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Author Topic: What breed tup to use with Texel shearlings to get smaller lambs or twins?  (Read 11080 times)

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Last year we had a problem with big lambs from Texel shearlings causing all sorts of birthing problems.  So this year the shearlings have been on a much reduced diet and put to a Suffolk/Texel X tup who got reasonably sized lambs last year with the ewes.  So far 2 of the 6 shearlings have lambed big singles again and one was so huge it needed a C section. Not looking forward to the others lambing  :-(


So looking ahead to next year when we will have 10 texel and texel suffolk crosses as shearlings, and 10 Lleyns.  Presuming the Lleyns will be ok with a texel tup as easy lambing is one of the reasons we got them.  But we are wondering whether to look at an alternative tup to buy in to put to the Texel shearlings that would get small lambs or twins rather than singles. For their second crop then we would go back to using the usual tups.  What do you recommend?  Nothing fancy and expensive obviously for only 10 sheep!
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Something smallish - southdown maybe?


Something 'pointy' - charollais?

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
What sort of condition were they in?  Big lambs are frequently the result of feeding rather than breeding.

colliewoman

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Pilton
  • Caution! May spontaneously talk rabbits!
Shetland every time for me :thumbsup:
We'll turn the dust to soil,
Turn the rust of hate back into passion.
It's not water into wine
But it's here, and it's happening.
Massive,
but passive.


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Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
What sort of condition were they in?  Big lambs are frequently the result of feeding rather than breeding.

That's my understanding too. Do you have them scanned? If so, you can split of the singles and just give them hay and a lick.

Charolais seem to be easy lambing but they aren't very hardy as they don't have much wool when born.

Gunnermark

  • Joined Sep 2011
Depending on where you are Charolais, would be a good bet!

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
What sort of condition were they in?  Big lambs are frequently the result of feeding rather than breeding.


I agree, but from what I hear of most flocks of pure Texels - a lot of lambs need pulling/ceasaring.

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
They were on grass with a bit of hay on frosty/snowy mornings until 2 weeks before lambing and then 2-300gms of ewe nuts - so not overfed this time I would have thought?  From second crop onwards they seem to be fine its just the first lambing.
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

Pomme homme

  • Joined Feb 2013
Ah, what you need is a Roger the Ram! He serves our old Texel ewes and this year's lambs are splendid. Furthermore we had no problems lambing. The old girls did it out in the paddock, with no need of assistance from us, and we brought them in by picking up their lambs and the ewes just followed. Roger's a bit of a Heinz 57 and is a little smaller than the Texels. But it's results that count!

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Ah, what you need is a Roger the Ram! He serves our old Texel ewes and this year's lambs are splendid. Furthermore we had no problems lambing. The old girls did it out in the paddock, with no need of assistance from us, and we brought them in by picking up their lambs and the ewes just followed. Roger's a bit of a Heinz 57 and is a little smaller than the Texels. But it's results that count!


 ;D  does he have a brother??   ;D
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
You could use a Lleyn - a lot of strains of Lleyn look like they have some Texel in them somewhere.

trefnantbach

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • Anglesey
I think I've got the answer! we had a similar problem i.e. large lambs that all had to be pulled. this is our third year at lambing and this year so far we haven't had to pull a single one and have'nt lost any nither. We started with 6 lowland commercial ewes with three ewe lambs they had a mix of texel, charollais and lleyn in them and for the first two years we borrowed tups including a texel, charollais and suffolk for free from the farmer we bought the ewes from. 90% had to be pulled and there were several dead on delivery. We were understocked and thus had loads of grass over the wintern in the first two years  and we cautiously over fed them with concentrate in our ignorance so the singletons in particular were massive. We have kept ewe lambs every year and are now up to 21 ewes and grass is very scarce but the lambs, nearly all twins  come out themselves. The key bit is the tup we now use - a soay! We were "donated" two soay ewes by a neighbour and when crossed with a texel or charollais tup, we were so impressed by the lambs and the milkyness and mothering qualities of the soays, we bought a pedigree registered soay ram lamb for 50. Last autumn we put him to the whole flock  and hey presto the results are now to be seen - all twins, all self-delivered outside and tough as nails in this horrible weather. Although initially small and will not make the 40kg, they'll be a reasonable size by next autumn. For us the benefits of easy lambing far outweighs the final size. We've also kept some of the soay cross ewe lambs and crossed them back to a soay tup to get a three quarters soay lamb. They look and taste like a soay but are bigger meatier and mature faster - the best of both worlds - perhaps I should breed these pure and market them as a new easycare breed! sorry that's already been done once here on Anglesey!!

Dougal

  • Joined Jul 2011
  • Port O' Menteith, Stirlingshire
Lleyn or Char is what you maybe needing. Or a Blue faced Leicster. All are narrower of the shoulders. Strangely Beltex lambs are very small shouldered at birth ausully pose almost no lambing troubles but they can put a serious drain on young ewes due to their high milk demands once the are on the ground. Be tougher on you ewes through the winter and try to get the fat score bang on at tupping to increase multiples. Texels are famous for low lambing percentages. The tup has nothing to do with the numbers of lambs in the ewe sadly, only nutritional control will help there. 
A really nice cross for breeding ewe lmbs would be a zwartable ram. Cheap to buy, easy lambing. The cross ewes are the best cross I've worked with but they do all come out black! On my own texels I use a NC Cheviot ram. I'm hard on the ewes in the run up to lambing but I admit I do get some problems at lambing. I sponge my ewes which makes being there at lambing much more time efficient due to them all lambing over 5 days. If sponging is some thing that you don't know about or want to know more about, if you think that would help you the message me or ask your vet.
It is a personal thing and no offence is meant but if I am keeping nice texel ewes that will produce 42kg lambs at E grade carcass a 15-17 week old why would I use a primitive breed ram that will never make 40kg as a lamb, only be an R or O grade carcass an take months to finish when there are viable and readily available commercial options to try first that will still provided readily marketable product  which will still help solve the problem of stiff lambing???? If primitives are what you want surely the more economic option would be to keep the smaller easier managed primitive ewes and use a commercial ram on them?
It's always worse for someone else, so get your moaning done before they start using up all the available symathy!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Number of lambs is down to the ewe more than the tup.  Don't flush them to try to get singles, or flush hard to try to get twins.  IMO, first-timers are best with just one, really.  And do need caked or there won't be enough milk - so a small and/or narrow and/or slippery lamb is what you need.

One of the top pedigree Beltex breeders near us has just bought a Shetland tup to use on his first-timers.

Otherwise, we have found Charollais to give easy lambing, and active lambs that want to suckle.
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

Old Shep

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Thanks - some good ideas there!  I need "BigBennyShep" to have a read and see what he thinks (he's the boss :-) )


If we used a Lleyn tup would the lambs be smaller than ? 


We have couple of charryX ewes and they're mental, so the thought of a Charry tup is a bit daunting!  BFL's seem to have a death wish.   A Shet or Soay could be a possibility.


[size=78%]It is a personal thing and no offence is meant but if I am keeping nice texel ewes that will produce 42kg lambs at E grade carcass a 15-17 week old why would I use a primitive breed ram that will never make 40kg as a lamb, only be an R or O grade carcass an take months to finish when there are viable and readily available commercial options to try first that will still provided readily marketable product  which will still help solve the problem of stiff lambing?[/size] ??? [size=78%] If primitives are what you want surely the more economic option would be to keep the smaller easier managed primitive ewes and use a commercial ram on them?[/size]


It's only for their first lambing, then they will go to the Texel tup after that.  We realise that there would be an economic hit - but then maybe not if the % of live lambs is better and no C sections!
Helen - (used to be just Shep).  Gordon Setters, Border Collies and chief lambing assistant to BigBennyShep.

 

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