Author Topic: Triple-threat Sheep  (Read 2057 times)

Offline Leanu

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Triple-threat Sheep
« on: August 13, 2012, 12:52:24 PM »
I have been reading info on sheep for a while now, and have really only seen discussions about meat sheep and milking sheep separately.  So I was wondering: if you could have the perfect triple-threat sheep (meat, wool, milk) what would it be, or what mixed breed would be the best?

This could be completely theoretical.

Thanks for the input!

Leanu


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Offline Shadeydaze

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2012, 12:24:58 AM »
I'll be interested  to read this ...we only started out with sheep last year.

We crossed Gotland (which although they're not the best milking sheep don't have a "bad" yield) with a polled Dorset. Produced big lambs but I've not been able to milk the one ewe(!) we had as she's only 9 months old....a slightly longer term project there.

We did have an Awassi / Friesian Ram Lamb we were going to use when he was old enough as we also have Corriedale /Merino ewes as well (Cormo's are good meat and wool cross) unfortunately he died before he could do the deed  :'(

Next year we will be going to full Gotland (we have a beautiful Gotland Ram) and will also cross the Cormo's with him.
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Offline margaretsmall

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2012, 05:19:57 PM »
It's a long time since I owned sheep, but in the day we had a poll dorset stud and merino-border leicesters ewes from fat lamb production.  I remember the Dorsets were wonderful milk producers and the lambs tasted very good.  I think that you will be hard pressed to find a sheep which produces good quality/quantity of milk, meat and fleece - if your ewe is putting everything into the milk, there's not much left to grow good wool. My advice would be to look for a meat breed if you can't source any ewes from a sheep dairy. If you are just wanting some wool to spin yourself, the wool from the meat breeds is very easy to spin and fine for outer garments, floor rugs, etc.
Margaret

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #3 on: October 08, 2012, 08:46:00 PM »
ShadeyDaze,  Would you post a photo of your Gotland crosses?  I looked at that breed as a possibility and still think of them.  We ended up with a Soay/Icelandic cross called Cascade Farmstead Sheep.  I like them so far but don't have a lot to compare to.  Their udders are as big as those only dwarf Nigerian goats.

I have ram lambs to butcher this fall and wondered about having sheepskin rugs made of their skins....but Gotland are best for that I think.

Offline Shadeydaze

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2012, 06:58:46 PM »
I will have to go and take a picture ...I don't think I have a picture of the one ewe we got out of the lambs but easy done  :)

Can I ask (because we've got the shearer coming round on Monday ...do you want pics with or without fleece ..or both (I could any of those).

The latest bunch (the first lot were born 10 days ago) ...they are a Gotland cross as well but I'm sorry I'm not sure what the ram was (I just called him the thug...very heavy set meat breed)

Next year we will have pure Gotland ...as we have just acquired Magnus (well that's what I've called him) who is a pure Gotland.

Latest Lambs (Gotland cross with a meat breed)...this was at 24 hours old.


Magnus


I will try and get the others taken (before and after shots).
Two of the whethers have already been in the freezer and I have to say they were delicious....sorry if anyone's not into that but it's out life....so from a dual purpose point of view they were definitely a success...be interesting to see what pure Gotland produces as well from a milking and meat point of view.
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2012, 07:07:05 AM »
Wow, Magnus is cool looking.  Didn't know Gotlands could have whitemarkings or is that from his breeding up?  I am very curious about the size and temperament of this breed because I have a friend with the same sheep I have and he doesn't like how wild they are. Some of mine have become extremely friendly but his haven't.  I read that some Gotland are bred up from crossing with a smaller breed but haven't talked with anyone actually doing this to see the final size.  Any idea?  I'll post photos of mine but there's no one standing next to them for sizing ideas.  I am tall and they are a bit above my knee in height.  Thanks for taking photos and sharing!!

Offline Shadeydaze

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2012, 05:58:13 AM »
Wow, Magnus is cool looking.  Didn't know Gotlands could have whitemarkings or is that from his breeding up?  I am very curious about the size and temperament of this breed because I have a friend with the same sheep I have and he doesn't like how wild they are. Some of mine have become extremely friendly but his haven't.  I read that some Gotland are bred up from crossing with a smaller breed but haven't talked with anyone actually doing this to see the final size.  Any idea?  I'll post photos of mine but there's no one standing next to them for sizing ideas.  I am tall and they are a bit above my knee in height.  Thanks for taking photos and sharing!!
Magnus is rather gorgeous isn't he (but then I may be a little biased  ;))  The Soay/Icelandic cross are a lovely looking sheep - thankyou for posting the photo's of yours.

They seem quite similar in size to the Arapawa's we have over here...they are a fair bit smaller than the Gotland's and of course the Gotlands' don't have horns but I suppose the best way would be for me to measure one of the girls and Magnus so I can give you a measurement...will make it easier than trying to guess.

This is a picture of LOL - a Cormo (Corriedale /Merino cross), Magnus (Gotland) and a whether from last year (the ewe was a Corriedale cross - the ram a polled Dorset)...just to get an idea of size. I am just under 5'8" and he stands mid-thigh to me and he is a heavy set boy. He is actually (for a ram) quite laid back and is pretty easy to handle. The girls are slightly smaller although Freyja is just above knee, Baarbara a little taller.


I am still waiting to get hold of Magnus' lineage so not sure what this is to be honest - I got him from a friend who said he was pure bred Gotland but what that means I don't as yet know - I will let you know when I can get hold of that info....however re the breed standard my understanding is they can be spotted or not and the colour is grey.

I do have ewes one is black and brown coloured and then Baarbara and Freyja are a charcoal and light grey respectively.
 

As far as temperament if concerned I would have to say that is variable....the brown and black ewe I have are quite stand offish - unless you have food! Whereas Baarbara and Freyja are very "in your face" sheep as near to a dog as a sheep could get to be honest...and I know that Baarbara in her previous home when they were out let herself in and when they returned she was laid in front of the fire!!! I do think she's one of a kind although Freyja is a close second.
They are all fantastic mothers I have to say.
As far as I can see they have pretty large udders but never gone for milking sheep before I could be way off!! All I can say is my friend keeps Alpine goats and I would say they are easily as large as their udders. This is a picture from last year (Alf was 20 minutes old here) but it gives you a pretty good view of her udder....apologies it's not her best side!!


Again this is the ewes last year when the lambs were a few weeks old.


You should be able to copy them into a word document and enlarge them if that helps to get a better view.

I have to say ..the fleece is lovely(another long term project...when I get the loom put together!!), the meat of the crosses has been VERY tastey and temperament wise I have no complaints....Oh and they are really good on feet condition and flystrike resistance too....I'm pretty sold on Gotland's on the whole but I'm happy if someone has any other ideas.
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2012, 06:31:47 AM »
So sorry not to reply sooner!  Your photos are lovely and I especially like the rock star hairstyle on the white one on the left in the first Photo!!!   ;).  I'm wondering if mine will become even more friendly although perhaps not too friendly as I don't want them to let themselves in to lay near the fire!  That made me laugh.

I'm about to swap out rams with a friend with the same breed and start the breeding season.  Not looking forward to dealing with being careful around the flock.  It's easier when the rams are separate.  Maybe someday I'll have a ram I can totally trust although I'd keep an eye on him anyway to be sure.

The udders do look big.  Bigger than on my sheep.  I hope next lambing season goes well given that I'm have 6 ewes likely to have twins.  At least with the goats milking I'll be able to handle bottle babies if needed.

Offline Shadeydaze

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #8 on: November 13, 2012, 04:17:05 AM »
We've had 3 lots of twins and 2 singles this year which we are happy with....all lambed without any issues. Not going to be able to milk this year as I have injured my knee and have been on crutches !!!!...Ahh well another year.

Good Luck with your lambing...I'm looking forward to next year as we will be using Magnus so will get pure Gotlands from him with 2 of our girls (we are looking at selling 2 of our pure Gotland ewes and buying in new girls.....possibly more Gotlands but who knows!!
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Offline Tiarella

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2012, 07:32:55 AM »
SO sorry to hear of your knee injury and hoping it heals well! 

Why would you sell Gotlands to buy more Gotlands?  Or would you sell purebreds to buy partials to breed up with now that you have Magnus?


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Offline Tiffany

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2012, 11:14:13 PM »
I have been running finns for this purpose for apx 5 years now.  I tried mixing with other breeds and lost allot.  I am a cheese maker, and a hand spinner and yes, we eat the meat. 
I get a very high BF sweet milk, with a taste similar to raw jersey (we have them also)milk.
They are not a huge breed, so your not going to get a huge carcass, but you will get a very mild meat.  Finns keeep their fat internally, making their meat less.. ummmm sheepy than other breeds. 
Finns lamb in litters.  3-6 is not uncommon.  3-5 being most common, I have had litters of 7 and have heard of litters of 9.  The lambs are robust lil buggers, nice thing is if you get a litter of boys.. you have pleanty of meat.  Down side is you will have to supplement some.  I pull my ewes and bottle feed, they are friendly and very similar to goats.  They have no problem NOT being in a herd setting if I have to remove one. Their wool is unbelieveable. Tho its listed as a med. Wool breed, micron testing more times than not brings them into the fine wool catagory. 
Udders are large, with nice shape, decent sized teats.  I milk them from behind mostly because I like to, but they milk out wonderfully. 
We make sheep cheeses as well as I sell sheep milk soap. Finns also come in many colors, they are smaller so sheep coats not as pricy.  Hope this helps.
Tiffany
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Offline Shadeydaze

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2012, 12:53:36 AM »

...Why would you sell Gotlands to buy more Gotlands?  Or would you sell purebreds to buy partials to breed up with now that you have Magnus?

The two we have are like Houdini the Ovine edition!! ;D

Apart from that ...out of the ewes we have these two have never really "gelled" with the others (actually you could probably replace that "with me"  :-\). Not sure which way we are going to go with any newbies but we are always trying crosses to see what suits out needs best...sheep are a recent thing for us (we have done similar with pigs and chickens so far) but it's about finding the cross that gives us milk (I really want to make feta) and meat.

Tiffany - the Finns sound interesting...litters?!...6 at a time?!! Oh my goodness.  I don't know much about them at all but they are not common here in NZ - I think I may have to investigate some more..Thank you  :)

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Offline Bigfish

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #12 on: December 15, 2012, 06:13:23 AM »
I have been running finns for this purpose for apx 5 years now.

I have been looking for Finns for the last year. Thy are hard to come by in Australia. I have a 3/4 East Friesland 1/4 Finn ram and one p/b EF ewe but they do not do well in this hot climate.

I really envy ou!

Cheers,
Alan
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Offline caithd

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Re: Triple-threat Sheep
« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2013, 12:46:39 PM »
We have a flock of 55 purebred British Milk Sheep who we milk for making cheese. This is a larger breed but tall and lean. They are most certainly a "triple-threat" breed! We have lovely lambs born each year, first time ewes usually have singles or twins, after that typically twins or triplets.

They are great milkers with great maternal instincts. Our lambs are weaned early (around 45 days) but grow well and the meat is great. We have also had a lot of success processing the wool into yarns, duvets, etc. In one year they will grow about 8-10 lbs fleece and about 6-8 inches staple.

This is a newer breed developed in Britain in the 70's but is about 70% East Friesian originally. They were first imported into Canada in the mid-90's.