Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Interesting crosses  (Read 4021 times)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Interesting crosses
« on: April 06, 2018, 07:44:16 am »
I love crossbreeding my sheep, and having tried two new tup types this time I thought it might be nice to have a thread where we share our experiences of various crossings.
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

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2018, 09:01:07 am »
Once tried a Badger Face ram on 5 of my Southdown tegs, as the reverse cross makes a good Welsh Mule type lamb that sells well as a store at market.  Every ewe rejected its lambs, despite lengthy stays in an adopter, and I had to bottle feed the whole lot.  The next year they were put to the Southdown ram and were all fine for the rest of their productive lives.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2018, 10:02:31 am »
A more commercial cross, Poll Dorset ram on Lleyn and Lleyn x ewes. Good hardy lambs, easy lambing and do very well on grass. Kill out very well although have to watch for going overfat quickly... imagine would produce a nice early lambing ewe but we killed all ours last year and will do the same this year and put the money towards some nice pure lleyns again.

Foobar

  • Joined Mar 2012
  • South Wales
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2018, 10:54:16 am »
Hill Radnor x Black Welsh Mountain this year.  Only just lambing now so can't tell you much yet, other than they are black (mostly) :).

kanisha

  • Joined Dec 2007
    • Spered Breizh Ouessants
    • Facebook
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2018, 11:40:26 am »
Photos of interesting crosses please :)
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Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2018, 11:51:32 am »
Once tried a Badger Face ram on 5 of my Southdown tegs, as the reverse cross makes a good Welsh Mule type lamb that sells well as a store at market.  Every ewe rejected its lambs, despite lengthy stays in an adopter, and I had to bottle feed the whole lot.  The next year they were put to the Southdown ram and were all fine for the rest of their productive lives.


We put 4 Hebrideans to a Texel tup and 3 of them wouldn't let him anywhere near them.  The 4th had previously had a Texel lamb adopted onto her, and she was as happy as anything with the Texel tup.  Sheep clearly recognise themselves as breeds as well as sheep.
That cross, Texel on Heb, produced some lovely meat lambs, which won a first at our local show. Their fleeces were white (white always seem to get a slightly higher price in the ring than black, where that is the only difference) and also wonderful for craft work.
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Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2018, 12:00:29 pm »
Zanx Loaghwarts:



We're on our third year of these now, born from a Manx Loaghtan ewe and a Zwartbles tup.



They've always been born unaided, and grow to be just a little smaller than the pure bred Zs. They're best sent away at about 14 months old.

Generally, they've been 100% black, though this year's lambs have a little bit of white on their heads. The fleece is very similar to a pure Zwartbles fleece, only shorter staple length so nothing amazing. They're also always significantly flightier than the pure Zwartbles. This seems to be nature rather than nurture, since their Mum is actually quite tame now.

Unfortunately, except for meat, there doesn't seem to be a market for these, which I find a real shame,  since they could be a really good, hardy smallholder sheep in the right setting.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

nimbusllama

  • Joined Nov 2010
  • Near Mansfield, Nottinghamshire
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #7 on: April 07, 2018, 09:39:37 am »
These are my Castlemilk Badgers.... born to a Torwen Badgerface ewe and by a Castlemilk Moorit ram, just because I had one!


The first picture taken just before shearing is a single (about to be) shearling ewe, that is bigger than her mother, and as wild as a Castlemilk can be! She is polled.


The second picture is the next years twin lambs with mother in the background, and these lambs are tame for no particular reason, except it was a different CM ram. These are a ewe and a wether and are horned.









Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #8 on: April 07, 2018, 01:56:46 pm »
Hill Radnor x Black Welsh Mountain this year.  Only just lambing now so can't tell you much yet, other than they are black (mostly) :).

*swoon* love both breeds.


This ewe in front was sold to us as a Southdown cross - presumably s/down with South Welsh mountain as thatís what the guy mostly farms. So far sheís proving a great mother to her first lamb and generally Iím a fan.


My neighbour has some Kerry Hill/SWM cross lambs as the result of an orphan KH they adopted into their flock. They have the Kerry hill panda face and knee pads, but Nelson brown markings on their shoulders and bodies.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2018, 06:29:22 pm »
The breeding portion of my fleece flock now consists of :-

  • one black Wensleydale
  • one Manx Loaghtan
  • two BFL x Shetland
  • three 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx
  • one Shetland

plus, on the candidates for keeping list from last year :

  • one 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx

And we've also got two Zwartbles, whose offspring we might keep for breeders if the fleeces are nice.


This year we've used a Romney tup on the first four and a Hebridean on the next three as it's their first time and I like to give them an easy tup the first time.  We put one Zwartbles to the Romney and one to the Heb.

We're trying to create a flock of decent meat sheep with lovely fleeces for crafting, smaller than the Zwartbles but bigger than the Shetlands and Manxes, easy lambers, good feet, etc.

So far one of the Shetland x BFL, the Manx and the black Wensleydale have lambed to the Romney.  All good strong lambs, very promising.  The pic of the Wensey's single is at 12 hours old.  (She is a small Wensey but yes he is a big lamb  :)). The twins all took a couple of days to grow into themselves as well as this.

Things I hadn't thought about include :

  • long tails.  The Northern Short Tails don't need docking, but so far all the Romney x lambs have had long tails :(
  • harder lambing -> lamb more exhausted, slower to get up and get to the milk bar.  Shetland lambs are practically born on their feet and don't give up finding the teat.  The Wensey's large single (which I helped - straightened the front legs to narrow the shoulders - only because I didn't want an overly long nighttime vigil) is the only one so far that's up and suckled straight away.  They've all done it, but I've had one long vigil, and brought the first family in as the weather wasn't kind that morning and I was bothered they'd get too cold before they got fed.  (I prefer not to help if possible - I don't want to breed or breed from sheep that need help at lambing)

It's not all negatives, of course.  The Romney lambs aren't as flighty as Shetlands; I can still catch them easily at three days old!   :D

Anyway, it's early days to draw any conclusions, but it made me think this thread would be a good idea - and I'm enjoying it so far :)
« Last Edit: April 08, 2018, 06:32:52 pm by SallyintNorth »
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

Dogwalker

  • Joined Nov 2011
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2018, 08:50:48 am »
Re: long tails.
My Bowmont x shetlands have mostly got long thick woolly tails, but one set of twins last year have a slightly longer shetland type tail. 
Their fleeces are very fine like bowmonts and their feet grow fast like bowmonts and need more attention then shetland feet.

Nelson International

  • Joined Aug 2017
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #11 on: April 09, 2018, 07:16:53 pm »
The breeding portion of my fleece flock now consists of :-

  • one black Wensleydale
  • one Manx Loaghtan
  • two BFL x Shetland
  • three 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx
  • one Shetland

plus, on the candidates for keeping list from last year :

  • one 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx

That's quite a list.  :o

How much effort do you expend making sure that you pick a compatible breed of ram that wont give you trouble lambing?

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Interesting crosses
« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2018, 07:31:54 pm »
The breeding portion of my fleece flock now consists of :-

  • one black Wensleydale
  • one Manx Loaghtan
  • two BFL x Shetland
  • three 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx
  • one Shetland

plus, on the candidates for keeping list from last year :

  • one 3/4 Shetland 1/4 BFL
  • one Shetland x Manx

That's quite a list.  :o

How much effort do you expend making sure that you pick a compatible breed of ram that wont give you trouble lambing?

I spend a lot of time thinking and researching, and then have to make a choice based on what's available locally!

The only one I felt was a risk this time was the Manx Loaghtan to the Romney.  Small sheep, big tup.  But the Romney, though large, isn't horned, isn't double-muscled, and is reputedly an easy-lambing breed, much used for crossing on moorland and hill sheep.  The Manx, like the Shetland, is a primitive with a wide pelvis, probably wider than many of the moorland and hill sheep routinely used to cross with the Romney.  People put Shetlands and Manxes to Texels and Blue-faced Leicesters, so the Romney shouldn't pose even as much of a challenge as a Texel. 

Our researches led us to believe that birth size is greatly influenced by the mother's size, whereas eventual size is equally influenced by both parents, or may be bigger than either parent due hybrid vigour.

Also, given our plan to create a larger sheep with nice fleece and all the other attributes, I can't justify DC's place in my flock if she can't manage a bigger lamb.  So it was a calculated risk.  I only put this one of my smaller sheep to the Romney this time, so I could assess how it goes before putting the other smaller sheep to him another year.

The birth size thing so far seems to have been born out, and on that basis I would happily put the Shetland and Shetland x Manx to the Romney another time.

I hope I will always be able to use a smaller tup for our first-timers, to let them learn their job without too much physical stress.  Because it's a palaver having two tups here, my game plan is to breed first timers every other year, so some will be 2 years old and some 3 years old when they first lamb.  We shouldn't have any difficulty managing them so that they don't get overfat and unable to get in lamb.

edited to add: And you'll notice the prevalence of Shetland crosses in the list.  The Shetland element, I believe, massively reduces the risk of misalliance, in that she has a very wide pelvis, and her lambs are generally born small, active, hungry and determined!
« Last Edit: April 09, 2018, 07:34:09 pm by SallyintNorth »
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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