Best terminal ewe

Discussion in 'Livestock & Forage' started by Devil's advocate, Dec 8, 2013.

  1. Tim W

    Tim W Member

    I will let you know later in 2014
  2. neilo

    neilo Member

    Is that not the norm in France? Smaller flocks and more labour intensive generally, I think.
  3. Gatehouse Farm

    Agreed. We have mules and Suffolk x mules here on about a 50/50 split.
  4. Jackson4

    Jackson4 Member

    Will the mule eat less than a mule x texel? I doubt it would be much different. I wont have suffolks here again, but found the suffolk x mule milky. Any lamb with any mule colourings at the market make at least £5 less (the beltie x mule stores i mentioned in the beltie thread were the exception but the farmer is recognised to keep superb sheep)
    Meatlincs are probably too big to keep as a commercial ewe... Texel have a reputation for bad feet (local lad here talking of selling up and buying aberdales? aberfield?) Has anyone bred texels for wide pelvises and good feet off grass? I dont know much about them as a terminal ewe but the obvious one to me seems the Charollais from what ive heard... are they not milky, prolific and do well off grass? I use them as a terminal and find them fantastic easy lambers (narrow shoulders) but average feet (mine have soft feet) I have a few charollais x noe mule x dorsets and they are smaller, shapely and look a fine ewe... 200% lambing this year for the gimme lambs.
    So charollais put to a beltie/texel etc, or a x could be a charollais x lleyn put to a beltie/dutch texel etc. I personally wouldn't put a charollais back on as a terminal, but each to there own. The one problem i find with the charollais tups is they tend to be so lean, dont tend to carry any extra, no fat at all like a suffolk would, so this maybe wouldn't be great for a maternal flock, who could put on extra condition so could melt a bit, keep warm in adverse weather etc?
  5. easyram1

    easyram1 Member

    North Shropshire
    Yes that is exactly what we are doing with our EasiTexels ( Imported from NZ )
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2013
  6. spark_28

    spark_28 Member

    Western isles
    not a terminal ewe but ive always thought with some ruthless culling and selection that a cheviot x BF/swaledale would work the same if not better than the mule, it would require less attention and be more heavily stocked as its a smaller ewe. Some of my BFxCheviots will produce a set of twins at 30+ kg by sale day in september and thats coming off poor ground.
  7. Qman

    Qman Member

    Near Derby
    You can't beat a Rouge X Mule. Plenty of milk, excellent mothers and crossed to a Texel good lambs.
    S J H and _sheptastic like this.
  8. hindmaist

    hindmaist Member

    I agree.But you could say that of any breed or cross.Bfls would make excellent hill ewes if you culled and selected hard enough for long enough.Though that would need to be a project for a very young man!
  9. And one with more of a sense of humour than I have....
  10. CharcoalWally

    CharcoalWally Member

    West of Scotland
    I think on this West Coast unit which is exposed and windy [not conditions sheep particularly agree with] the Mule ewe lasts longer and is easier looked after as it gets older than the Tex X Mule. They may eat much the same , but when you look at the greater number of lambs reared from the Mule , then the Tex X ewe just isn't feasible on this farm.

    The Charollais I found to be milky for a short , sharp burst , maybe the first 3/4 weeks of lactation , then absolutely nothing after that. They were astonishingly prolific , they had far more lambs than they could rear each year!! :(:(

    I tried some of the Char. X Mule females as ewes on this place and I thought they were a disaster. Years back I used to sell a lot of my lambs as stores and a lot of my Char/Mules went to a buyer in Cheshire who drew out the ewe lambs for his own flock. Life on the West of Scotland was too hard for them to work out as a ewe , but Cheshire suited them down to the ground. He loved them. He thought they were pures!! [they weren't!!] and he found them prolific , maternal and milky. So I reckon a lot depends on your climate/location as to whether certain breeds will suit your unit.

    The Char. tup is more about muscle and a decent cover of flesh than fat IMO. I never found the tups to lack condition. They looked after themselves well , lived a long life usually.Why wouldn't you use them as a terminal again ? Is it the old outdoor lambing thing or do you have other reasons?

    Have never worked with anything like a Beltex/Texel ewe. My neighbours kicked their Mule ewes off many years ago citing them as too dear too keep [the usual reason]. They went to Shetland , then Shetland/Cheviot , then Texel X Shet/Cheviot , then Beltex X Texel. This year their farm is covered in Mule ewes again and they say they've got their first decent crop of lambs for years.
    neilo likes this.
  11. andybk

    andybk Member

    Mendips Somerset

    good measured post , the charollais is naturally prolific 180+ is not uncommon , though kept pretty commercially here so i wouldnt flush keep a few more ewes and be happy with 160% , some charollais as you say have a very short lactation and these tended to be the more popular flocks that have been imported , there are others that milk quite well , the french were working on that some years ago dont know where they are now ,
    maybe its something we should work on a bit harder within the breed , problem is quite a few popular flocks that are influential to the future direction are transplanting into milky recipients , so we are loosing touch with the rearing side .

    charollais mule isnt really going to work unless your lambing inside and out onto decent grass , to much leicester heritage both sides
    CharcoalWally likes this.
  12. sherg

    sherg Member

    People around here used to rate the rouge x as a good ewe don't see many about now though, an aberdale ram is basically a terminal sire selected for maternal traits as well as the inverdale gene
  13. neilo

    neilo Member

    A lot of Rouges have had an input from another similarly coloured breed to improve muscling and tighten fleeces. The same input won't have done much for milkiness, I suspect.;)

    We bred/bought & ran a few hundred Rouge cross ewes of various crosses in the early 90's. I wouldn't class any of them as being particularly milky or hardy, and none lasted very long. I wouldn't be going there again.
  14. Jackson4

    Jackson4 Member

    Interesting stuff CW... I wont have any experience of them as 50% maternal until this crop comes but people mention they have a good crop and are milky for a terminal so i thought it would make them the better terminal ewe?

    I wouldn't put the charollais back onto the charollais cross is what i meant, just because i lamb early in the pennines and my land goes up to the moor so i think 3/4 charly would be hard work for the little blitters... but again my 1/2 charlies, although looking wretched, have lived and gone as quick as my other breeds. Also, i have very easy lambing sheep, probably because they dont have such an extremely muscley backend and so i'm thinking of adding an extreme type like a beltie/texel etc as a terminal and hope they'll still lamb them ok, but sell better live? Dont know? I guess it comes down to the ewe you start with and the breeder you buy the charlies off. Maybe neil can tell us how his milk?
    CharcoalWally likes this.
  15. exmoor dave

    exmoor dave Member

    exmoor, uk
    some exmoor mule x suffolk, poll and texel
    some of the texels might be xlleyn

    20131210_083616.jpg 20131210_083621.jpg
  16. Certainly the Tex x Mule didn't come out well in that research done by Marks and Spencer and Focus genetics, which used the Mule as a benchmark. Lower prolificacy and higher production costs saw to that.

    Easyram's NZ Texels may be a different kettle of fish, however.
  17. neilo

    neilo Member

    Variable. But the best will still be a long way behind what I would hope for from a commercial ewe. IME, people that tell you their's milk well, have never lambed them alongside decent maternal sheep.;)

    I must say that, within the Charollais flock, I do select heavily on muscling & growth traits, rather than trying to improve milkiness particularly. I don't keep a stock ram from a 'poor' milking ewe though, neither will I sell one to a pedigree flock. If any customers tell me they are looking at retaining crossbred females (against advice), I will steer them away from certain rams too.

    To quantify my flock within the general population, I have bred several of the top maternal ebv rams in the breed, and is still rate them as poor milkers compared to most 'maternal' breeds.

    @CharcoalWally has it spot on, I'd say.:)
  18. As said early I find 50% Texel or Suffolk much easier to look after than a Mule, much less likely to go "walkabout". Lambs much easier to finish, easier to sell & generally settle better when housed.

    I prefer native breed suckler cows though for the same reason, quiet to handle & calves easy to finish.
  19. Don't think anyone has tried to make a case for pure bred terminal ewes. Just that Suffolk or Texel cross Mules are far superior to Mules on a decent farm with a decent Shepherd.

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