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Author Topic: whats a good cross to a shetland x southdown ewe for first time lambing...  (Read 4605 times)


  • Joined Oct 2012
other than a shetland ram what other breeds or crosses are likely to be small enough for our first time shetland x southdown ewe lambs to be put to this autumn..looking for lambs that will taste good.

Marches Farmer

  • Joined Dec 2012
  • Herefordshire
We put our Southdown ram to the Badger Face ewes every other year, to produce a commercial type lamb.  Once, years ago, one needed help when she had an enormous single (don't know why) but we normally pen them if we notice them starting to lamb down then leave them to get on with it.  The lambs are very vigorous and normally suckling within 10 minutes.  The Southdown doesn't have the wide shoulders and short neck of some Continental breeds and I think this helps with first-timers.  The meat tastes superb - we generally also take a couple of lambs through to the following year and take them into the abattoir as hogget lamb.


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Would've thought other primitive types such as Hebridean, Icelandic, Gotland-similar sizes or not much bigger and making sure proportions are fine and head/shoulders not too chunky.


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Well I have put 3/4 shetland x 1/4texel to a texel to last year as gimmers and had not too much trouble... If you don't need to produce commercial lambs and are more interested in meat that tastes good at 18 months or older, any primitive tup (for example a good commercial Shetland) would do, is relatively cheap to buy or borrow and you can eat him once he has done his job and before the lambs/hoggs areready (if you own him). I wouldn't use a (primitive) tup lamb though...


  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
It's always a good idea to give them an easy job for their first crop, so Shetland would be a great choice, with a more commercial tup for subsequent crops.  However, if you are wanting something more commercial for their first time, then, assuming that your shouthdown x shetlands are bigger than pure shetlands, what about Charollais? 

For a very commercial lamb that's easy lambing, we have found our Charollais to be excellent.  Slippery, easily-birthed very active lambs that grow really well and have super conformation.  The only downside we find is that the fleece is so very close and short, the lambs can be a bit bare and suffer in cold wet weather - so if the weather isn't great at lambing it may be best to bring lambers under cover to lamb, and then put plastic jackets on the lambs when you turn them out.

A full grown Charollais tup is a big boy, though, so if your girls are not large it may be best to use a tup lamb.

Oh - and when the time comes, the fleece of a Charollais x (Southdown x Shetland) could be awesome - there'll be spinners on here very interested to have a try, I'm sure!   ;) :D :knit: :knit: :spin:
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


  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
The problem with a commercial tup of any breed is probably the price, if have less than 10 ewes to cover and aren't reallly trying to sell the lambs at top prices... so a primitive may be just easier to buy or borrow. Other solution would be to send the ewes away to a nearby farm (if they will have them), but I have found if commercial farmers are in one of the health-monitoring schemes it is quite difficult to get them to take boarders. Most Shetland breeders will not be MV or similar accredited so much easier and cheaper to get a tup from.


  • Joined Feb 2008
  • Near Bodmin, Cornwall
    • Val Grainger
Would've thought other primitive types such as Hebridean, Icelandic, Gotland-similar sizes or not much bigger and making sure proportions are fine and head/shoulders not too chunky.

Urm how big are your Gotlands???? I have has them and they are a large sheep......I know they are part of the northern short tailed group of sheep but I would never describe them as a primitive  :o :o They are the size of a Wensleydale....well mine were and they were very good ones....
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  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
In answer to your question WV, my Gotlands are in general a medium size but very fine boned with slender heads.


  • Joined Mar 2012
I put the Charolais tup to my Hebridean gimmers last year and got good results lambs ave 35kg when sold in August , they all took the longer fleece from heb's aswell had good confirmation wish I had kept ewe lambs but my tip was only a shearling and have kept hold of him , also no assists at lambing which included twins and big singles and they are polled too!!


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