Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Which Sheep Breed?  (Read 656 times)

Hollybaa

  • Joined Jan 2021
Which Sheep Breed?
« on: March 21, 2021, 08:09:32 am »
Hello, we are looking to get a few Ewes but struggling to decide on a breed, any help/input much appreciated! (Based in North Yorkshire).

We would just be looking to get three ewes, to put into lamb each year to keep the lambs for the freezer. We are thinking about a rare breed (we have a holiday accommodation business right by, so it would be great to have an  unusual looking breed!) We have had standard breeds before so used to looking after, but looking to branch out now! Any ideas on anything that is interesting looking, tastes good and isn't hugely high maintenance i'd love to hear from you!

Thanks in advance!

shep53

  • Joined Jan 2011
  • Dumfries & Galloway
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2021, 06:03:14 pm »
Jacob fits the bill

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
  • Leicester
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2021, 06:12:16 pm »
Hello, we are looking to get a few Ewes but struggling to decide on a breed, any help/input much appreciated! (Based in North Yorkshire).

We would just be looking to get three ewes, to put into lamb each year to keep the lambs for the freezer. We are thinking about a rare breed (we have a holiday accommodation business right by, so it would be great to have an  unusual looking breed!) We have had standard breeds before so used to looking after, but looking to branch out now! Any ideas on anything that is interesting looking, tastes good and isn't hugely high maintenance i'd love to hear from you!

Thanks in advance!
If you want just 3 ewes, why don't you get 3 different ones from your favourite looking breeds?
If you don't like one or more you csn always swap them later on for the ofspring of the one you do.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, rabbits on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2021, 06:54:52 pm »
I'm with shep53 - Jacobs, preferably the multihorned type.  Many people recognise Jacobs, they are stunning, easy lambers if you choose your stock carefully and the lambs are sooo beautiful to watch gambolling around.  I do miss mine, we kept them for years. From the meat point of view, Jacob meat is in there with the rare breeds for taste, but they are a bit bigger than most primitives, taller so the gigot tends to be longer than something like a Texel. Jacobs are usually ready to go for slaughter before Christmas of their first year, whereas many rare breeds need to wait until 16 months.  Jacobs are not actually rare breeds though, although they are often included in that category.


Of course multihorned Hebrideans are also striking and can be just as friendly as Jacobs if well socialised, but their meat joints are a bit smaller. It's also easier for visitors to identify different sheep with Jacobs, so they can call them by name  :hugsheep:
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2021, 08:54:01 pm »
On all points bar one, I too would suggest Jacobs.  But they aren't a rare breed - and in fact aren't native to the UK either.

If you could be bothered with the amount of wool and the work it entails, Teeswaters are striking-looking sheep from the NE of England.    Or there are Wensleydales with their blue faces, or you could get the black Wensleydales which are super-cute.  Both these breeds are good size animals, so you'd have plenty of meat.

For visually appealing rare breed sheep which would be less work, options would include North Ronaldsay - small but very cute, and come in lots of different colours. They are famously the sheep which live on seaweed on their home islands.  Kerry Hill have striking facial markings not dissimilar to the Teeswater, but they aren't longwools so their wool doesn't need any particular care.  Border Leicester are longwools but their fleeces aren't as long and curly as Teeswater or Wensleydale, and their bunny rabbit ears are always popular.  The Lonk is another decent-sized rare breed from your local area, I think they are beautiful to look at.

Have a look at the RBST Watchlist for more info and other ideas.

If using the fleeces and / or sheepskins is of interest, then all of the breeds I've mentioned have fleece of interest to spinners, with the exception (in my experience) of the Kerry Hill.  North Ronaldsay is double-coated and not the softest, but the colours make it interesting. 

Castlemilk Moorits are very elegant little sheep, look like a cross between a deer and a sheep.  The meat is dark and lean, with a very distinctive taste - many people who don't like lamb to eat do like Castlemilk Moorit. The fleece is short and a challenge to spin, but very very fine and should be soft - select your ewes with care if you want to use the fleece.  Like the North Ronaldsay, these are a small primitive type, slower-growing, and the lambs usually benefit from going into a second spring.

I could write something positive about most of the rare breeds (sheep / fleece nerd?  me?! :o) but I will stop after just a few more mentions.

Norfolk Horns are the precursor of the Suffolk, one of the traditional meat breeds.  Attractive sheep - a bit like Aardman Animations' Shaun the Sheep, but with the addition of attractive horns.  One of the most enjoyable fleeces to spin, and their lambs are born blotchy spotty grey/black and are super cute.  If your ground isn't too rushy / muddy, they could be a lovely choice.

Portlands are medium-sized sheep with tan faces, attractive horns, nice fleece, good meat.  They tend to have single lambs, which are born fox red and are again, super cute.

Llanwenog are medium-sized, would do well in that locale (I have friends who keep them in north Cumbria), lovely fleece for spinners, cute looking fluffy sheep with darker faces.

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

Bramham Wiltshire Horns

  • Joined Oct 2014
  • leeds
  • Bramham flock Wiltshire Horns
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2021, 01:45:35 pm »
Hello, we are looking to get a few Ewes but struggling to decide on a breed, any help/input much appreciated! (Based in North Yorkshire).

We would just be looking to get three ewes, to put into lamb each year to keep the lambs for the freezer. We are thinking about a rare breed (we have a holiday accommodation business right by, so it would be great to have an  unusual looking breed!) We have had standard breeds before so used to looking after, but looking to branch out now! Any ideas on anything that is interesting looking, tastes good and isn't hugely high maintenance i'd love to hear from you!

Thanks in advance!

hi 

i have Wiltshire Horns as the name suggests and Based in Bramham but the sheep are in Clifford, south of Wetherby

i am happy for you to come and see them Anytime, in fact we are due to start Lambing next monday.

my FB page is linked to the message happy for you to have a look on there:-)

PM me if you would like to come along

Ryan



follow on FB@BramhamWiltshireHorns

Hollybaa

  • Joined Jan 2021
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2021, 07:37:17 pm »
Hi Everyone,

Just wanted to say thank you so much for all of your comments and advice - hugely kind of you and very much appreciated! Lots to think about will let you know how we get on!!!

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2021, 10:47:16 pm »
You have no idea how much we enjoy helping new people choose our their breed...  :innocent:

Seriously, it is always fun (for me, at any rate) to think about all the different breeds and types and how they would suit this new person's situation.

In all my breed nerdity, I forgot to give my usual stock-choosing advice.  Above all, choose sheep you like the look of.  You will be going out every single day, in all weathers, to look after them, so it helps a lot if you like to look at them when you get there! 
« Last Edit: March 22, 2021, 10:50:41 pm by SallyintNorth »
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

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2021, 06:35:26 am »
Firstly if have just 3 and eating offspring then they dont really need to be a breed ....  crossbreds would be fine.

I have Llanwenogs .... they are rare breeds which which look like Shaun the sheep.....  easy to handle, easy lambers. cross to most things .. so any ram will be fine. (you will need to hire a ram so somthing to think about) . 

As is always said on these threads .... choose a breed you love the look of and buy from a smallholder who has them bucket trained. .... I will add buy older experienced ewes not ewe lambs.

Linda

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Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2021, 09:04:03 am »
We keep a few Soays and Wiltshire Horns. All are silly tame (yes even the Soays) and both breeds are shedders so no shearing required. We love them to bits  :)

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2021, 02:02:44 pm »
both breeds are shedders so no shearing required.

Which is useful - unless you are a handspinner, felter, peg-loomer, etc ;)
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

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2021, 02:03:30 pm »
We keep a few Soays and Wiltshire Horns. All are silly tame (yes even the Soays)

Pretty much any breed will be silly tame if reared that way.

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

Red

  • Joined Mar 2011
  • North Yorkshire
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2021, 10:00:49 pm »
Hebridean's ever time ! They are just fab & everyone I sell them to just fall in love with
Red

Cornish man

  • Joined Mar 2021
Re: Which Sheep Breed?
« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2021, 10:30:09 pm »
The Lleyn hardy, good motherís, lambs get up and go ,donít carry health issues, worm resistant,not fence jumpers, good tight fleece and shape, fatten well and most importantly havenít been ruined by the show lot or arenít these pretty and they are good to eat!
We have 200 pure and 3/4 bred all home bred good honest sheep in our flock of 450.
Do a bit of homework donít buy old or broken mouthed ewes, look at the mouths, teeth, bag and feet get if you can 2 or 3 shear ewes who havenít messed up if it not theaves.
Donít buy rubbish get someone you can trust to go with you and some smallholders rip people off just like some farmers so take someone experienced with you and donít be frightened to walk away if their not right.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2021, 10:45:21 pm by Cornish man »

 

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