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Author Topic: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?  (Read 4715 times)

blades

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« on: October 06, 2011, 07:46:56 pm »
I have been offered 4 herdwick sheep, this years grown on lambs (girls) just looking for opinions on how they are as a beginners sheep? Based in Scotland so the hardiness appeals.

I love the grey colour of them.

Any advice would be very welcome

Thanks in advance

Beekeeping

andywalt

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • kent
  • observe react administer enjoy !!
    • photos
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 08:35:47 pm »
Known as the hardest sheep in the land !! easy lambing, never more than twins, they thrive on poor quality scrubland....

Ive just brought 7 ewe lambs and a ram myself and I am researching too, very friendy too, you wont go wrong with them, but they do take longer to mature so there not great if you want to sell the lambs for meat in 4 months, they take a couple of years as ive heard , unless you want to put a terminal sire on them and not keep them pure...depends what you want to do with them?
Suffolk x romneys and Texel X with Romney Tup, Shetlands and Southdown Tup

landroverroy

  • Joined Oct 2010
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 11:29:55 pm »
 Yes they do take longer to fatten, but will be easily ready to slaughter in less than a year if you keep them on good grass. The main reason they are often not slaughtered till into their second year is because they are kept on poor pasture.
 You do need good fencing as, unlike the traditional lowland breeds, they are more used to roaming over a large area and they will wander if they can.
 However, the meat is by far the best you will ever taste.
Rules are made:
  for the guidance of wise men
  and the obedience of fools.

blades

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 06:05:10 am »
Known as the hardest sheep in the land !! easy lambing, never more than twins, they thrive on poor quality scrubland....

Ive just brought 7 ewe lambs and a ram myself and I am researching too, very friendy too, you wont go wrong with them, but they do take longer to mature so there not great if you want to sell the lambs for meat in 4 months, they take a couple of years as ive heard , unless you want to put a terminal sire on them and not keep them pure...depends what you want to do with them?

Thanks for the info. To be honest I will be keeping them predominantly to keep the paddocks short. That said I really love the look of them and would like to (once more experienced) perhaps breed them and improve a small flock. I enjoy a roast lamb dinner so perhaps the occasional lamb would be for the freezer??
I do have good stock fencing so hopefully this will stop them escaping? My main concern is that they are hardy… I do have field shelters in each paddock so they would be able to use these. But I like the idea of them being pretty much OK in all weathers.
Do you find yours to be friendly?
Beekeeping

blades

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 06:07:16 am »
Yes they do take longer to fatten, but will be easily ready to slaughter in less than a year if you keep them on good grass. The main reason they are often not slaughtered till into their second year is because they are kept on poor pasture.
 You do need good fencing as, unlike the traditional lowland breeds, they are more used to roaming over a large area and they will wander if they can.
 However, the meat is by far the best you will ever taste.

Thanks... I have been told the flavour of the meat is exceptional  :yum: rearing and then slaughtering for the freezer would be something I will have to try and see how I feel.... not sure I will have the heart?
Beekeeping

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 07:44:34 am »
You will do more good for the preservation of the breed if you can bring yourself to breed them and eat them, but of course, it's all down to personal choice. :)

blades

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2011, 09:13:08 am »
You will do more good for the preservation of the breed if you can bring yourself to breed them and eat them, but of course, it's all down to personal choice. :)

Trust me.... I will try.... I don't think you can beat roast lamb. I worked in Shetland for several years and some friends paid me in lamb for some work that I did for them.... at the time I wasn't really a big lamb fan but my god when I tried that shetland lamb (i think they eat the heather so taste different) I was truely hooked  :yum: and have loved it ever since!!
Beekeeping

andywalt

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • kent
  • observe react administer enjoy !!
    • photos
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2011, 10:18:46 am »
If you give them a little feed now and then, they will soon be running up to you, I find them to be very bold and friendly, and yes your fencing is important as I have found out my ewe lambs found an area of fencing where there was a six to eight inch gap under it and the little blighters wriggled under it !!
Suffolk x romneys and Texel X with Romney Tup, Shetlands and Southdown Tup

Herdygirl

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2011, 07:53:51 am »
I agree with Andywalt about little gaps  :-[ if there is a gap they will find it, i also found that they can (and do) climb up and over stone walls!

but the sheer pleasure of having them far outweighs their now and again hide and seek games ;D.

i bought 9 this time last year and when i do my pick up of 10 today i will have 29 (plus this years lambs)

you won't regret them and you will be helping the breed as 10 years ago (before foot and mouth) there were approx 250,000 on the Cumbrian fells ......now there is approx 50,000

blades

  • Joined Jun 2011
  • Banchory
Re: Herdwicks... Are they ok for a beginner?
« Reply #9 on: October 09, 2011, 04:50:12 am »
Thanks everyone... I'll post some pics once I get them  :farmer:
Beekeeping

 

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