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Discussion in 'Sheep' started by pilot_34, Oct 12, 2003.
OK what breed and why?
Jacobs, to preserve a rare breed, ensure genetic diversity in our breeding stock, small breed easy to handle, "naturally parasite resistant", beautiful natural colored wool, excellent for hand spinning, meat is naturally low fat and flavorful
Shetlands - small, hardy, easy lambers, lovely fleece (in all sorts of colors) for handspinning, nice temperaments. Here is one of this year's ram lambs, a lovely moorit:
We have Columbias and Suffolks
I'll expand on my answer in your other post a bit, with the thinking we had for the other breeds we've had. Suffolks were the traditional E Ontario meat sheep hardy to our winters and good all round sheep. Too bad the rest of the world isn't as patient as Suffolk sheep. They simply don't grow fast enough or in proportion. Bone first then hang meat on the big frame. Hampshires came as the sovereign of meat production, big sheep mean big lambs and great milk mean plump milk fed lambs that can sell any time. I like Hamps but they drive me nutz. There's just no way to escape from being cornered except to plow right though you, yet one runty Cheviot lamb can drive them from a feed bunk to starve in a land of plenty. They got sick first (but bounce back well) and almost always needed that extra TLC. I'll bet a flock of Hamps is a joy, but you have to like really big sheep. Really big dumb sheep. We milked them by machine and they produce gallons of milk...... if my Rideau Arcotts didn't do the same on less feed I'd think twice about not having Hamps. Rideau Arcotts are the breed of choice here to cross in prolificy and fast growth on milk. The wool is OK too. Nice friendly sheep with an above average intelligence (it helps to have co-operative, sheep, wise enough to avoid coyotes here) they milk easy grow very fast. We've had Dorsets and still have a few PB's modern Dorsets are much better than the frumpy little things of 30 years ago. Their good sheep just not spectacular IMO. we also have Polypay and crosses, much like the Dorset except they seem to do that little bit better and stay healthier. Just a notch above the Dorsets and bigger than the Rideau. Our next breed will either be Lincolns or Wensledales (if we can find them) primarily for the wool but also the decent meat. We would like to have three lines of sheep Polypay, Rideau Arcott, and either the Lincs or Wensleys totally around 150-250 ewes. We're at 200 now if we stay here it'll be 150 if we relocate it'll be 250.
Dorpers ~ hardy, prolic, no shearing, extremely fast growing. Breeding market is hot right now as many long time wool breeders are turning to the hair sheep. I have sold many a ram to all wool operations breeding out the wool. Feed all goes into making meat and babies. They eat brush, weeds, as well as grass, and seem to virtually gain on air. They get along fine in hot or cold climates. We have had no trouble at lambing time! They have calm dispositions, excellent mothering instincts and are easy to handle.
We have Hampshires.....Why,just happened to be in the right place at the right time.We got a pretty good deal on these girls for here anyway.......................
We have cheviots (border). For many years, I was a lone shepherdess and I needed a breed that I could handle by myself for foot trimming, worming, etc. They are also known to stay flighty longer and that was an asset when I was using them alot to train my herding dogs. They are also extremely healthy for our wet climate here in W. WA. Have tried other breeds and had lots of heath problems with them. They don't need much grain at all, and can get quite fat on just pasture (easy keepers!) Plus, with their upright ears, clean faces and legs, they are just darn cute and I like to see them in our pastures!