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Thread: Black Belly Sheep

  1. #1
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    Black Belly Sheep

    Hi, I'm keeping sheep, Wiltshire Horn x Soay, on some marginal land, basic conservation grazing. Although both breeds are said to be self-shedding, there is plenty of room for improvement. I did consider an Exlana ram, but discovered the price was prohibitive. Do you know of anybody here in the UK, preferably not too far from Norfolk, that has any Barbados Black Belly sheep, that might sell me a ram at a reasonable price ?

  2. #2
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    Re: Black Belly Sheep

    The Exlana sheep would be ideal for my purposes. Unfortunately, the team that developed the breed need to recoup their considerable expense and investment, and this puts stock well out of reach of most smallholders. This is not a criticism, their reasons are perfectly understandable, but that is very little help to me. Perhaps someone has bought some, bred them, and now has a surplus that they can sell at a reasonable price. Given that I only require a ram for the 2018 breeding season, there might be the possibility to rent a ram for that period. Not being a large, commercial organisation, we have to be as frugal as possible, and although there seems to be more Easycare sheep available, they are often not so carefully selected and performance recorded. I would rather not waste money on something that has a rather unpredictable outcome.

    My prime aim is to produce hardy sheep for conservation grazing, that are the best self-shedding I can get, to eliminate the cost of shearing, and minimise the risk of fly strike. Meat production is not a consideration.

  3. #3
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    Re: Black Belly Sheep

    I had to google to see what these sheep are.

    I suspect you will just have to roo whatever sheep you get but look up hair sheep and choose your breed.

  4. #4
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    Re: Black Belly Sheep

    Thanks for your reply Barney. The point is that with my sheep kept as I do, they become semi wild. Catching them up is far easier said than done. Even with good dogs, because most hair sheep do not bunch and herd like commercial sheep, they scatter. Wool sheep are not viable, with the cost of shearing being greater than the price you get for the fleece. I'm told that the fleece jackets that have become popular are in fact made from recycled plastic bottles for a pittance. I have researched the various sheep breeds, but unfortunately, those that would suit my purpose are as common as hen's teeth, hence my plea for any information or links on here.

  5. #5
    Senior Member wr.'s Avatar
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    Re: Black Belly Sheep

    http://www.provensheddingsheep.co.uk/

    Have a chat with Tim White. I know he's in Wiltshire but he has a wealth of knowledge of shedders and might point you at some breeders nearer to Norfolk.
    Don't itch for something if you're not prepared to scratch for it.

  6. #6
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    Re: Black Belly Sheep

    Thanks WR, I have already pestered Tim White, he is a mine of information, and very kindly answered all my questions. However, he was unable to help me find what I am looking for, his best suggestion was to contact the Wiltshire Horn Society. I already have Wiltshires, and found that they fall rather short of what I am after. It seems that most breeds lay claims that they don't quite live up to. The best examples being better than most, but the worst being no better than any other.

    This brings me back to seeking suitable breeds to cross, and through stringent selection, developing my own preferred strain. That is a fine idea, in theory, but where do I find those breeds ? Back to square one.

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