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Thread: Sheep breed policies for 2013

  1. #1
    Yale
    Guest

    Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Anyone changing their breeding policies?

    We are trying a Hartline/Highlander cross ram over our speckled mule ewes to try the progeny as replacements.

    Previously we have been using a Vendeen ram on the speckled mule ewes and have found this cross to be good with the exception of feet which is why we are trying something new.

    What's new for you at lambing 2013?

  2. #2
    devils advocate
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    I'm trying a Hartline tup on some Texel x ewe lambs. I will be retaining the resulting ewe lambs.

    I think the Hartline would be too small for me in its pure form, but I've bought him for the following reasons.

    1 To give the hoggs a really easy lambing.
    2 To reduce average size in the flock cos mine are getting way too big.
    3 To breed ewe lambs that have better feet.
    4 Maintain bio security (no ewes to buy)
    5 To breed replacements that are less "needy" of my time.
    6 Homebred ewes reared on quiet dams tend to "heft" themselves to the farm. So cheap to fence in when grazing fields in the arable rotation that are not netted & top wired
    7 Proper maternal breed, hopefully with healthy udders.

  3. #3
    JimmyM
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    After much contemplation thinking of a change from English mules and home bred texel crosses but am constantly seeing differing views and advice on here of every breed, cross and composite
    Have worked out the main problem we have revolves around wool due to our available saltmarsh grazing -wooly sheep means we cannot take as long a season as they require clipping in spring before going to the seaside for summer.and mules do seem to require a lot of labour at lambing time
    BUT the person responsible for the day to day sheep care () would have to be convinced
    Therefore might end up with the status quo

  4. #4
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyM View Post
    After much contemplation thinking of a change from English mules and home bred texel crosses but am constantly seeing differing views and advice on here of every breed, cross and composite
    Have worked out the main problem we have revolves around wool due to our available saltmarsh grazing -wooly sheep means we cannot take as long a season as they require clipping in spring before going to the seaside for summer.and mules do seem to require a lot of labour at lambing time
    BUT the person responsible for the day to day sheep care () would have to be convinced
    Therefore might end up with the status quo
    Some times the highest risk is to not change anything..............

    You should go have a look at Tim Ws sheep, take your day to day shepherd with you.

  5. #5
    hughesy
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    I have one major priority for the next breeding season for my pedigree flock. Is to cull even harder (and i'm fairly ruthless now), with costs rising all the time it only pays to keep the best!!! If i have one moment of doubt, one second look, its gone!!! Hope i can stick to it!!

    I'm also doing something different in using one ram on all the ewes this year! Unlike other years where i've spread my bets!

  6. #6
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    I'm increasing my flock.
    Finn ewes heading up to 200 or more.
    Meatmasters satabilize numbers and type.
    Will cross some Finns to texel and run some FxTx ewes.

  7. #7
    Ford4000
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    This season there will be no change and more mules will be bought but probably more white faced ones.
    In the close future something will have to change due to ageing parents and increasing flock numbers .I don't think I would be able to get labour willing or experienced enough for outdoor lambing mules ,so either a shed will have to be built(also useful for calf rearing and beef finishing) or a less prolific, easier care type ewe will have to be kept but what the hell that is I don't know as everyone claims they're breed is the best!!

  8. #8
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Ford4000 View Post
    This season there will be no change and more mules will be bought but probably more white faced ones.
    In the close future something will have to change due to ageing parents and increasing flock numbers .I don't think I would be able to get labour willing or experienced enough for outdoor lambing mules ,so either a shed will have to be built(also useful for calf rearing and beef finishing) or a less prolific, easier care type ewe will have to be kept but what the hell that is I don't know as everyone claims they're breed is the best!!
    Can I ask why you think a sheep needs to be less prolific to be easier care? Surely a ewe type that is simply easier care than a mule is what you mean?

  9. #9
    johnny400
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Much the same here but upping numbers again. Was going to try a Logie maternal ram but they were out my price range to just give them a trial. Thinking of running some ewes to lamb mid march which would be new.

  10. #10
    Ford4000
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    Can I ask why you think a sheep needs to be less prolific to be easier care? Surely a ewe type that is simply easier care than a mule is what you mean?
    Triplets are trouble, most need carrying in and only 25%-30% will rear all 3 lambs and they need close watch kept on them. It's rare that a single bearing ewe needs any attention.
    Of course in an ideal world they should all rear 2lambs with little assistance but the closer you get to 200% lambing the more triplets you get.

  11. #11
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Planned expansion still ongoing here, with 250 Highlander ewe lambs coming in, lifting us to 600 lambing in April. Going on this year's performance, I might need to up lambing pen numbers to 20. Contemplating how I might start Signet recording the commercial flock, without compromising on the 'easy care' principle.

    Charollais flock continuing unchanged at 220 head.

    On the pasture front, Lot's of sh*te grass been sprayed out for turnips/SB and the first PRG/clover keys going in in a couple of weeks. Planning on trying a field of chicory/clover next Spring.

  12. #12
    welshmatt88
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Last BFL tups sent to market last month,aberdales hired in their place to put on welsh ewes, as well as more aberdale ewe lambs being bought in. And an experiment with Couple of Charolais x Texel tups being tried ....

  13. #13
    Susan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    We are culling hard, taking out all of the old mules and suffolks.

    This will leave us with majority home bred texel crosses, pure texels and some Llyns.

    Two Meatlinc tups to put to ewe lambs, gimmers and one crops and pure texel tups to put to the rest.

    We ear notched ewe lambs from triplets and twins only this year and we assed the mothers feet before notching too.

    All of our replacement ewe lambs will be selected from ear notched lambs and by weight at selection.

    Not as scientific as some of the methods on here but it is working for us!

  14. #14
    Yale
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan View Post
    We ear notched ewe lambs from triplets and twins only this year and we assed the mothers feet before notching too.


    Not as scientific as some of the methods on here but it is working for us!
    Interesting idea.

  15. #15
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by NeilO View Post
    Planned expansion still ongoing here, with 250 Highlander ewe lambs coming in, lifting us to 600 lambing in April. Going on this year's performance, I might need to up lambing pen numbers to 20. Contemplating how I might start Signet recording the commercial flock, without compromising on the 'easy care' principle.

    Charollais flock continuing unchanged at 220 head.

    On the pasture front, Lot's of sh*te grass been sprayed out for turnips/SB and the first PRG/clover keys going in in a couple of weeks. Planning on trying a field of chicory/clover next Spring.
    The Wairere Romney stand at NSA event had distance readable tags in their sheep which they claimed were close to 100% retain rate. Only trouble is that they are NZ tags which are not yet available over here - they said they were trying to get them imported. Think I've seen sheep pics from 1 of our kiwi contributers with them (Dan?). It would negate the need to catch the ewe, just needing to catch and tag the lambs.

    On a personal front, intend to continue the outdoor lambing experiment started this year. Lambing numbers to remain at last year's high of around 600 put to ram, including ewe lambs. Last year was the first for several of lambing ewe lambs. Breed wise continuing to phase out the mules and suffolk mules in favour of kiwi influence - Highlander, Romney and Texel (all of the NZ variety) with a Lleyn experiment as well. All in an effort to reduce reliance on worm drenches whilst retaining performance.
    Had intended to give up on the early lambing flock (only 70 ish ewes), but a informal deal with a neighbour this year has seen me supplying lambs for his farmer's market business so the early flock will maintain a year round supply.

  16. #16
    Marches Farmer
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Culled our Southdowns hard every year and I reckon they're about as good as they're ever going to get with regard to twins, good feet, teeth and udder, good mothering and robust health so just bought a performance recorded ram to up the conformation. He certainly looks a good allrounder - time will tell!

  17. #17
    EWE2
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    The Wairere Romney stand at NSA event had distance readable tags in their sheep which they claimed were close to 100% retain rate. Only trouble is that they are NZ tags which are not yet available over here - they said they were trying to get them imported. Think I've seen sheep pics from 1 of our kiwi contributers with them (Dan?). It would negate the need to catch the ewe, just needing to catch and tag the lambs.

    On a personal front, intend to continue the outdoor lambing experiment started this year. Lambing numbers to remain at last year's high of around 600 put to ram, including ewe lambs. Last year was the first for several of lambing ewe lambs. Breed wise continuing to phase out the mules and suffolk mules in favour of kiwi influence - Highlander, Romney and Texel (all of the NZ variety) with a Lleyn experiment as well. All in an effort to reduce reliance on worm drenches whilst retaining performance.
    Had intended to give up on the early lambing flock (only 70 ish ewes), but a informal deal with a neighbour this year has seen me supplying lambs for his farmer's market business so the early flock will maintain a year round supply.



    Pm sixdogs - he uses them for out door lambing - makes the job much easier.

  18. #18
    EWE2
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Susan View Post
    We are culling hard, taking out all of the old mules and suffolks.

    This will leave us with majority home bred texel crosses, pure texels and some Llyns.

    Two Meatlinc tups to put to ewe lambs, gimmers and one crops and pure texel tups to put to the rest.

    We ear notched ewe lambs from triplets and twins only this year and we assed the mothers feet before notching too.

    All of our replacement ewe lambs will be selected from ear notched lambs and by weight at selection.

    Not as scientific as some of the methods on here but it is working for us!

    I do this but also not the top of the ear for any misdemeanors and don't keep any lambs from a ewe that has these notches. Also 3 notches and they are out. However, am hoping to go fully eid and record everything. Then I'm going to buy either a highlander or hartline so I can close the flock. Have upped the ewe numbers to nearly 500.
    Have just bought a charrollais x texel ram and a pure charrollais ram which I never thought I'd do but am really excited about using them. I was using dorsets but they can get too fat here. I tried primeras last year and wasn't disappointed but wasn't overly impressed either.

  19. #19
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    The Wairere Romney stand at NSA event had distance readable tags in their sheep which they claimed were close to 100% retain rate. Only trouble is that they are NZ tags which are not yet available over here - they said they were trying to get them imported. Think I've seen sheep pics from 1 of our kiwi contributers with them (Dan?). It would negate the need to catch the ewe, just needing to catch and tag the lambs.
    I use zee tags large size. Easy to read from well back. Can't ever figure out why people piss about with smaller tags. I have better retention with then than I do the Adamatic tags that go in at birth.
    Attachment 35770

  20. #20
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    The Wairere Romney stand at NSA event had distance readable tags in their sheep which they claimed were close to 100% retain rate. Only trouble is that they are NZ tags which are not yet available over here - they said they were trying to get them imported. Think I've seen sheep pics from 1 of our kiwi contributers with them (Dan?). It would negate the need to catch the ewe, just needing to catch and tag the lambs.

    On a personal front, intend to continue the outdoor lambing experiment started this year. Lambing numbers to remain at last year's high of around 600 put to ram, including ewe lambs. Last year was the first for several of lambing ewe lambs. Breed wise continuing to phase out the mules and suffolk mules in favour of kiwi influence - Highlander, Romney and Texel (all of the NZ variety) with a Lleyn experiment as well. All in an effort to reduce reliance on worm drenches whilst retaining performance.
    Had intended to give up on the early lambing flock (only 70 ish ewes), but a informal deal with a neighbour this year has seen me supplying lambs for his farmer's market business so the early flock will maintain a year round supply.
    How have you found the Romneys? I've romney ewes for the first time in 15 years and I'm really struggling with them. At this stage I certainly won't be trying them again.

  21. #21
    romneymarsh
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    The Wairere Romney stand at NSA event had distance readable tags in their sheep which they claimed were close to 100% retain rate. Only trouble is that they are NZ tags which are not yet available over here - they said they were trying to get them imported. Think I've seen sheep pics from 1 of our kiwi contributers with them (Dan?). It would negate the need to catch the ewe, just needing to catch and tag the lambs.

    On a personal front, intend to continue the outdoor lambing experiment started this year. Lambing numbers to remain at last year's high of around 600 put to ram, including ewe lambs. Last year was the first for several of lambing ewe lambs. Breed wise continuing to phase out the mules and suffolk mules in favour of kiwi influence - Highlander, Romney and Texel (all of the NZ variety) with a Lleyn experiment as well. All in an effort to reduce reliance on worm drenches whilst retaining performance.
    Had intended to give up on the early lambing flock (only 70 ish ewes), but a informal deal with a neighbour this year has seen me supplying lambs for his farmer's market business so the early flock will maintain a year round supply.
    The tag is the Zeetag one piece. Cox agricultural are the UK Agent for Zeetags . I have rattled their cage a couple of times and have been told quite definitely that there is no market for them here and they will not be importing them . They are purely a management tag and not DEFRA approved and so have a limited market? They are the tag used at Wairere station NZ and widely used for recorded flocks in NZ. It is possible to directly import them from Zeetag but the price adds up quite quickly with printing and p&p. I have tried using Shearwell mini's but still struggle to read at distance. The Zeetags is the way to go.

    As regards flock and breeding , carrying on with the developments already underway. Romney WairereUK romneys and texel as terminal keeping some texrom ewes providing they don't take up more time at lambing.

  22. #22
    Cox Agri
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by romneymarsh View Post
    The tag is the Zeetag one piece. Cox agricultural are the UK Agent for Zeetags . I have rattled their cage a couple of times and have been told quite definitely that there is no market for them here and they will not be importing them . They are purely a management tag and not DEFRA approved and so have a limited market? They are the tag used at Wairere station NZ and widely used for recorded flocks in NZ. It is possible to directly import them from Zeetag but the price adds up quite quickly with printing and p&p. I have tried using Shearwell mini's but still struggle to read at distance. The Zeetags is the way to go.

    As regards flock and breeding , carrying on with the developments already underway. Romney WairereUK romneys and texel as terminal keeping some texrom ewes providing they don't take up more time at lambing.
    Dear RomneyMarsh,

    Very interesting to read your comments on ZeeTags management tags, I have passed these comments on to the ZeeTags brand manager for Cox and the MD.

    Kind regards

    Cox

  23. #23
    Creedmoor1
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    How have you found the Romneys? I've romney ewes for the first time in 15 years and I'm really struggling with them. At this stage I certainly won't be trying them again.
    Good on you, Dan; we can't find a use for the Romney! No major changes expected here for the next year, will keep using Greeline as maternal sire and selecting daughters from ewes known to rear good triplets as much as possible.

  24. #24
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by romneymarsh View Post
    The tag is the Zeetag one piece. Cox agricultural are the UK Agent for Zeetags . I have rattled their cage a couple of times and have been told quite definitely that there is no market for them here and they will not be importing them . They are purely a management tag and not DEFRA approved and so have a limited market? They are the tag used at Wairere station NZ and widely used for recorded flocks in NZ. It is possible to directly import them from Zeetag but the price adds up quite quickly with printing and p&p. I have tried using Shearwell mini's but still struggle to read at distance. The Zeetags is the way to go.
    .
    I use the zee tag two piece tags.(Front large, back button) Gives me the option of color coding the two tags seperatley. Or using a EiD tag as the button tag. Retention is very good.

    Quote Originally Posted by Creedmoor1 View Post
    Good on you, Dan; we can't find a use for the Romney! No major changes expected here for the next year, will keep using Greeline as maternal sire and selecting daughters from ewes known to rear good triplets as much as possible.
    Glad to here it's nae just me. I can't keep the bloody Romneys alive!!!!! And 120% scanning whats with that!!!

  25. #25
    Nithsdale farmer
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Continuing culling very hard anything i dont like: is lame, has/had known problems at or since lambing, showed signs of struggling to rear 2 lambs, persistant ill tempered ewes..... this should be the last year of needing to do this as severe.

    Ewe numbers are up 10 - 20 on last year (i may yet also go and buy 100-150 draft hill ewes, but there are a few things needing looked at before i can go forward on that one), all going towards breeding more ewe lambs so i have a larger pool to select from. Will be keeping the same high number of ewe lambs and will again be putting a ram to these.

    Planning to copy last years successful experiment of lambing 1st March.

  26. #26
    Creedmoor1
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    Glad to here it's nae just me. I can't keep the bloody Romneys alive!!!!! And 120% scanning whats with that!!!
    Wrong way, go back! Scanning index of 2.2 to 2.4 is not uncommon. Jon Hickford at Lincoln has some that tail around 180% but they go to the ram at 80kg .

    Do you need them for a cross you're selling? If not, I'd pass them on. If you're running them for fun, you won't find much of it in them!

  27. #27
    Poorbuthappy
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by NZDan View Post
    How have you found the Romneys? I've romney ewes for the first time in 15 years and I'm really struggling with them. At this stage I certainly won't be trying them again.
    Only bought the Romney ram this season so we will see. Prolific strain as don't want to lose productivity. I guess you bought ewes Dan? I bought in lleyns and highlanders last season and was very disappointed. But homebred lambs by lleyn and highlander rams are looking good. I wonder if breeding up from a closed flock is a better way forward when looking to change breed. It will obviously depend on your reason for breed change. Personally not pursuing the highlander at this stage simply because I can source rams with good fec figures by going to Texel and Romney, time will tell how successful it is.

    Yes it was Zee tags, though only the 1 piece.
    Thought about using a Shearwell cattle tag, but don't know what retention rates would be

  28. #28
    NeilO
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Poorbuthappy View Post
    Yes it was Zee tags, though only the 1 piece.
    Thought about using a Shearwell cattle tag, but don't know what retention rates would be
    I have used Allflex medium cattle tags in the Charollais ewes for many years, with the ID handwritten on them. We do get a few ripped out, and I don't find them as easy to read at a distance as I used to, even if I put my glasses on.

  29. #29
    NZDan
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Quote Originally Posted by Creedmoor1 View Post
    Wrong way, go back! Scanning index of 2.2 to 2.4 is not uncommon. Jon Hickford at Lincoln has some that tail around 180% but they go to the ram at 80kg .

    Do you need them for a cross you're selling? If not, I'd pass them on. If you're running them for fun, you won't find much of it in them!
    These were just bought in wairere type romneys so wasn't expecting much, just ewes to lamb and then trade. I would say scanning index of 2.2-2.4 is normal I'm nae sure many doing even 3.
    I know the Romneys that hickford is working with. I doutb they're 80kg, they'll be bigger than that I suspect.

  30. #30
    Sh3pherdess
    Guest

    Re: Sheep breed policies for 2013

    Buying a Chevease tup and also bought a hair sheep tup

    Thinking about buying some Chevease females too.

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