The idea is to produce a cross that works with your ewes. So with cross bred ewes its kinda tough to guess which of the two breeds will work better. I've had both breeds and they both have some really great traits and some negs that meant they left the farm. NCC's my favorite terrorist sheep breed. Probably the hardiest breded I've ever seen. Tough flighty (fighty) fast growing might be a good choice for a pasture system but honestly they were just to nutty for my farm. Hamps turn feed into meat very efficiently but they seem to need it a bit more (as in creep feeding pays but you need to offer the feed) I'm sure a whole flock of Hamps could work but they're just too gentle to push the tougher breeds away and they always seem to feel the need to escape by running through me rather than around or away. Not charging just blundering. Both drove me nutz but the NCC's on grass did super and they're so tough I could see me using them as a terminal sire............. so they never get bigger than me.
Rob, unfortunately your unlikely to ever find the negatives of any breed on-line - anybody with a web site for their breed is going to be showing you the positives not the negatives.
Because your talking about a terminal sire, I assume your looking at just that - a ram over your ewes that is going to produce a fast growing lamb that will be sold before it hits a year old and you won't be keeping any of the progeny as replacement ewes? I have no experience with either of the breeds your interested in although I have run Perendale which were bred up from the Cheviot - good doers but flighty - but either of these breeds should fit the bill if you have good fencing and facilities. You don't say what your ewes are?
This year, for the first time ever, I'm running a terminal sire in the shape of a Texal/Finn. I won't be keeping anything as a replacement for two reasons. Both the Texal and the Finn are given to having litters of lambs rather than singles or twins and I don't need that hassle. Secondly, the lambs are the best escape artists I have ever come across The little sods are everywhere and they are they only lambs I've ever had that can get through sheep netting that a mouse can't get through! But man, are they meaty lambs and I've never seen lambs do so well. So there are another couple of breeds for you to think about.
I don't have north country cheviots, but do have border cheviots. I've always thought of both as good maternal crossing breeds. Check out mulesheep.com . If they are anything like the border cheviots they don't have a fast growth rate, but have good mothering abilities, are very hardy and are great foragers. The lambs are up nursing before they're dried off. I have been crossing border cheviots with Bluefaced Leicesters, then will cross the offspring with a Texel for a terminal sire. The texel cross lambs have a fast growth rate and will do well off pasture alone. Hampshires should be a good terminal sire, but not sure about the hardiness of lambs
I used a texel as a terminal sire last year on some of my crossbred ewes and was very impressed.
You might ask for some info on lamb weights from wherever you plan on purchasing your terminal sire.
My ewes now are mostly dorset and suffolk crosses. Some have a little romonov and a few are pure rideaus. I bought an Ile de France ram this year. They are supposed to be good growers and good on pasture. I also have a charolais ram that we used last year. We are not very impressed. The lambs did not grow very fast off of pasture. The lambs are almost woolless at birth. Crosses with rideaus make great looking lambs, but they are slow growing. It will be interesting to see the results with the suffolk and dorset ewes.
I like the idea of the NCC hardiness, and mothering. I like the growth rate of the hamp. But my fencing is only electric, so flighty ewes may not be wise. I am selling the Charolais ram. If the Ile de france is as good as they say, I may get another.
I had NCC, they aren't flighty in the fact that they will go through anything. They are always on alert, so they will spot a predator very quickly. The ram I had was gentle and calm. They do very well on grass and the lamb are up and running in no time. Good luck
I have my border cheviots in electronet on a regular basis with no trouble, and it seems like they are supposed to be flightier than the north country cheviots. I think it depends a lot on how you handle them. My sheep are moved with border collies twice a day, plus I will pick out a few every day to train dogs on. They get handled regularly. Very often these "flighty" sheep are standing next to me, or nearby while I'm training a dog. Good luck in your search. I've heard good things about the Ile de france sheep.
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