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Thread: SHEEP: What are you breeding?

  1. #1
    Senior Member MerryKerry's Avatar
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    SHEEP: What are you breeding?

    As I'm brewing up for a Nuffield scholarship I've been reading a lot of previous reports and I read one which sung the praises of composite flocks and bemoaned the lack of them in the UK. Personally I think it's the selection philosophy rather than breed vs composite which will make the flock and there's no reasn you cant apply the same things to a breed if there's a big enough gene pool and it suits your needs without needing anything added. But, I find myself creating a composite regardless! Not one I have a view to marketing to other people, just one that truly fits MY needs. Frankly, I just can't ignore how well the shetland X kerry hills are performing, just easily and quietly producing lambs in the top % of the flock. Over the last few years they've been so successful at producing good females that the majority of the homebred ewe lambs are showing distinct shetland characteristics and are plainly not kerry hills anymore and I'm just rolling with it.

    There's just one thing that bothers me about them...they're naughty. They're great to clip and fine with daily pasture moves when they know the routine, but when we have to change the daily routine and move them elsewhere or get into a trailer etc. they are slowing things down because they will always try it on and break from the flock. We had a devil of a job the other day moving them because they just werent having it and even when the full kerrys had gone onto the new spot, the shetland %'ers broke back and did their own thing and then AGAIN half of them went and the rest broke back, so the flock moved in three separate bunches.

    For breeding much larger numbers in future the thought of pure shetlands, which are surely even worse, does give me the horrors a bit and I'd like to try and claw my way back to docility (not that pure kerrys are exactly docile!) by blending in a third breed without sacrificing my grass genetics and vigour. I was considering NZ suffolk so any experiences with them to share would be interesting. Also interested to know current opinions on composites and if you're breeding either a known one, or your own. What are you doing and why?

  2. #2
    Senior Member skoda's Avatar
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    Re: SHEEP: What are you breeding?


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    Some February born lambs out of a NZ Suffolk , the first is out of a Suffolk X Lleyn ewe and the second (centre shot) out of a Lleyn ewe (not in picture). If you give me a bit of time I will get more photos and give more detailed account .
    Insanity is doing the same thing, over and over again, but expecting different results.

  3. #3
    Senior Member MerryKerry's Avatar
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    Re: SHEEP: What are you breeding?

    Thanks!

    I saw a paper the other day which found very little difference between UK trad, UK high index and NZ suffolks on welsh mules. The NZ survived better and more lambs went off to slaughter, but the lambs were markedly worse in conformation grades. Still trying ot work out exactly how important conformation is to me so long as I get decent cuts and make my weight at the end of the day. One thing that struck me though is that the test was basically testing them as a terminal sire, whereas correct me if i'm wrong but in NZ they'd be more on the maternal side of things, a jack of all trades. Which is a bit more up my street. So I suppose from my POV the test showed that the NZ suffolk can hold it's own against UK as a terminal provided you can handle a little slip down the EUROP grid, but it has added maternal benefits if you plan on keeping some females.

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    Re: SHEEP: What are you breeding?

    Quote Originally Posted by MerryKerry View Post
    Thanks!

    I saw a paper the other day which found very little difference between UK trad, UK high index and NZ suffolks on welsh mules. The NZ survived better and more lambs went off to slaughter, but the lambs were markedly worse in conformation grades. Still trying ot work out exactly how important conformation is to me so long as I get decent cuts and make my weight at the end of the day. One thing that struck me though is that the test was basically testing them as a terminal sire, whereas correct me if i'm wrong but in NZ they'd be more on the maternal side of things, a jack of all trades. Which is a bit more up my street. So I suppose from my POV the test showed that the NZ suffolk can hold it's own against UK as a terminal provided you can handle a little slip down the EUROP grid, but it has added maternal benefits if you plan on keeping some females.
    NZ Suffolks should be capable of being born without any winching ( technical term for assisted birth).....should lead to higher survival rates.

  5. #5
    Senior Member MerryKerry's Avatar
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    Re: SHEEP: What are you breeding?

    I'm having a good look at Charmoises too....

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