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Discussion in 'Livestock & Forage' started by Devil's advocate, Dec 8, 2013.
I will let you know later in 2014
Is that not the norm in France? Smaller flocks and more labour intensive generally, I think.
Agreed. We have mules and Suffolk x mules here on about a 50/50 split.
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?
Yes that is exactly what we are doing with our EasiTexels ( Imported from NZ )
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.
You can't beat a Rouge X Mule. Plenty of milk, excellent mothers and crossed to a Texel good lambs.
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!
And one with more of a sense of humour than I have....
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.
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
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
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.
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?
some exmoor mule x suffolk, poll and texel
some of the texels might be xlleyn
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.
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.
Look proper sheep to me
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.
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.