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Thread: Blue Faced Leicester

  1. #121
    Daleslad
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate View Post
    I actually like Neil, but for different reasons prefer a closed flock. So I'm intersted in alternatives like Llyens, Highlanders, Hartlines, NZ Romney, NCC etc

    But for very good reasons the stratified system works & so BFL & perhaps the Innovis strains are here to stay.

    So perhaps rather than knocking Mules the discussion should be how can they be improved.

    My suggestion is try to lower the % a bit, like Shep says they produce far more lambs than they can rear & too many die or prolapse prior to lambing because of this.
    I think I like Neil too! Though I haven't met him!

    People talk about 'negative flushing' for some breeds - surely you can do that with mules? Keep them tighter through tupping, at lower BCS.

    I think teeth and feet are what I'd like to see improved. Too many a bit long in the tooth and gappy a year or two too soon.
    As for feet, they can be a bit prone to footrot off certain farms. But that can be said of any breed I'm sure.

  2. #122
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Daleslad View Post
    I fully take your first point, just wondered if you had fallen into the trap some do of not liking thin ewes at spaning when they've no way of knowing that the thin ewes have raised two, and the fat one starved a single to death three weeks ago!
    First thing I did when I left school, was start putting tags into the barren ewes that were 'given another chance'. Surprising how many were the 'best' ewes, year after year.

    I look for a ewe these days, that can rear two well AND keep themselves in good order, off grass. Of course, those genetics will get very fat if only rearing one so I'm trying keeping singles separately (& tight) right through this year.

  3. #123
    JamesC
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    First thing I did when I left school, was start putting tags into the barren ewes that were 'given another chance'. Surprising how many were the 'best' ewes, year after year.

    I look for a ewe these days, that can rear two well AND keep themselves in good order, off grass. Of course, those genetics will get very fat if only rearing one so I'm trying keeping singles separately (& tight) right through this year.
    But that is shepherding Neil, not the fault of any breed, and brings us as Daleslad and I say back to the point about idle ewes, oh shit I've taken the bait again when I told myself to get mi coat ages ago !

  4. #124
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Prolificy surely can be addressed by negative flushing. Certainly the years mine have been tight for grazing have seen much lower %ages.

    Longevity, as mentioned before is a fairly high priority to be addressed. Shep mentions prolapses, though I haven't found these too bad generally.

    Just as a different tack, why could the mule not be stabilised as a breed like so many others have been? It wouldn't go down well with the hill boys, but you could then have the advantage of building on its good points (yes it does have some Neil) and breeding out the bad?

  5. #125
    Daleslad
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    Prolificy surely can be addressed by negative flushing. Certainly the years mine have been tight for grazing have seen much lower %ages.

    Longevity, as mentioned before is a fairly high priority to be addressed. Shep mentions prolapses, though I haven't found these too bad generally.

    Just as a different tack, why could the mule not be stabilised as a breed like so many others have been? It wouldn't go down well with the hill boys, but you could then have the advantage of building on its good points (yes it does have some Neil) and breeding out the bad?
    If you stabilised mules, and kept a pure, self replacing flock of them, then half the lamb crop off your lowland farm would be mule wethers. Not maximising resources surely.

  6. #126
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Daleslad View Post
    If you stabilised mules, and kept a pure, self replacing flock of them, then half the lamb crop off your lowland farm would be mule wethers. Not maximising resources surely.
    Well the poorest half would go to terminal sire for starters. And if you were serious about the breeding, you could breed some more shape into them.
    Just a thought.

  7. #127
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Surely the mule only exists because of the UK's stratified system? Why would you choose to try and stabilise it, when there are so many alternatives available?

    The BFL was deemed an ideal match to the hardy, good maternal lines that have thrived in the hills for many decades. The biggest problem, IMHO, is that selection is based almost entirely on the 'bonniness' of the head, rather than anything that actually has anything to do with productive traits.

  8. #128
    Daleslad
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    Well the poorest half would go to terminal sire for starters. And if you were serious about the breeding, you could breed some more shape into them.
    Just a thought.
    Wouldn't you be tempted to keep some nice Texel x gimmers out of that 'poorest half'?! That would leapfrog you a long way in breeding shape into them

  9. #129
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    Prolificy surely can be addressed by negative flushing. Certainly the years mine have been tight for grazing have seen much lower %ages.

    Longevity, as mentioned before is a fairly high priority to be addressed. Shep mentions prolapses, though I haven't found these too bad generally.

    Just as a different tack, why could the mule not be stabilised as a breed like so many others have been? It wouldn't go down well with the hill boys, but you could then have the advantage of building on its good points (yes it does have some Neil) and breeding out the bad?
    The coopworth in NZ is similar so it is possible.

    But I think the whole point of Mules is the hybrid vigour of two breeds one of which is line bred to increase this hybid vigour.

  10. #130
    sheepwreck
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Jem View Post
    We joined the recording scheme 4 years ago. This went against our better judgement, considering the results of the “Longwool Project”. The Longwool Project produced no significant results despite the sheer scale of the exercise. As far as I can remember the main finding of the final report was that the longevity of the female was the most significant factor in the profitability of a mule flock. The fact is, any sheep farmer could have told you a hundred years ago that the longevity of your breeding females played a significant part in the profitability of any flock of any breed. This was a damming indictment, considering that the whole exercise hoped to show that mule sheep produced by high index rams would outperform those mules that had been bred by lower index rams.

    However, always being aware of the need to keep up with the fast moving and evolving sheep industry we decided to give the scheme a chance and took part in recording for nearly 3 years- as did several other BFL breeders at the same time. We stopped recording our BFLs this year (as did the other Scottish breeders that started at the same time) but we are continuing to record our Beltex.

    Regrettably what we found was that the main focus of the BFL scheme was to produce improved conformation in the mule wedder lamb rather than to focus on what we want to do i.e to produce the best quality female possible from a hill type ewe. We could see nothing to be gained by sacrificing the main quality of a BFL in order to produce a wedder lamb. If you give that policy a hundred years you’ll end up with a rather plain Blue Texel!

    This was backed up by the tendency of the established members of the scheme to largely ignore breeding indexes and still select their main stock sires by the method that has produced the superior Crossing Leicester that we have today. Visual selection is still the primary driver for sire selection and then this is followed up by asking the breeder if the animal is a good crosser or is it from good crossing lines. The point is that the Signet figures are something that merely runs in the background and are not high on the list of priorities when selecting a sire.

    Can you blame them? Considering that the Longwool Project could not prove that high index Leicesters will produce a superior breeding female, then to use a concept that has been proven to have no benefits would be an act of sheer folly.
    What were the highest-weighted EBVs in the Longwool Project? The daughters of a high-index sire usually out-perform their low-index-sired flock mates, but it depends entirely on what the high-index-sired females are programmed to do. I've heard of the Longwool Project but know nothing about it. After 3 or 4 years of recording a breed, you can say that you have made a start. You won't have enough data to give you high accuracy. Who decided on the breed objectives and how the recorded traits should be weighted? Sound to me like that decision was taken without enough information or consultation with the members of the breed society, which seems typical of most societies.

  11. #131
    JamesC
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by devils advocate;928000

    [COLOR=red
    But I think the whole point of Mules is the hybrid vigour of two breeds one of which is line bred to increase this hybid vigour[/COLOR].
    BINGO !

    If you stabilised mules, and kept a pure, self replacing flock of them, then half the lamb crop off your lowland farm would be mule wethers. Not maximising resources surely.

    AGAIN.

    Surely the mule only exists because of the UK's stratified system? Why would you choose to try and stabilise it, when there are so many alternatives available?

    FULL HOUSE !

    Wouldn't you be tempted to keep some nice Texel x gimmers out of that 'poorest half'?! That wouldleapfrog you a long way in breeding shape into them

    OOH Not quite, no cigar, good sheep ,get good lambs back to Texel/Beltex but fecundity is plummetting and management is changing, neighbour was all Texel -excellent butchers product but not enough lambs to sell- bought some Texel sired gimmers from us, and now I see he is buying his own mules. This is very much like the argument on Cropping, do you save your own seed corn or do you buy all new every sowing time. The breed is immaterial at this juncture.

  12. #132
    Sh3pherdess
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Put a bit of texel blood into the BFL, job done.

    Or maybe Beltex to shorten their bloomin legs

  13. #133
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Sh3pherdess View Post
    Put a bit of texel blood into the BFL, job done.

    Or maybe Beltex to shorten their bloomin legs
    Ive breed some Myomax/T+ carrying Finnsheep, currently have 7/8Finn1/8 tex ewes having 15/16Finn lambs. its been quite easy as I just used rams over my hoggs and killed all the 1/2 and 3/4 cross ewe lambs and DNA tested the best few ram lambs. It was suprisingly easy, it coukd be done with any breed but imho if it was done with BFL and blackies/swales it would help improve the mule no end.

    Maybe the BFL society needs to run a sire trial, surely if a good number of BFL rams (40-50) were mated to produce 20-30 daughters and 20-30 wedders each with all the daughters run together and recorded to see which few rams were the most profitable, (and had the best teeth/feet/condition etc etc) these rams could then be made avaliable for members to use via AI.

  14. #134
    Creedmoor1
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    Ive breed some Myomax/T+ carrying Finnsheep, currently have 7/8Finn1/8 tex ewes having 15/16Finn lambs. its been quite easy as I just used rams over my hoggs and killed all the 1/2 and 3/4 cross ewe lambs and DNA tested the best few ram lambs. It was suprisingly easy, it could be done with any breed...
    And surely is. Witness all the "pure" MyoMax-carrying Romneys, Perendales, etc...

  15. #135
    Global Ovine
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Creedmoor1 View Post
    And surely is. Witness all the "pure" MyoMax-carrying Romneys, Perendales, etc...
    Introgression of MyoMAX was brought up at the UK Suffolk Soc. conference at Penrith a few years ago. The concept went down like a lead balloon..... many breeders thought that was bastardising a pure breed. Such is the sacredness some people place on "pureness".

    Many breeds of farmed species worldwide have benefitted from introgression of valuable traits. Now with gene testing it is so simple.

  16. #136
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Creedmoor1 View Post
    And surely is. Witness all the "pure" MyoMax-carrying Romneys, Perendales, etc...
    The first known Corriedale carrying Myomax was born before Texels were avaliable in NZ.

  17. #137
    sheepwreck
    Guest

    Re: Blue Faced Leicester

    Quote Originally Posted by Sh3pherdess View Post
    Put a bit of texel blood into the BFL, job done.

    Or maybe Beltex to shorten their bloomin legs
    +1 Simplest solutions usually the best!

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