The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Livestock => Sheep => Topic started by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 04:24:25 pm

Title: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 04:24:25 pm
Hello again,
Anyone any thoughts on Lleyns? Been trying to decide the breed I want to roll with since April time and after considering a few rare breeds went off them, decided on Suffolks as I like the look but I really think they'll be too heavy for my to handle easily (I'm 17, female, and short) and I don't want to be put off shepherding duties because I can't handle them. Someone suggested Lleyns, and having a look they just seem like a really nice 'base' breed? Can be crossed relatively easily (possibly with Suffolks?) to create nice carcass quality, and seem a strong all-rounder on the milky/lambing/disease front?
Also I haven't got a massive amount of initial output for them, I've saved about 400-500 but I also need to factor in the cost of necessary-starter off equipment, anyone got any suggestions on how many i'd get for that? pedigree or not...
I just really want a breed that is relatively easy to handle, I'm not a novice as I've worked with sheep a lot, but I don't want lots of complications and I want something that is going to be easy to market...please help! Thanks in advance! Sorry for waffling... :sheep: :eyelashes:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Marches Farmer on August 05, 2014, 04:33:38 pm
I suggest having a word with your local livestock market and asking what they think.  You'll need a lot of kit - from buckets to a drench gun, hurdles to foot shears.  I had 20 Lleyns and they were flighty as hell, never actually raised more than twins to weaning age, despite scanning with quads on occasions - never again!   Have you thought about starting out with store lambs and taking them on to finishing weight?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 04:38:51 pm
Good idea, I do need to pop down and have a look, see what's on offer there as that will also show me what works well round here and ensure I have a market for them. Not too bothered on lambing percentages, singles or twins is good, as long as they grow to be a good size etc. Hmm not really what I'm looking for, really looking to learn about the breeding game and everything that comes with it, don't really just want to buy a load in then send them off again in a few months if you see what I mean, I haven't got the land for it
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 05, 2014, 04:58:26 pm
If I was going to get white sheep I'd get Lleyns (I'm female and shortish :)).  Hardy, low maintenance sheep they are.  Shop around, buy off farm so you can see how they handle (some flocks will be easier to handle than others, depending on how they are managed).
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Ideation on August 05, 2014, 05:01:57 pm
There is really not a lot of money in stores at the moment. Local marts are selling them for 50 and you'll be lucky to get 70-75 for them once fat.

'ME' on here runs lleyns and seems to get on with them well.

You could go a couple of ways to maximise what you get for your cash, one would be buying ewe lambs, and either just running them on and breeding the year after or if they have the body weight, tupping them to a suitable TS. The other is buying cast / draft ewes, although this is a real mixed bag, as unless you know what you are looking for you could buy some real crap, that brings with it all sorts of problems.

Can you borrow a ram / tup?

Can you borrow some equipment for bigger jobs?

I'd say the essential bits you cant get away with would be a drenching gun, a spray gun, hand clippers, knife / foot trimmers, crook and a few hurdles (either made or bought). Most of this stuff can be picked up cheap second hand.

How many are you looking to get?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 05:10:46 pm
Hardy is good, not that I'm anywhere extreme, but surely hardy is always good?
Oh ok, may see if I can inbox and ask a few questions...
Probably looking to buy ewe lambs and build up some sort of flock to be honest, that's why I really want a breed that I can work with and is going to be somewhat viable to at least make some profit, not asking for much!
Could probably borrow a tup, local farmer friend is about to get EasyRams? He suggested I start out with them too, but I'm not wanting such low input (why ever not!?)
Definitely borrow equipment for bigger jobs, he has a permanent race set up and as he is set to be lambing out doors next year I reckon I could definitely get a couple of hurdles off him, either free or dirt cheap, and probably as many as I need and more, he's lovely
Also a major plus is my mum works in our local Mole Valley, so we get major discount on anything i would need from them
Depends how much they are but want to see how i go with 6 to start?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: shep53 on August 05, 2014, 07:27:19 pm
Have you looked at PRELOVED  it will give you many sheep at many prices to give you some ideas
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: devonlad on August 05, 2014, 08:12:24 pm
I think lleyns are a cracking sheep easy to handle and hardy/ weve had wilts horns lleyns and crosses. wouldn't see an "easy care sheep as being low input to be honest. only thing we don't do is dag and shear.
BTW I work for mole valley- say hi to mum (whoever she is)- I only get 3% staff discount on agricultural products so would love to get to know mother if she gets more than that  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hillview Farm on August 05, 2014, 08:19:49 pm
I've got a few lleyn cross texels and put them to a Suffolk this year. Beautiful White and spotty faced lambs. Never picked up a foot. All had twins and reared them very well!

Big vote for lleyn crosses!
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 05, 2014, 08:24:52 pm
Hi! Yes I (Me) run a few Lleyn and I am really happy with them as a lamb producing machine that can run on a variety of ground. I put nearly all to a Charmoise ram and only a few of the "best" to a Lleyn for replacements. I find them easier to handle than Beulahs or Charmoise for that matter and heavier crossbreds. Possibly I have been lucky but get little trouble with masses of multiple births etc.

If you were to be tempted by Lleyn bear in mind there is a lot of within breed variation. Personally I feel that high EBV scores in Lleyn go with increased body size and increased concentrate feeding so be careful how the overall EBV is interpreted.
If you plan to lamb out buy from an outdoor lambing flock, if you plan to show then buy from a show flock etc etc. I plan to pay a few bills so bought from a ruthlessly commercial "if its broke cull it" type mate or two that I knew of old. For my purposes Lleyn do me well.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 09:33:10 pm
Oh this is so tragic! I wrote a really long reply, I check back and it hadn't posted!  >:(
Anyway,
Variety of ground is fantastic!
Lack of multiple births is fantastic too, quality over quantity, read an article in FW on a big time sheep farmer who was very very focused on quality of his ewes and repeat multiple births (3/4) were culled out as time and resource drainers...
Think I'd be going for the Suffolk crosses, as I say I originally wanted them, but the Lleyns look just as good with a bitg of Suffolk!
Buying from the right type of flock is really sound advice too, hadn't thought of it like that, need to talk to my farmer friend about lambing, he has lots of space, and if he isn't going to be using it.....  :eyelashes:
Thanks for all your comments and advice everyone! Will let you know about my mum  ;) Seems like Lleyns are perfect for what I'm looking for  :excited:
Will also take a look on PRELOVED, hadn't known/considered it before
THANKS everyone!!  ;D :wave:
If anyone has anymore comments/advice/opinions on Lleyns I'm all ears  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hellybee on August 05, 2014, 10:00:05 pm
We started with 30 odd ewes, mostly Lleyn, with a little badger face, touch of Charolais, n some black faces, we then bought pure Lleyn rams and now up to 130 ewes, so yes predominantly Lleyn.


We love them, they are intelligent, hardy, good mums as a rule,  We want to cross ours with the charmoise after much talk of what to get next, yes Me we still want to pay you a visit  :innocent:   We also like the welsh mountain as a cross.


You ll love them, they can be sharp, but easily trained to the bucket.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 10:09:16 pm
 :D
That's great thanks, another positive response! I'm getting excited at the possibility of having found 'my' sheep breed! Waiting for someone to come along with a massive downside to them or something! Seems to have happened with all the other sheep I have suggested!  :-\
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hellybee on August 05, 2014, 10:32:46 pm
I was told in the royal welsh that the original sheep that the Lleyn descends from was from France, and they ran aground on the Lleyn peninsula, I don't know how much truth there is in this but an interesting aside.  Also rather random but on a clear day we can see the Lleyn from our from door..and we're in pembrokeshire !


I hear of them living all over the country so that's good, they're tough.    We ve never sold spring lambs here, we go for the later store marts.  The highest price weve fetched with stores is 75, we wean in a few weeks and some are them will be going then, big bruisers, February lambs. 
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 05, 2014, 10:34:41 pm
Beulah and lleyn x Charmoise sold t'other day never seen creep
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Porterlauren on August 05, 2014, 10:39:42 pm
Sounds like you have a good plan. Personally if I had to choose between keeping suffolks or lleyns i'd go for the latter. Maybe just my bad experience, but whilst making big thumping lambs, they have a habit of being dumb, slow, hard to lamb, little get up and go and mucky back ends. Still, they do look nice.

For a practical sheep, I think a lleyn is better. As ME says though, most times its more important where you get your sheep, then what breed of sheep, so source from a flock that operates similar to how you wish to. What I want is a ewe who is a good mother and milky, that gives me two lambs each year, off grass, that can be lambed outside, is hardy, got good feet, and whose lambs are tough, quick to get up and suck and stay alive till sold. Well, that's the dream and I don't think i'm a lone. LLeyn wouldn't be a bad place to start.

You should get a half dozen ewe lambs for your 500. But a decent ram of any type will blow your budget out of the water. Your friends advice on Easyrams is good, I assume rather than an 'easy care' ram, he means one from the company easy rams who sell imported newzealand genetics in the form of nz texels, suffolks and suftex's? Never seen one, but they are meant to be good rams, for easy lambing out side on a grass based system.

Sounds very good about getting both equipment and advice from your friend. What does he run ewe wise out of interest?

Maybe it'd be an idea to go to some ewe sales and just see what makes what price etc locally. Don't buy, just watch. This time of year is when the breeding and store sales / shows happen.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 05, 2014, 10:50:27 pm
Thanks for the fun facts, always useful :)  :thumbsup:
Oohh they are impressive, veryyy impressive! Eek! I'm excited to get home now (I'm in London on work experience, I'm sure you can all imagine how I'm coping... :huff: :farmer: ) but I'll be going straight to our farmer to lay out a business plan!
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Porterlauren on August 05, 2014, 11:01:58 pm
For lleyn ewe lambs. . . . . one of 'ME's Charmoise tups would be a pretty good prospect.

Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: FiB on August 06, 2014, 07:51:43 am
Another vote for Lleyn. I bought 10 Beulah and 5 lleyn.  Both brilliantly hardy, solidly producing strong singles or twins with no intervention in 2 lambing years. (Beulah ram).  I bough both as ewe lambs 50.... And I'd go that rout again.... Gives you a year to learn, get them settled and used to your land and you.  Didn't have much equip to start.  Although I LOVE Beulah, I would say the Lleyn finish slightly better so I am going Lleyn tup this year.  They are docile, fab mothers and tasty. What more can you ask for?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 06, 2014, 08:51:45 am
Check out the Lleyn Sheep Society website, there are lots of adverts and sheep for sale on there usually.  See if you can find some breeders that are near you, I'm sure they would let you go look at their flocks and bend their ears.  You are more likely to get what you want this way rather than via small ads like preloved (IMHO).
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 06, 2014, 09:06:38 am
Yes Foobar you are right... Though I tried to go on that site the other day and my computer wouldn't let me - my wife has set "mild parental controls" to stop me buying sheep presumably!
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 10:01:16 am
Sorry Porterlauren, I didn't see your post last night, not ignoring you!
Yeh he's currently in the process of actually swapping his whole flock over to the EasyRam way, he wanted EasyRam bred ewes and this other guy wanted mules so I believe they are just sort of 'swapping' flocks  :roflanim: in a professional way obviously! I'm not really sure, thinks he's upping from about 500 to close to a 1000? At a guess? Mum has booked a day off so we are heading to our local mart which I've wanted to do allllll summer  :excited: but she says I'm not allowed a ferret :( (off topic)
Had a look on their website yesterday, doesn't seem to be a massive amount of breeders near me, but might just be that they aren't registered peds?
 :sheep: :sheep: :sheep:
Anyone got any advice on what I would 100% need before they're even here, or will need pretty sharpish?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: SallyintNorth on August 06, 2014, 10:03:37 am
Another vote for Lleyn.  Can't fault them except that in our experience they were a little too prone to having triplets and quads, and on our ground that's not really a good plan.  However even if they did have multiples they mostly did make a good job of them.

You won't get market-topping double-muscled backside lambs out of a Lleyn, but you'll produce perfectly acceptable, saleable lambs which will sell finished or in the store without much need of cake or cosseting.  And if you can put her to a Texel, she'll produce a better lamb still.

I'm not a fan of Suffolks for a lot of reasons, but the main one is that heavy lambs is not what the market wants to buy.  So you spend more money - and effort too - getting these chunky great dopey things finished, and then get less per head than you would for a smaller but well-finished Llleyn x Texel ;)
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 10:07:16 am
Brilliant, I do also like texel crosses, I think texel peds are a bit ugly (sorry any texel fans!) but they make really nice crosses so definitely look at that as a possibility too! Thaaanks!  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Womble on August 06, 2014, 10:10:43 am
I'm sure they would let you go look at their flocks and bend their ears.

I've always focussed on teeth, feet and udders up until now, but I'll add ear bendiness to the list too  ;) . 
 
Lack of multiple births is fantastic too, quality over quantity, read an article in FW on a big time sheep farmer who was very very focused on quality of his ewes and repeat multiple births (3/4) were culled out as time and resource drainers...

Be careful then Georgie, my understanding is that one of the main selling points of the Lleyn is their tendency to produce lots of lambs and of course produce sufficient milk to raise them. (Edit - cross posted with Sally below.) Buy carefully if that's not what you want!
 
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Marches Farmer on August 06, 2014, 10:14:58 am
OK, so two of my 20 Lleyns (first-timers in perfact condition for lambing, according to the vet) prolapsed when they were nearly due.  Vet stitched them up (too big a prolapse for a harness).  One started lambing but then stopped.  Caesarean, twins - one died later - as the vet turned to leave the ewe jumped out of the pen, bled out internally and died 6 hours later.  Other one lambed, both lambs dead, she had had no milk. So out of a possible 6 Lleyns I'm left with one ewethat would go to cull, one bottle-fed lamb, trip to the Hunt kennels and charge for disposing of the carcases and a very large vet's bill.  No, I really don't like Lleyns!
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 10:19:35 am
As long as they've got the milk, and I've got the land to deal with raising multiple births that's fine, I just don't want to end up with a)loads of caids (cute as they are) or b)lots of poor lambs because the ewe can't handle raising them, as long as they are profitable and can become just as good as twins, I'm fine  :thumbsup:
Brilliant! Knew there would be someone to disagree! I don't think you'd ever ever find a breed that someone hadn't had a nightmare with, was waiting for someone to pop out the woodwork! Thanks  ;)
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 06, 2014, 10:53:46 am
Don't flush them pre-tupping and that should avoid too many trips/quads etc.  They are prolific enough without needing to be flushed.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: waterbuffalofarmer on August 06, 2014, 10:54:25 am
I keep Lleyns myself and they're the best breed of sheep I have ever kept. The milk is lovely and so is the meat.
http://www.preloved.co.uk/adverts/list/3752/sheep.html?keyword=Lleyns (http://www.preloved.co.uk/adverts/list/3752/sheep.html?keyword=Lleyns)
Here are some for sale
hope this helps
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 11:07:41 am
Thanks for the advice foobar  :thumbsup:
Thanks for the link, useful to see prices and things :)
What would people advise on ewe lambs or shearlings? Would ideally be looking to put them to a tup this year to lamb next spring and I know some people say that although ewe lambs would lamb, it isn't an ideal situation?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 06, 2014, 11:55:02 am
Probably an even better choice would be to get older ewes that have lambed before initially.  They will know what they are doing then, even if you don't ;).  You can have fun and games with shearlings and ewe lambs, for different reasons, so maybe best to avoid them for the first year.  Older ewes would be cheaper too.  See if you can get 2- or 3-tooth ewes, still plenty of life left in them.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 11:59:22 am
Thanks, probably best, I'm not inexperienced, and my mum is very experienced, but I don't really want the risk of abortions/prolapses/dead/weak lambs if I've only got a few ewes to start anyway, and then all my flock won't be the same age which is a good thing I've heard?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: SallyintNorth on August 06, 2014, 12:23:23 pm
Another vote for older ewes, even if you are experienced.  A first-timer (she and you!) has enough to contend with, without a first-time mother / new shepherd to boot!  Older girls will know the ropes and, if you select ones that aren't too flighty, you and they should get along fine :)

Then keeping the good ewe lambs on as replacements, they'll always have known you, and as long as your handling is always calm and kind, there's no reason for them to be flighty or nervous.

As a general rule we don't lamb hoggs.  We may do the odd pair or three now and again, but on the whole we prefer to give them more growing and growing up time, and believe you get it back at the other end of their lives.

I have to say, though, that Eblex disagrees with me.  See the leaflet on breeding from ewe lambs on this (http://www.eblex.org.uk/returns/breeding/) page.

Oh, and if we do lamb hoggs, we use a tup that will be easy on them.  So not a Texel, on the whole.  We'll use Dutch Texel (a small one with narrower shoulders and hips), a Charollais, a Shetland or Shetland x.  If we had access to a Lleyn tup, we'd happily use one of them ;)
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 12:27:10 pm
Thanks for the tips, will read the Eblex leaflet with interest, quite a few seem to be of the opinion that the extra growing time gives for healthier lambs and longer potential lambing life from the ewes
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 06, 2014, 12:31:40 pm
then all my flock won't be the same age which is a good thing I've heard?
yes, that way every year you can replace a percentage of the older ones with the best of the ewe lambs that you've bred.  e.g if you keep all your ewes until they are 4 (like in a hill flock) then every year you would be looking to replace 25% of your flock by retaining ewe-lambs.  If you keep them until they are 6 then it would be 16% etc.  or something like that, I'm sure you get what I'm trying to say :) - a constant  process of replacing old with new.  (this is all based on keeping a closed flock of a constant size, i.e not buying in new ewes each year, which is beneficial from a health status point of view as you aren't buying in disease)


And I'd vote for lambing ewe-lambs (I do) :D.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 12:34:13 pm
Interesting, thanks  :thumbsup:
And how do they get on? Do the results vary between breed?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Foobar on August 06, 2014, 01:33:47 pm
I have BWM and they lamb fine, but I breed pure.  I would never put a terminal sire type ram on a ewe-lamb.  I find shearlings are just a pain in the ass, they run around not knowing what has just popped out of them, or run around trying to steal other ewes lambs before they have lambed themselves.  Or they get too fat in their first year and then that gives potential prolapse issues etc.  My ewe lambs just pop them out and get on with it, nay bother :).  Don't flush them, and don't over feed them pre-lambing, you don't want big lambs.  A steady low-rate feeding program (or good grazing) throughout winter is best for ewe-lambs (as per the eblex docs etc).
It can also come down to , if you wait until they are shearlings then that's one winter's hay/feed you have to provide for it without getting anything in return.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 01:38:30 pm
I've actually noticed that with a few shearlings I've worked with, the young ewe lambs seem to deal fine, and the older mothers are obviously pros, but the ones that tend to end up being those really blinking annoying 'nanny ewes' always seem to be shearlings!
All sounds sensible advice thanks, especially on winter's hay/feed!  :excited:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: FiB on August 06, 2014, 03:41:32 pm
Another vote for Lleyn.  Can't fault them except that in our experience they were a little too prone to having triplets and quads, and on our ground that's not really a good plan.  However even if they did have multiples they mostly did make a good job of them.

You won't get market-topping double-muscled backside lambs out of a Lleyn, but you'll produce perfectly acceptable, saleable lambs which will sell finished or in the store without much need of cake or cosseting.  And if you can put her to a Texel, she'll produce a better lamb still.

I'm not a fan of Suffolks for a lot of reasons, but the main one is that heavy lambs is not what the market wants to buy.  So you spend more money - and effort too - getting these chunky great dopey things finished, and then get less per head than you would for a smaller but well-finished Llleyn x Texel ;)
Woo hoo! I'm renting a field out winter grazing to a texel hobby breader, who has offered one of her Rams which she can't use anymore as a free service at tupping. She assures me he has a narrow head and his lambs are usually born without assistance (my big worry)... So you have reassured me and I'm going to go for it! Thanks
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 06, 2014, 09:29:19 pm
I just have to share with everyone, I'm very impressed with the 3 pages of posts on this, I feel like I'm really progressing in the forum world! Thanks for all your help, you've all been super useful! I'll let you know how I get on!  :fc: :excited: :sheep:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Porterlauren on August 07, 2014, 12:16:27 am
As said, older ewes may be less hassle, ones that have had a crop of lambs or two. But when buying older ewes, be careful. I would be wary of buying them from a sale etc. The only older ewes that leave this place, leave for a reason. So unless you've done your homework, and know what to look for, you can buy someone else's problems. However if you shop smart you can do well and get a bargain!

With regard to lambing ewe lambs, we tup on weight. So if the lamb has made a certain weight by tupping (in our case 60 kilo) then she gets tupped. It's all good practice, and every lamb sold from the ewe lambs is one you wouldn't have if you didn't tup them. But they can be a wee bit more hassle, so they are brought in close and lambed in paddocks around the house etc.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: SallyintNorth on August 07, 2014, 01:07:01 am
when buying older ewes, be careful. I would be wary of buying them from a sale etc. The only older ewes that leave this place, leave for a reason. So unless you've done your homework, and know what to look for, you can buy someone else's problems. However if you shop smart you can do well and get a bargain!

I don't know about Wales, but up here the higher fell and moorland farms sell draft ewes of their hill breed as a major crop.  Some sell very few ewe lambs and shearling gimmers, but sell a majority of their ewes at 2- or 3-crop.  The hill is a hard place, and these girls will go on and have a productive life on a less hard farm, whereas they'd probably only manage one more crop on the hill.

So do your homework, and aim to buy draft ewes from a farm which *produces* draft ewes ;)
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 07, 2014, 10:13:21 am
With our good relationship with our local farmer if he were to let me rent a field of two off him, they would either be very close to our house, or he may even let me lamb indoors so as long as they reached tupping weight (a good way of gauging it) and could look after lambs successfully, which you say they do, I would be close at hand for any difficulties, and I know if i wasn't there one of the farm hands would ring me to let me know if there was a problem, or even lamb her himself. I've got a really good support network round me :hug:
Not really near any hills (at all) i"m on the Rutland/Lincs border so flat flat flat mostly! Will see how I go and if I get the opportunity to have them close or even inside then I'd probably lamb the ewe lambs, looking at other people's advice/experience
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Porterlauren on August 07, 2014, 10:55:29 am
Sally - You are totally correct! We have bought similar draft ewes here. But as a low land farm. . . . if we are sending it to market at 2/3/4 years old . . . . . it's because we don't want it here. I.E it's got crap feet, crap mum etc.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 07, 2014, 11:00:48 am
That would be my worry, around me most of the farmers cull if the ewe isn't up to scratch but I guess for smaller flocks it's more appealing to at least try and get a bit of money from a cull ewe, I really want to start with a fresh flock and I worry that I'd be buying in problems if I bought older ewes, even though they may be cheaper and I could get more of them, I also wouldn't know how to see the signs of a healthier older ewe. Surely better to go to a flock running with the same system as I'm looking at using and spend perhaps more on fewer really good quality ewe lambs that are going to do my better in the long run, once I get past that tricky first lambing season?
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Ideation on August 07, 2014, 02:51:07 pm
Sounds like you have a few really good folk around you. Out of interest what ewes is the local farmer running? He may be a good person to speak to about aquiring a few ewe lambs or older ewes?

As said, as long as they are up to weight and you dont flush them (or at least not too much) you should be ok with lambing the ewe lambs. As you have said if you can do them indoors or close in if outside, that would help. One of the issues i've found, is that when they young uns have twins, they are so busy with the second, they forget the first or vice versa. . . . and that's often when foxy makes his move. Out of interest, any idea when you plan to lamb? We lamb out now so lamb around April / May. However, when we lambed inside mostly, we did so earlier, more like Feb.

Obviously if lambing out you try to get it done when the weather is better and you have more chance of lamb survival, with lambing inside, it's better to do so in the colder weather as it stops / slows down the risk / spread of disease.

If you do go and buy some older ewes, buy them off farm, see the flock, the rest of the stock and the system they are on. Take your farmer friend with you if possible, as practiced eyes will see things you may miss. But in general you are looking at "Teeth and Tits" as crude as that sounds, i.e sheep that can feed themselves and feed their young, so no mastitis etc. I also look at general condition, conformation and feet. I'd also be asking if they reared lambs this year, and if so how many, how did they do etc.

Ewe lambs are a nice clean slate and you get to grow them on with you and get used to your system and handling. As long as you watch them and pick a suitable tup to stick over them.

R.E culling - these days cull ewes and rams make pretty decent money, especially certain times of the year.

Mind you, I think we will be buying a batch of draft ewes this year off the hill. Been quoted 35 a ewe. . . . . can't really say no at that price. They will be tupped and lambed here, then they and their male offspring will go and the ewe lambs will stay I expect.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 07, 2014, 03:34:19 pm
He's currently running suffolk x mules, but about to switch to an EasyRam bred flock...it would have been 100% easier to get some lambs off him, but they're not really the sort I'm looking for, I like suffolks but they really are more 'muley' and although I know they are the most commercially viable flock but I can't be dealing with them!
Well, I know this sounds crazy, but I'd need to plan lambing around my school half-term after Christmas so probably around February, if I was lambing ewe lambs I'd definitely be bringing them in for Feb lambing, so I'd need to check with farmer friend if I could use his sheds, but I'm sure he could find space for half a dozen ewes, he's got three massive sheds so  :fc:
Definitely a good idea to ask my farmer friend to come along, hadn't thought of that, I've read up on what I'm looking for with good ewes but he may spot things that I might not due to lack of experience etc.
That sounds like a really good system to practice, reliable ewes, cheap, everything going for it, just not sure I'd really have access to that many draft ewes round here, never seem to see farmers taking old ewes to market
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 07, 2014, 03:58:36 pm
If you want to use his sheds - buy his ewes. Just because if I was him I would want 6 ewes from wherever with what ever bugs and nasties they may carry in my lambing sheds like I would want the fleas of 1000 camels in my underwear. Again.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 07, 2014, 04:03:55 pm
Farmer friend would soon become farmer crazed gunman were you to introduce enzootic abortion with your dirty half-dozen for example 
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 07, 2014, 04:11:45 pm
An interesting point, but he's already allowed another farmer friend to bring half (about 250 ewe) of his normally outdoor lambing flock into his sheds last Feb, before he lambed his own ewes, because the weather was so dismal, so I don't really see that he's that bothered about that, I guess it's personal choice and how worried you are about what you're bringing onto your farm
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 07, 2014, 04:30:06 pm
In that case - buy a bullet proof vest and don't worry about it!  :thumbsup: I wish I had some spare Lleyn to sell you but I need them this year!
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 07, 2014, 04:31:18 pm
No worries, I'll find some! Feel like it actually might end up being a bit of a journey though, don't seem to be many flocks around me!  :-\
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Ideation on August 07, 2014, 05:01:42 pm
R.E the draft ewes that we buy, and with thought to ME's point. When we buy them, they are quarantined on land away from any of our other stock, they never come into contact. They are tupped, set stocked and left until after lambing, when they are all gathered and sorted, the ewes go off, either with some lambs at foot, or a lone, the lambs are fattened and sold as stores or in the fat ring depending on grass. Although i'm tempted to keep some of the ewe lambs back if we do it again this year, for a wee breeding programme. I also wouldnt call them reliable, or good ewes. . . . but they live on air, cost nothing to keep, are hardy as hell, and to be honest at that price, a few losses or barren ewes isn't too much of a hardship.

I'd never, ever, put those ewes anywhere near my main flock, it's just not worth the risks!

If you get the sheep you want, they are good sheep and make you happy, it doesnt matter how far they are away?

I've bought some new additions this year, both lots were about a 5.5-6 hour round trip (in different directions). But i'm very happy I made the trips as it's given me some great new blood, and i'm escited about the future lol.

I personally wouldnt lamb anything outside in Feb, experiance ewes or not. Cold and wet will kill lambs pretty quick. On the upside for you, if you manage to lamb early, you will be able to hit the early (and good) market for lambs, if you chose to sell. However, if you are intending to lamb early there are two potential issues - firstly you would need to get your sheep and tup them in the next month, and also if you bought lambs from an outdoor flock then they would be real young (and probably too light) to tup for year lambing the following year. Does that make sense? So my ewe lambs that will be tupped, will be nine months at tupping (to lamb april) whereas if I decided to lamb in feb they would only be about 5 months at tupping.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Marches Farmer on August 07, 2014, 05:32:16 pm
We got our 20 Never Again Lleyn hoggets from a local (and renowned) breeder who doesn't show but regularly makes top prices at the Society sales.  She only registers those that meet show spec., hence we took our pick of the ones with spotty ears! 
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 07, 2014, 05:43:13 pm
Its the spotty eared ones see...
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hellybee on August 08, 2014, 08:24:50 am
Great Bit of reading guys n girls.  :wave:


The lacing on ears is a breed thing, perhaps the lady only likes the tiny dots and not the spots haha x
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hellybee on August 08, 2014, 08:33:13 am
Disasters with them...very rare.  In five year s (lambed four years, had one fallow season) of having the little beauts we ve had 2 CAesarean, 2 ringwomb, moderate multiple births, rarely trips, rare lameness, occasional daft mothering, try and get some that have lambed down, as they can be a. Bit awkward first time.
 We don't tup ewe lambs either, we let them grow on, a year.

Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 08, 2014, 10:44:26 am
With regards to how far away they are, it isn't going to be my car or trailer that is towing them, and I'm not going to be the one driving, so as far away as whoever is happy to drive was my point on that one
I probably won't lamb them outside, but I don't want to say I'm not going definitely as it isn't my shed that I'd be using! So it's whether our farmer friend says it's ok, which he probably will!
I'd already thought about the problems of lambing early and I figured if I was buying from a flock that was selling as system similar to my own, I'd hopefully be buying from a flock that lambs early also, so ewe lambs would be around right weight/age? Can see your point about getting them quickly and tupping them, could be somewhat rushed/not possible! But I could also be lambing around the same time as farmer friend and I thiiink, off the top of my head that's around March time? Easter holiday time anyway...
Guess lambing ewe lambs is really personal preference and breed. Lleyns were actually used as an example in the Eblex leaflet I read (very very informative and useful by the way) which was interesting to read experiences with the breed I'm looking at  :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: shep53 on August 08, 2014, 12:58:57 pm
Disasters with them...very rare.  In five year s (lambed four years, had one fallow season) of having the little beauts we ve had 2 CAesarean, 2 ringwomb, moderate multiple births, rarely trips, rare lameness, occasional daft mothering, try and get some that have lambed down, as they can be a. Bit awkward first time.
 We don't tup ewe lambs either, we let them grow on, a year.
  RE READ this to see if you were being tongue in cheek , sorry this really wouldn't sell the breed to me .   LLYENS are a marmite breed  love or hate , ive tried some crosses   still slightly wild   , only 25% made it to 4crop  but to be fair I think I need to buy a ram and try my own x's .        When you look at the breed their are 2 types  tall long bodied used as crossing rams on hill ewes and a more stocky type which is the ones you want ,   none of them look like the breed before it started to become rare   small and stocky .   ENJOY  :sheep:
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Hellybee on August 08, 2014, 06:44:07 pm
Yes, tongue in cheek is my default setting Shep ;)
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Old Shep on August 12, 2014, 08:16:35 pm
We tried 10 lleyn ewes this time, usually have just texel, suffolk and mules (and their crosses). Out of 10 ewes 2 will have to go through mastitis.  They are all mad as frogs, couldn't get near some of them to lamb, and their lambs were tiny.  That said they are growing really well and "the boss" really likes them.  The mules are far easier, just as prolific and milky.  I'd prefer sheep that would come to the bucket as at least you can get them inside.  The Lleyns never really came to the feed troughs much - too stand offish.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Big Benny Shep on August 13, 2014, 12:02:39 am
They are very good mother's tho! Will see what they lamb like to a terminal sire next year  ;D
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 13, 2014, 09:12:19 am
There is a lot of variation in Lleyn in size, type, temperament and performance. Where did you get your 10? 
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: georgielmgm on August 13, 2014, 01:08:10 pm
I've had a look around, and there is actually a breeder quite close to me but they haven't any stock to sell this year as they've had a baby themselves, so my mum met a chap 4 miles away that breeds a variety of crosses and says I'm welcome to come and have a look/choose and will give me a kind price for my first flock, so thinking get these and see how I get on for year 1, then go to this breeder of lleyns next year once I've got abit of a bigger budget if I'm not too keen on these crosses....might be that a flock of good quality crosses will do me just as well
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Old Shep on August 13, 2014, 01:25:13 pm
There is a lot of variation in Lleyn in size, type, temperament and performance. Where did you get your 10? 

from a Welshman in the Yorkshire Dales!  They were shearings this time, so may quieten down next year hopefully!

We used a Lleyn tup on all the shearings this year, which apart from these Lleyns, were Texels & Suffolks and their crosses.  This worked really well giving smaller lambs from the texels which is what we wanted for their first time for easier lambing.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Me on August 13, 2014, 02:16:03 pm
Never buy sheep off a Welshman. The only reason he would sell one is to get back at her after a row.






Unless that Welshman is Me... when you should only buy sheep off a Welshman.
Title: Re: Lleyns anyone?
Post by: Old Shep on August 13, 2014, 11:43:09 pm
 ;D ;D ;D