hope you've polished your sheep for tommorowI used to buy Dorset Mules from Exeter years ago to lamb at Xmas. They were fantastic sheep, milked well, pretty prolific. I changed my system to later lambing, so changed breeds. But as an early lambing ewe I don't think you can beat them
dopy lambs at birth wouldnt get out the bag , pure on pure ,lambs that dont really weigh well either or get too fat , Bit of continental blood makes all the difference , even the hybrid vigour of a cross is a bonus .I could pick out crossbreds and pures in the dark , that said the poll dorset is an excellent mother , milky ,will dig for grass through snow , breeds out of season ,a charollais x is a great fat lamb, (a message to the breeders work on the feet and push the ewes not the rams )Not being funny but what's wrong with a straight Dorset in ur opinion? iv got several and crossed with a texel or Suffolk they make great lambs for killing even the straight Dorset lambs are pritty good? Just interested in why people look to cross am I missing a trick?
I've heard they're bothered with sore feet would the Dorset mule not be better in this respectHaving grown up lambing 300 pure Dorset ewes in Nov/Dec I would never go back to them, as @andybk says, great mums but the lambs dont have much get up and go, feet issues as well.
I still do like the look of them though and keep being tempted to buy a few but have resisted so far, sure they would cross well with my charlie tup but do I want the aggro of the ewes, bigger and hungrier than my Lleyns with worse feet??
the 5 year old girls were around 90kg -115kgs for twinning girls, so big girls.They have some great traits, and some not so good ones, any purer dorset types out of my dorset mules have been a bit dopey, seem to lie down quite a bit and a look soft, whether they are or not. The dorset mules are a mixed bag of foot issues, here mostly the bfl/swaley throwbacks have had worse feet than the dorset types, dont know why really? Very few sheep with lanky legs, roman noses or coloured face and legs here now on feet issues.. I doubt there has been much focus anywhere on feet.
Once you cull alot of crap the dorset mules which are left are good growthy, milky sheep. They suit early lambing and a race to market, but cant compete with the lean meat and backends of 3/4 texels etc later in the year live. Certainly have good growth the dorsets, as a breed have come on leaps in the last 10 years, second to meatlincs i think Other thing apart from being growthy and milky is they can carry part weight into winter on their backs so you dont feel they are on a knife edge of nutrition, downside to this is if you let their lambs get a bit big they can grade a bit fat.
They regularily scan at 220/230% down south, i lambed 230% last year with them. They were about 5 kg more than straight mules when i bought them, but they get bigger as they get older, 8 weeks after last lambing the 5 year old girls were around 90kg -115kgs for twinning girls, so big girls. Remember the guy i bought them off saying they cull well. I got them because of the flexibility of early lambing without any drugs etc on what was a farm going out of dairy over a few years and i was part time, so lots of winter dairy grass etc. Not a great long term plan for a pennine farm but great experience. I dont lamb early with them now though but do like the growth aspect you get with them, which is why a high stocking rate and selling dead off grass is probably the way i will stay.
Otherside though is the maintenance as they get older, you win on one hand.. were are you from glensman anyway? Alot of dorset breeders and dorset mules are on the south coast, bit off a shorter winter down there. What breeds do you have glensman?the 5 year old girls were around 90kg -115kgs for twinning girls, so big girls.
Cull price should be high then.
I'm from n.ire the north east corner, more dorsets here than you might expect, my next-door neighbour has dorsets, my sheep are continental cross texel/charollais/rouge, don't know if it's a good idea or not.Otherside though is the maintenance as they get older, you win on one hand.. were are you from glensman anyway? Alot of dorset breeders and dorset mules are on the south coast, bit off a shorter winter down there. What breeds do you have glensman?
I've seen a reasonable number of Dorset cross Mules that all had clean heads. Not sure if they are all like that or not, but the Dorset rams used were pretty woolyNobody's mentioned the woolly heads yet? Selling live, you can knock a chunk off anything with a woolly head, purely because they are associated with fat Dorsets.