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PureCountry

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Just curious, and I'm sure this may turn into a debate like we all have with cattle breeds, but for those of you running sheep, what breeds do you have the best experience with at lambing? Which are the best mothers that you don't have to babysit around the clock?
 

bearvalley

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Stones Sheep. They lamb on their own, raise themselves and are marketable for top dollar if a wolf or bear doesn't eat them first.
 

Broke Cowboy

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PureCountry said:
Just curious, and I'm sure this may turn into a debate like we all have with cattle breeds, but for those of you running sheep, what breeds do you have the best experience with at lambing? Which are the best mothers that you don't have to babysit around the clock?

We have only been doing this for about 4-5 years so we are by no means the pros - but so far this is how it seems to be at least for us.

We run a base flock of Rideau Arcotts that do well in our part of the world and the good thing is they can breed in any month and give you multiples.

We cross them with Dorsett to get a bit of size to them.

We terminal out with Texel - lambs have small pointy heads and torpedo shaped bodies so they come out easy - even on a small ewe - big growth to about 80 pounds.

We have found that the Rideaus are decent moms and they tend to be able to handle the confusion of twins, triplets and quads.

We have a couple hundred of the little devils on this place and keep the flocks as separate as possible - and lamb out about 4 times a year - usually January, April, September and December - all of the lambs pretty much hit the sale barn at about 70 pounds.

Best Moms?

So far it is the Rideau Arcott.

Best lambers?

The straight Rideau Arcott

Our Dorset cross seem to do well but once in a while we have to go in and fetch a leg up.

Over all though I would say there is not truly a difference if I look at those with twins or less. Just when you get into bigger numbers do we actually see the difference start to show. That is where the Arcotts seem to shine.

Cull, cull, cull and those sheep can make you money - especially if you throw the bad moms out and keep the good ones.

Freezing rain today - big time - school buses are cancelled and I am not driving to work this morning.

I have to dig snow to get through to the hay today - cows will be looking for their feed and so will the sheep.

Someone please ask God and Mom Nature to stop this weather and get Spring started - I am definitely ready.

Best to all

bc
 

Denny

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Around here Polypay ewes terminal cross with a suffolk or a Hamp.Know a guy who's paid for ALOT of Green tractors doing that way but he's a hell of a farmer also.
 

leanin' H

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Little H has a 4H flock of registered Suffolk ewes. They have been bred back to Suffolk bucks but we may try a Hampshire buck this spring. So far we haven't had issues at lambing or good mothers. One ewe had a single last year but twinned this time around, We lamb once early in February in order to make weight for our August show.

Side note: As a former sheep hater, I was not too excited about the prospect of having some around. But the kids can work with them without worry of them getting stepped on or kicked that can happen with steers. All the ewes and lambs are halter broken by the kids and they make great weedeaters on fence lines and such. The kids sure have a lot of confidence with the sheep which has translated nicely over to their stockshow steers as well.
 

jodywy

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Our farm flock started from cull Rambouillet range ewes... then there was foot rot Dad used Romney rams for years for the black hard hooves. Wool was course got so we didn't get much more then for blackface wool, the lambs had too much fat cover. Sue was hand spinning so we used a Coopworth, then Dorset rams and we have a Suffolk ram too for crossbred . We now are back to Rambouillet ram and Suffolk x Hampshire rams. The smut face and black face lambs we keep for our freezer have less then a 1/4 inch back fat and the cut up to nice chops and big legs.
 

PureCountry

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Bearvalley, can I come look at your Stone sheep sometime? They sound promising! :lol: :lol: :lol: :lol:


Thanks for the input folks. I've heard good things and bad about most of the breeds mentioned. Don't see very many Cheviots or Scottish Blackface, but when I hear old boys talk about them they ramble on about how good they were, but wonder why they don't see them anymore.
 

bearvalley

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PureCountry
I'd posts you some pictures but I don't have a clue how to get them on the site. I'm not very computer skilled.
 

mwj

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leanin' H said:
Little H has a 4H flock of registered Suffolk ewes. They have been bred back to Suffolk bucks but we may try a Hampshire buck this spring. So far we haven't had issues at lambing or good mothers. One ewe had a single last year but twinned this time around, We lamb once early in February in order to make weight for our August show.

Side note: As a former sheep hater, I was not too excited about the prospect of having some around. But the kids can work with them without worry of them getting stepped on or kicked that can happen with steers. All the ewes and lambs are halter broken by the kids and they make great weedeaters on fence lines and such. The kids sure have a lot of confidence with the sheep which has translated nicely over to their stockshow steers as well.


If those young ones like the sheep that is a very good reason for you to have a change of heart. :cowboy: Those kids sometimes are a little more open minded about there livestock options than we adults are. Good experience for them and a chance to make a few bucks without investing quite as much money or time. It is nice to go from baby on the ground to market size in less than a year.
 

pups and bucks

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I pasture lamb in May and wind up pulling one lamb a year.......out of 100 head of mostly polypay ewes and ewe lambs.
I believe that exercise and condition of the ewe play a big part in having a successful lambing season.......
 

Mill Iron A

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What are people's thoughts on Southdowns as a terminal sire or breed to run as a cross with something like a dorset or polypay?
 

R A

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I am of no help to you, PureCountry. ...but I'm going with Black Welsh Mountain sheep as the sheep I will be raising the next few years.
 

gcreekrch

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Mill Iron A said:
What are people's thoughts on Southdowns as a terminal sire or breed to run as a cross with something like a dorset or polypay?

Most of my customers prefer a carcass weight of 55 lbs or better. Have had April lambs dress 80 lbs in late Oct. Don't think a Southdown would achieve those weights.
 

jodywy

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gcreekrch said:
Mill Iron A said:
What are people's thoughts on Southdowns as a terminal sire or breed to run as a cross with something like a dorset or polypay?

Most of my customers prefer a carcass weight of 55 lbs or better. Have had April lambs dress 80 lbs in late Oct. Don't think a Southdown would achieve those weights.
http://mslamb.com/ likes a 75lb carcass
 

gcreekrch

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jodywy said:
gcreekrch said:
Mill Iron A said:
What are people's thoughts on Southdowns as a terminal sire or breed to run as a cross with something like a dorset or polypay?

Most of my customers prefer a carcass weight of 55 lbs or better. Have had April lambs dress 80 lbs in late Oct. Don't think a Southdown would achieve those weights.
http://mslamb.com/ likes a 75lb carcass

Mine are straight off grass and Momma's milk.
 

LazyWP

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bearvalley said:
Stones Sheep. They lamb on their own, raise themselves and are marketable for top dollar if a wolf or bear doesn't eat them first.

I'll buy a dozen from you!!
 

kelpies4me

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I've got Cheviots- and started mine from a flock up the road. He does nothing- and I mean nothing for those sheep and they consistently deliver twins, and no help is needed. Cheviots were bred and developed to be plunked in the border hills and left, and brought in when the lambs were to go to market. They are extremely hardy, do well on marginal pasture, and are very self sufficient. North Country Cheviots are a bigger size than the Border Cheviots, but both are great in terms of mothering, ease of care and well, they are hands off. My type. Lambing a bunch now. If you are interested in Cheviots make sure you go with grade sheep, not show sheep, as I have seen in all breeds, they go for a taller, lighter sheep- which equates to no muscling..
If you like you can PM and I can show you pics of my sheep... I have one cross bred dam/Border Cheviot ram, lamb I call Vinnie No Neck.. 2 weeks old...
 

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