sheep for spinning flocks

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by teddy, Mar 28, 2005.

  1. teddy

    teddy Member

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    Just reading through some of the past chats about what sheep to buy for hand spinning flocks. It came to my notice that not much discussion was going on about crosses verses pure bred sheep. I have raised both pure bred English Romney and Babydoll southdown sheep, both have awesome fibre and although totally different to each other when both breeds are combined the results are amazing! I call this cross a 'Babyrom' sheep and it really is a wonderful animal. Very wooly and very soft to the touch. The crimp is just wonderful and the fibre length is around 6".
    Babydoll wool is very soft to the touch and an interesting fact that I have come to discover for those looking for just a couple pet sheep to use the fibre for spinning and for cutting the grass, the neutered ram 's have an amazingly soft fleece! Baby soft! As the sheep gets older the fleece gets softer!

    I'm sure that many people have crossbred flocks rather than pure bred and many times the cost can be lower. But having said that if someone has found a winning combination, prices for the offspring is often on the same level as pure bred. One thing that is nice with the crossbred flocks, no money is spent on registration papers and memberships. This can be costly to the owner of any pure bred flock.
    Where am I going with this? Well just wanted to chat about it!
     
  2. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    If you breed some of your Babyroms together, how do their offspring come out? Are they also decent meat sheep? (Dual purpose is good, especially on a small place.)

    Kathleen
     

  3. teddy

    teddy Member

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    The Babyroms I have are always bred back to a babydoll ram, these rams always produce amazingly bulky solid offspring. I think that the Babyroms would be an excellent meat sheep/fibre animal. They are very docile set on short corky legs but quite the little hefty things! Very sweet in nature....we love having them on the farm.
     
  4. bergere

    bergere Just living Life

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    I have done some crosses in the past, when requested.

    The Babydoll/Mini cheviot turned out very well.
    So did the Border Leciester/mini Cheviot, and the Black welsh Mountian/mini Cheviot.
    The fleece from all those crosses were great to Handspin, and from what I could see there was a lot of improvement in the over all hardiness and temperament with the breeds crossed with the Mini Cheviots (Brecknock Hills).
    So I think Crosses can have their place. Have even seen, in some cases that the crosses were over all better quality than the purebreds.

    You are right, I have found wethers are the best for spinners flocks.
    They do not get the stress or the hormone changes that the ewes and Rams have to deal with. Hence the, usually better fleece.
     
  5. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

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    Hey, teddy, where is Texada Island? I'm just south of the border, wondering if you're within visiting distance, I'd love to see a babyrom!

    My nicest wool comes off a Romney cross. Not sure what the cross part is, though, as she was bought from someone who does a lot of pasture pet/lawn mower type breeding. She never really kept track. But Jasmine is as you describe your flock...wonderful fleece, sweetest personality. Unfortunately, she's a bit small, and the new ram lamb I bought has good size potential, so I'm guessing she'll be for sale soon (hope I can talk a 4-Her into taking her!!)
     
  6. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Good topic! I've heard good things about:

    Shetland X Cheviot
    Shetland X Southdown or Babydoll
    Babydoll X Finn.

    These are supposed to be good crosses for meat and fleece. Smaller cuts if you have a good ethnic market or like your lamb on the grill.
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I have a ewe and ram Rambouilet X Corriedale. From them I have another ewe. Beautiful fleece. They are smaller than standard, which is why I have these particular ones.

    This spring i also now have Black Welsh mountain X the above ram. There appears to be a mixed fleece on all of them, but a definite improvement and deep black.
     
  8. Petsguy

    Petsguy Well-Known Member

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    Thinking about crossing one of my unregistered shetlands to my baby doll ram. Does anyone have any pictures of this cross? Also, if anyone is interested I have a baby doll ewe lamb available. Check out my ad on the barter board.

    Take Care,
    Jeff
     
  9. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

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    Hi Jeff,

    I know of one person who crossed shetland ewes with a regular southdown ram, said the cross was great in both meat and fleece. I also thought about doing a cross (shetland X babydoll) but I worried about those big, broad babydoll heads getting stuck. Maybe someday, we'll see.
    See you Saturday at Chris Greenes.

    Juliann
     
  10. Slev

    Slev Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Good Fleece = Good Fleece reguardless of registration papers. However, I'm not one to try to "re-invent the wheel" Plus, it depends on what your definition of the word GOOD is? <experiancing a Clinton flashback> I'm sticking with my Border Leicesters. Although I do like Romneys.
     
  11. teddy

    teddy Member

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    Hi there Kesoaps, Sorry for the delay in reading your messege. Been busy with lambing! Love this time of year except its rather exhausting! We just had two gorgeous Babyrom babies born yesterday. Two girls one solid black and the other sweety is a white girl with grey speckled face and legs. These babies will be staying here on the farm. I find that the Babyroms sell really fast once someone knows how gorgeous they are. We also had two Babydoll babies born. Twins both white and are the first offspring sired by my Grand Champion ram.....and oh what gorgeous babies!

    Anyway I'm throughly enjoying my sheep and their babies. Its very difficult to let any little sheepies go to new homes.

    Texada Island is probably about 5 hours away from the US border. The distance is not far but its three ferry rides to get to the island that slows the trip down. Go to my web site www.minisheep.com and click onto TEXADA ISLAND on the first paragraph . This will show you a map of the island anyway.

    We are moving from Alberta to Texada this summer, we decided to lamb the sheep out here before the 16 hour move. Less stress to move them after the babies are a few months old. But after we are all settled we would love sheepy visitors. We are even building rental cottages for people to stay a while!

    Well have to get back to the barn to check on the girls.
     
  12. teddy

    teddy Member

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    In reply to a messege posted earlier.
    I think that you have mis read or mis understood my quote. Ofcourse registered sheep should have as good or better fleece as unregistered sheep......it really has nothing to do with fleece quality. I was rather pointing out the cost difference for a new comer looking at purchasing new animals. Purebred sheep normaly come with a higher purchase cost than crossbred. Every year a spend hundreds of dollars on getting registration papers and membership fee's for my pure bred flock of "Olde English Babydoll Miniature Southdown", it doesn't help that all the fee's are in US funds verses Canadian. These costs have to get passed on to my customers purchasing the Babydolls.
    Another matter which has to be taken into consideration with a pure bred flock is that a great deal of planning is performed when choosing new bloodlines for the flock. All but two Babydoll sheep in Canada have originated from my flock. Now where does that leave me for purchasing new breeding stock? The US is the only place that I can find unrelated stock, that means an awful lot of traveling to pick out good specimens.....good Babydolls are difficult to find! All these costs have to be taken into consideration with the selling price of lambs.

    Whats my point? Well, I'm just trying to explain why I think that crossbred flocks can be alot of fun. They are alot more simple to maintain and should be more affordable to purchase. Quality is still expected to be of the upmost....in my flock my Babyroms are just as gorgeous as my Babydolls.