Broken mouthed ewes on twitter

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
To be fair I think disease and knowledge of what you're keeping (like not buying in single borns) will be the main reasons for going self replacing.
Those are indeed valid & important reasons, rather than buying from breeders who seemingly value head markings over anything much else.
For me, breeding a ewe that will produce without lots of feed input is quite high on the list too. A mule is the sheep equivalent of a Holstein cow ime, in high input systems they can work well enough, but put them in a low input system and their output is pitiful. Much like the Holstein, they will milk themselves to death if you don’t put the inputs in.

Much like in dairying, the most profitable systems are high input/high output and low input/moderate output. Those trapped in the middle, running a relatively high cost system, but with only moderate outputs, will always struggle.
 

JHT

Member
Location
Wales
That's why after 30 years of buying mules we have a list of outfits too buy from. It's very easy to be dropped from that list, takes a bit of doing too get on it! Old fell bought some very very smart ewe lambs out of Bentham a few years back. The most useless, gormless, idle, shallow sheep we have had for years. By the time they were 3 shears I'd shifted all but 2 of them. Never buying from them again!

Any mule 'won't' do!
 

Spartacus

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Lancaster
Those are indeed valid & important reasons, rather than buying from breeders who seemingly value head markings over anything much else.
For me, breeding a ewe that will produce without lots of feed input is quite high on the list too. A mule is the sheep equivalent of a Holstein cow ime, in high input systems they can work well enough, but put them in a low input system and their output is pitiful. Much like the Holstein, they will milk themselves to death if you don’t put the inputs in.

Much like in dairying, the most profitable systems are high input/high output and low input/moderate output. Those trapped in the middle, running a relatively high cost system, but with only moderate outputs, will always struggle.
I've found that completely false, our mules run alongside the swales, same diet in the build up to lambing and until weaning, average scanning 190% since we started with them and perform really well. Only time they are separate is for tupping.
 
Mules are bought on reputation. And exactly the same goes for BFL tups. No amount of recording will change that.

And just out of interest, if you had a flock of BFLs, what exactly would you record? Alternatively, you could leave it up to your customers (Blackface, Cheviot or Swaledale men) tol decide whether or not to buy them on how they perform, not on any recording you might do.

A breeder with the welfare of his/her clients in mind would measure and select for production and management cost saving traits that the breed in question can best use. These would vary in emphasis with breed and breeders desire to make a point of difference, but would share the main traits common to all maternal breeds.
Any flock not making progress for the main traits affecting efficiency will in time have profitability eroded by farm costs, unless that farmer is one of the few who sets the price of their products.

The question to me is not if they are recorded, but are the records used by the breeder thereby showing a trend of generational improvement for the traits that make and save money. Riding on such a breeder's coat tails is one of the only free lunches available in livestock farming.
 
It’s ok breeding your own replacements but one downside is if you need 150 ewe lambs you need an extra 150/ 200 hundred ewes to run!!
How do you figure that? Do you mean you buy gimmers and don't have to run ewe lambs over?

Otherwise surely you just keep 150 lambs instead of selling 150 fat lambs and buying 150 ewe lambs.
 
How do you figure that? Do you mean you buy gimmers and don't have to run ewe lambs over?

Otherwise surely you just keep 150 lambs instead of selling 150 fat lambs and buying 150 ewe lambs.
What I’m saying is you are going to sell 150 less lambs. There for you could keep less sheep and still sell the same amount of lambs as someone who breeds there own replacements.
 

Nithsdale Farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
What I’m saying is you are going to sell 150 less lambs. There for you could keep less sheep and still sell the same amount of lambs as someone who breeds there own replacements.

You can afford to sell less lambs, you're not having to buy 150 gimmers.

Dont worry about what someone else is doing - do the actual maths for your own business
 
Mules are bought on reputation. And exactly the same goes for BFL tups. No amount of recording will change that.

And just out of interest, if you had a flock of BFLs, what exactly would you record? Alternatively, you could leave it up to your customers (Blackface, Cheviot or Swaledale men) tol decide whether or not to buy them on how they perform, not on any recording you might do.
The BFL breeders that do record will take birthweights and possibly lambing ease assessments, eight week weights to establish early growth and maternal ability, 20 week weights for later growth, possibly backscanned to establish muscle depth and tupping weights as gimmers as a measure of mature size. If I were them I would also be making my own assessment of longevity, particularly with regard to teeth.

And of course, there's nothing to stop them doing the above and still selecting for breed character, ability to throw bonny heads when put to a blackie etc. As time went on more and more of their sheep would tick both boxes.
 

Moors Lad

Member
Location
N Yorks
Not guilty m`lord! There are some guys in this area that are doing and I have a lot of respect for what they are doing. There must be a lot to be said for breeding from proven performing stock - we might all be taking all forward steps instead of too many backward steps performance-wise, just because they look "pretty" ! It is noticeable that lambs by different swale tups DO perform differently when being fattened and usually half my lambs are born with testicles!!:D
 
You can afford to sell less lambs, you're not having to buy 150 gimmers.

Dont worry about what someone else is doing - do the actual maths for your own business
You’re home bred replacements still have a cost and running extra ewes to breed your replacements have extra cost/ land/ labour.
Im not worried what other people are doing ,I was pointing out a downside that I have found with breeding my own replacements!
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
You’re home bred replacements still have a cost and running extra ewes to breed your replacements have extra cost/ land/ labour.
Im not worried what other people are doing ,I was pointing out a downside that I have found with breeding my own replacements!
Your own replacements will cost a little more than the fat lambs you produce, which is usually substantially less than bought in replacements. You could argue that the maternal wether lambs are likely to make less than the terminal lambs that might otherwise be sold from those ewes, which is another cost to be carried by the system.

However, it allows you to breed replacements from known ewes, and with known disease status. There are a whole host of devastating diseases that can be bought in with incoming livestock, Mv and OPA being just two that are becoming more common, neither of which are given any consideration at most breeding ewe sales.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
Your own replacements will cost a little more than the fat lambs you produce, which is usually substantially less than bought in replacements. You could argue that the maternal wether lambs are likely to make less than the terminal lambs that might otherwise be sold from those ewes, which is another cost to be carried by the system.

However, it allows you to breed replacements from known ewes, and with known disease status. There are a whole host of devastating diseases that can be bought in with incoming livestock, Mv and OPA being just two that are becoming more common, neither of which are given any consideration at most breeding ewe sales.
And if farmed correctly the margin on those maternal wethers may not be that different.
 

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