Disease Resistant sheep

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by Celtic Herritag, Sep 25, 2005.

  1. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    With all the illness problems I've had this year I'm about ready to sell all my stock! My herd needs some replenishment but I don't want to get any more Suffolks these guys have no disease resistance, they always seem to be sick! Does anyone know of a good disease resisant meat breed of sheep?
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well i hate to say it but North County (Country) Cheviots are the hardiest sheep I've ever seen. They're also pretty wild eyed and as near to killer sheep as I'll ever want to experience. Still if you were to hand feed and tame them down as much as possible they might work out OK. We did have a couple (maybe even a few) sweeties. Might not hurt to get a second or even third outside opinion/s of your operation or managment practices as maybe there's a simple fix for the Suffolks you have. It can be an odd thing that gives you grief, I used block salt for years but my Rideau Arcotts nearly died because they couldn't get enough iodine into them off a block. Switch to loose salt and they are thriving! If my vet didn't PM a few lambs etc. I'd have never known. Suffolks are commonly thought of as hardy sheep.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Oh another thought is your sheep may simply be going through a rough start and after a few years the homegrown replacments will have a homegrown immunity you simply can't buy.
     
  4. HunterTed

    HunterTed Rockin B Farm

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    One word says it all......................Dorpers. I have heard absolutely NOTHING bad about them. Kathadns are really good too. My uncle has some and they are some of the best sheep I have ever seen. They grow way faster than our Suffoks and have no problems lambing or with disease.
     
  5. quailkeeper

    quailkeeper Well-Known Member

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    Its all a matter of opinion. I have heard that Shetlands, Barbados, and Katahdins are all very hardy. This would be the first time I've heard that about Dorpers. I DO NOT like the dorpers. I have posted many times here about the problems associated with Dorpers. Barbs and Kats are both very hardy. My neighbor has about 30 of both and takes absolutely NO care of them. They have thrived beyond his expectations (he wanted a cheap lawn mower). It really makes me mad because he never feeds, vaccinates, worms, or gives them any minerals/salt. He lost only two lambs last year and that was to predators. I also raise them and love them.
     
  6. GOATDADDY

    GOATDADDY Well-Known Member

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    I currently have some type of a katahdin/barbado cross sheep. No wool and thus far have needed no extra care at all. Previously I had Romanov. Problem with them was, they had wool.
     
  7. Sue

    Sue Well-Known Member

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    I would like to respectfully disagree with Quailkeeper. We have been raising Dorpers for five years and find them to be a wonderful, hardy breed. They are very good mothers ~ not a single lamb rejection. They are fast growers ~ our lambs average 90lbs at 16 weeks. They are quite docile and fun to be around. No disease problems here at all ~ good parasite resistence. We have some Katahdins too which are also a low maintenance breed. The things we like best about the Dorpers is their ability to handle any sort of climate change and their ability to gain weight on air! They will eat almost anything. Nice upcoming breed, and according to my sales, quite popular too!
     
  8. shepmom

    shepmom Well-Known Member

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    Disease resistant....
    The hardiest breed I have read about isn't available in the US. The Red massai an African tribal sheep.

    I have Blackbellies that are hardy. I haven't vaccinated or wormed. They have shelter, mineral blocks and when the pasture quality diminishes we supplement them with grain and cheaper grass hay.

    They are a breed known to be pretty hardy, low maintence(no docking, shed), but under different conditions they may not be as hardy. ie. a disease outbreak or heavy parasite infestation of the soil, etc.
     
  9. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    Can understand about Suffolks having health issues. My Dad rasied them for years, and years. Just got out of them last year. Of all the sheep I have been around, was just sad they were so fragile, and not at all smart. They got the best of care. DS old 4-H leader had them too. She was forever having to baby them, and they were always getting sick with something. Babydoll Southdowns aren't much better in that department, so can't recommend them.

    Brecknock Cheviots are really, really hardy. They are the smaller versions of the North C. Cheviots. However, they tend to be a lot more calm than their larger cousins.
    Any of the smaller "unimproved" sheep, tend to be much more hardy. Shetland, Icelandic, BHC, Black Welsh Mountain(with the UK blood), Soay.

    The Border Leicester was really hardy too.. they were what I would call a mid sized sheep.
     
  10. woolyfluff

    woolyfluff Well-Known Member

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    All the folks Have left out the NEWEST breed of the USA and that is the ICELANDIC sheep they have a alot of resistaNCE BE CAUSE THEYM HAVE BEEN IN A closed country for several thousand years look under "isbona.com} this should tell you a lot of the neccesary thing you might want to know about them
     
  11. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Soay are very hardy when it comes to disease
     
  12. jimahall

    jimahall jimahall

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    They are definetly hardy. Mine lambed on the pasture with no trouble. They eat everything in site except grain. Seem to not have an appreciation for the finer things like whole corn and whole oats. Here is a link to the Icelandic Sheep Breeders website: http://www.isbona.com/
     
  13. Philip

    Philip Philip

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    Have you thought of Wiltshires ? Self shedding, strong resistance to internal parasites, either horned or polled. They have the advantage over the Dorpers in that they are not prone to footrot (important if you have a 'soggy' farm !). They don't have the size of the Dorpers but their ease of care makes up for that.
     
  14. jimahall

    jimahall jimahall

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    Don't know much about Wiltshires. Perhaps they should go to the Oklahoma State University website at:

    :cowboy: http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/sheep/sheep.htm :cowboy:

    You can search from literly A to Z. Every breed on the planet is listed. Do lots of research and then decide.
     
  15. Celtic Herritag

    Celtic Herritag Celtic Heritage Farms

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    Wow thanks guys that's a lot of breeds to choose from. I have always liked Icelandics, thinking about getting some next lambing season, maybe some bummers and then hand raise them to cancel out thier feral temperment. We need fairly gentle ewes as we still have kids around who haven't learned about sheep heads yet. I've heard that barbados sheep don't keep thier lambs very well. I've never been able to find dorpers around here so if anyone knows of a breeder tell me. Cheviots-mutated easter bunnyXlamb cross.

    Some one gave me a good pice of information to chew on today. I got most of my stock from the local county fair, mostly the 4-H'ers who placed high in market or breeding shows but didn't want thier sheep going to market. My friend told me that my problems might be related to the fact that they are former show lambs, from show sires. So that led me to thinking about how thier natural charecteristics where purposfully or inadvertantly bred out to produce a show lamb. Ahh and I thought it would be a good place to get some well blooded gentle stock.
     
  16. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    That's part of the problem with american livestock in general, and I don't mean just sheep. Most people's herds / flocks / gaggles etc are so inbred they could never survive in the wild. They are so close genetically that often they are almost clones in the sense that one disease theoretically could wipe out the breed, and many have no parenting ability left. Some breeds according to some authors have even lost almost half their genetic material. What would people be like if we had been culled for 4 foot long blonde hair, and never had to do a day's work or take care of our kids? Now ponder the whole livestock issue


     
  17. Hank - Narita

    Hank - Narita Well-Known Member

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    We have 2 bummer ram lambs aged 3 months old. They are katakdin/dorper crosses. We are getting a ewe lamb in another week who is St. Croix and Painted Desert. Can't wait to start our little flock. The 2 ram lambs were bottle raised and are very tame. They still nurse on my goat. My Aussies are learning to herd with them. No problems yet and they live on a very rough pasture with practically no grass; only weeds at present. They do get hay and some leftover grain every evening. They are very gentle and seem hardy so far. Their moms did abandon them so not sure how good the breed is at mothering. We will see when the time comes to breed our own. At what age should our ewe lamb be bred? Should we keep her away from these ram lambs? Thanks.
     
  18. redroving

    redroving Well-Known Member

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    I raise California Red Sheep and they are pretty hardy. I have permanent pasture and do not supplement any feed at all. Luckily we do have mild winters here in CA but still the pasture gets short but the sheep do well. I lamb in April so the pasture is getting lush from the spring rains.
    The breed is fairly new (only about 25 years old) developed for dual purpose, meat and wool. My sheep are free to come and go from paddock to pasture and mostly lamb in the pasture on their own. I only have to collect the lambs and mothers in order to tag the lambs and record the births (my flock is a registered flock). After they are ear tagged and tail banded they get kicked back out in the pasture. My dogs and cats take more of my time then my sheep.
    The Oklahoma University Breed listing has not updated our web site (I have tried emailing and US Mail our new web site, but they have not changed the listing) so here it is: http://www.caredsheep.com
     
  19. Farmboy

    Farmboy Well-Known Member

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    We have St. Croix, which are said to be very disease resistant. They are very low mantinece as well: i.e. don't need shearing, lamb well, ect. Try looking into all the hair sheep breeds, (St. Croix, Katahdin, Barbado, ect.) as they seem to do very well.
     
  20. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    George, that is why I like "primative" breeds like the shetlands, icelandics, etc.
    They have not been selectively bred for the show ring or a large meat carcass. The traits I find truly important (hardiness, thriftiness, longevity, good mothering, milkiness, easy lambing, parasite/disease resistance, strong lambs) have not been bred out in an effort to "improve" other traits.
    Most breeders I know will cull out lousy mothers or sickly sheep to keep our breed strong.