shetland ewes was when I followed advice from very experienced farmers and used a texel tup.... if you do go for a terminal sire go for something with less of a huge head on them. So I normally just use a Shetland tup - and my lambing is completely trouble-free and unassisted, outside.  I am tempted to use a NCC at some point, but not done it yet.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #4 on: June 28, 2022, 08:43:35 am »
I too have had a bad experience with a Shetland cross ewe and a Texel tup. 

In my opinion and experience, it's not the head that is the problem (unless it's a horned breed with significant horn buds at birth, and a big single tup lamb), it's the shoulders, and can be the rump with the double-muscled tups.  Using chunky-shouldered tups, you may have to get in and extend one of the lamb's front legs to change the shape of the shoulders in the birth canal.

So in selecting a tup, look for narrow shoulders (and a small head, or at least not a broad head, if you are worried about head size).  What you really also want is a low birth weight and a high growth rate, which for my money says Charolais.  (And you are lowland, and putting him on very woolly ewes, so you don't need to worry about the lambs being quite bare.)  But, farmers seem to often be seduced by "Oh, his lambs were girt stonking things", and select tups which give high birth weights, instead of those where the lambs were unspectacular at birth, but grew like stink and always weighed heavier than you expected.  So I would talk to the farmer and/or the breeder, and sound them out about how the tup performs / they select tup lambs for breeding, and walk away from any where they wax lyrical about huge lambs at birth. ;) 
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #5 on: June 28, 2022, 08:48:16 am »
You are also using coarse-coated ewes, which means more friction in the birth canal, especially if parturition is taking longer (because the lambs are bigger and the ewe is tired), and things start to dry out a bit.  So any issues with large lambs could be exacerbated, and in choosing a tup, look for one with a very fine fleece if possible.  (Which also leans you towards Charolais; the lambs can be too bare for a hill farmer.) 
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #6 on: June 28, 2022, 08:51:59 am »
Cheviot is a fab crossing tup, but only if you are happy to keep the lambs into and through winter.  The beauty of the Cheviot is that the lambs are *tiny* at birth, but grow into stonking girt things eventually (and off grass if you have it), fattening to excellent weights and conformation for the more lucrative Christmas and New Year markets.  So in the OPs case, looking to slaughter in the same year as born, I would not go Cheviot.
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

Twotwo

  • Joined Aug 2015
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #7 on: June 28, 2022, 02:12:24 pm »
What about a Dorset Down, they are medium sized and the lambs grow quickly. A friend uses my Dorset Down ram on her Shetlands and is very pleased with the result.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #8 on: June 28, 2022, 05:45:52 pm »
Or a Lleyn; whilst itís not a terminal sire the lambs do finish quickly and are easily born.  Or I have read good things about Charmoise in terms of lambing ease and terminal ability.

Brewster

  • Joined Sep 2020
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2022, 08:13:12 am »
Thanks for all your replies, its mush appreciated. Id ruled out Texels before posting for the reasons youve highlighted. Lleyn, Berrichon and Charolais sound sensible choices. Interesting to hear about the coarse fleece issue SallyintNorth.

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with docile cow and sheep!
Re: Balwen ewe with terminal sire
« Reply #10 on: July 24, 2022, 11:20:54 am »
Or a Lleyn; whilst itís not a terminal sire the lambs do finish quickly and are easily born.  Or I have read good things about Charmoise in terms of lambing ease and terminal ability.

What about a Dorset Down, they are medium sized and the lambs grow quickly. A friend uses my Dorset Down ram on her Shetlands and is very pleased with the result.

I am far from an expert BUT have done both the above on Shetlands.

Dorset Down, yes and the carcass is really good. I've eaten my own, as lambs and hogg and I have sold some as lambs, had them done as hoggs (the chap who bought them) and the slaughterman phoned me up after doing them to ask if I had bred them? (Apparently new owner, though 30 miles away from me, took them to the abbatoir, private not commercial, and it's owned by the guy who has bought cattle off me, so recognised the herdmark! Said the carcass was really good!)

Lleyn - now, maybe I did something wrong, I had some Shetlands that turned their noses up at my tups, so i put them with brother-in-laws Lleyn. Honestly, I can't remember how they lambed to him, but I do remember the carcass. I was ashamed of them! They were fatty and greasy, which was very surprising due to the mother's being pure Shetland. What made it worse was that they were for selling. I had these done as the others grew faster (Dorset Down & Bleu Du Maine were my tups) so sold them at auction, but these Lleyns were kept. They still went the year they were born and only on grass, but after that, I refused to use a Lleyn again.

I want to be able to eat the finished product, knowing that the fat is correct. Trust me, picking up boxes of meat at the butchers and getting greeted by excess (lots) of fat is a shocker. I was even tempted to ask if they were my animals but seeing the look on my sister's face, stopped me, as she piped up, "good, not just ours then!" Who needs enemies with relatives like her eh? Apparently, though she liked the Lleyn breed for lambing, she refused to eat it due to its greasiness, and they were grass only, he refused to pay for corn/hay etc. (He was Kiwi, he had different mentality, live on nothing and survive!)

Halter train the cattle to keep them quiet but watch your back when they come a'bulling! Give them all names even those you plan to eat. Always be calm. Most importantly, invest in wellies with steel toe caps and be prepared for the clever cow who knows where the toe caps end!!

 

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