Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....  (Read 5212 times)

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« on: April 11, 2013, 06:35:18 pm »
I've just been offered use of a pedigree beltex ram lamb for this coming season.

For most of my ewes it'll be their second lambing but will have a few shearlings. The thought of a massive head worries me.
My question is how well would a shearling lamb to a beltex? Anyone got an experience? Do ram lambs produce smaller lambs than a mature ram?

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #1 on: April 11, 2013, 06:37:44 pm »
Depends on your ewes to som extent - what are they?
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2013, 06:47:51 pm »
Big suffolk mules and a Llyen cross texel

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2013, 06:49:30 pm »
Going on hearsay the problem with Texel/Beltex crosses is not so much the width of the skull but of the shoulders and the short neck, which can allow the head to slip back and the lamb to come feet first only.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2013, 07:17:44 pm »
Ahh I do remember someone saying something along those lines. Hmmmm still not sure

Azzdodd

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2013, 07:36:00 pm »
Beltex lambs are good lambs some of my ewes are beltex cross and they through good lambs but like said before the lambs get really big shoulders do your ewes normally lamb unaided? What ram do you usually use? Spoke to a farmer once who used to use texel and beltex for 10 years an swapped to charolias & Suffolk rams so the ewes lambs he kept were better mothers he said his lambing went so much easier were As before he had to help deliver 60% of lambs due to size he said this year about 10% needed help due to easy lambs

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2013, 08:03:19 pm »
My ewes are shearlings this year and they have lambed so far unaided, they were put to a Suffolk ram ( I was warned off Suffolk's as they have big heads etc.) So I never know who to believe. Look on any breed website and everyone says there breed is "easy lambing"

Azzdodd

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #7 on: April 11, 2013, 08:07:53 pm »
Yes this is true I use a welsh can't get much easier than that! Ha

VSS

  • Joined Jan 2009
  • Pen Llyn
    • Viable Self Sufficiency.co.uk
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2013, 08:32:26 pm »
I would think you would be ok with the suffoll mules (at least as ok as anything is with a beltex) but the lleyn texel crosses might be a bit more problematic. They'd be cracking lambs though.
The SHEEP Book for Smallholders
Available from the Good Life Press

www.viableselfsufficiency.co.uk

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2013, 11:53:36 pm »
I think the Beltex lambing issues are more pure Beltex than Beltex cross.

However...

I've lambed a lot of NC mules (Swaledale x BFL) to Beltex and Texel and found the mothers very roomy, so births needing assistance were easy to do.  Only problems were overfed single-bearers in good years - after which we fed single-bearing mules no cake at all unless it was a truly dreadful year (like this last one has been.)  Sticking point for lambs was shoulders.

Then moved here, where the ewes are Hexhamshire Blackface x BFL mules and Texel types; births needing assistance are harder to do in these less roomy ewes, and the increased %age of Texel genes makes the lambs more muscley so harder to get out.  Sticking point is less shoulders than rumps, although the shoulders are a considerably tighter fit than in the Swaley mules.  Here we don't generally try to pull a lamb out unless we have both its front legs; in the Swaley mules you could get them out if you had one front leg and the nose.

I've no experience of Suffolk mules so can't compare their roominess to a Swaley mule - but the Suffolk is a meat breed, unlike the Swale, so you can assume the lambs will be considerably more muscley than the Swaley mule x Beltex.

A local purebred Beltex breeder, after experimenting with a loaned tup lamb last year, bought a Shetland tup to use on his Beltex hoggs this time.  He said he'd get easily-lambed perfectly acceptable fat lambs that would come out running and get stuck into the milk bar whether the mother knew what to do or not.  No stress for the mother, live lambs to rear and sell, and the ewes would know their job when they're tupped to the Beltex next time.  Previously he was having some difficult lambings, lambs giving up on suckling before the young mothers had settled to let them at it - a lot of work and heartache, not a good crop of lambs, and some of the hoggs didn't rear a lamb so still didn't know what to do next time.
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

Big Benny Shep

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • Skipton
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2013, 03:29:53 pm »
Personally i wouldnt put a beltex tup to shearlings as we have had problems with them before, but shouldnt be too bad on experienced ewes if your fairly confident they lambed well last year.


they do make cracking lambs tho  ;D ;D  i love them  ;D ;D
BIG Ben
We have 80(ish) texels and texel x suffolks, 10 lleyns, 21NE Mules, 2 Dexters with calves, Monty the labrador, Dottie, Bracken and Poppy the collies and 30 assorted hens.

Hillview Farm

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Surrey
  • Proud owner of sheep and Llamas!
Re: I know its abit soon but thinking about ram selection....
« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2013, 10:32:09 am »
Thank you everyone for your comments. All very interesting!

 

Ok so abit of an odd question here....

Started by Hillview Farm (10.34)

Replies: 2
Views: 1342
Last post February 26, 2013, 05:40:35 pm
by Hillview Farm
Ram selection for twins

Started by DartmoorLiz (8.32)

Replies: 15
Views: 4356
Last post February 26, 2013, 06:10:40 pm
by DartmoorLiz
Ram: breed selection

Started by Nicki_W (8.32)

Replies: 3
Views: 1405
Last post July 24, 2014, 10:18:35 pm
by lou13
Random selection from Animal Health

Started by ZaktheLad (8.14)

Replies: 6
Views: 2320
Last post May 28, 2014, 10:43:46 am
by Bramblecot
Help !! thinking of getting lambs

Started by sh1972 (6.29)

Replies: 2
Views: 1697
Last post February 14, 2011, 08:37:56 am
by sh1972

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2022. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS