dorset/mules

glensman

Member
Location
North Antrim
My neighbour is a poll Dorset breeder he often tells me about Dorset cross mule ewes sold at the may fair, he thinks they would be an outstanding ewe, has anybody any experience of them.
 
Location
Norfolk
I 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
 

taff

Member
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?
 

glensman

Member
Location
North Antrim
Nothing wrong with straight Dorset, in my area( north Antrim) ten years ago you wouldn't see them now they're very common and that's lambing all months of the year as far as I can see. Possibly crossed with the mule they might have that bit extra again as a ewe.
 

andybk

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Mendips Somerset
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?
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 )
 
Last edited:

Jerry

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Devon
Having 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??
 

glensman

Member
Location
North Antrim
Having 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??
I've heard they're bothered with sore feet would the Dorset mule not be better in this respect
 

taff

Member
We footvac all the ewes but still get a fair bit of strip. Back along we kept some of the Tex x Dorset ewe lambs to try and clean up the legs and face a bit and to be fair they have been great although they tend to make a habit of getting stuck on there backs
 

Jackson4

Member
Location
Wensleydale
They have some great traits, and some not so good ones, th couple of dorset types out of my dorset mules iv kept as hogs look 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. Much like most breeds really.

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.
 
Last edited:

glensman

Member
Location
North Antrim
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.
the 5 year old girls were around 90kg -115kgs for twinning girls, so big girls.
Cull price should be high then.
 

Jackson4

Member
Location
Wensleydale
the 5 year old girls were around 90kg -115kgs for twinning girls, so big girls.
Cull price should be high then.
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?
 

glensman

Member
Location
North Antrim
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'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.
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Nobody'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.
 

jemski

Member
Location
Dorset
Everything everyone has said.... I used to use Dorset Rams but the lambs were just too fat. The crossbreed ewes were great but got too big and fat. Lambs were also on the lazier side - Dorset ram on a Suffolk mule = the laziest, stupidest lambs ever. Wow did they test my patience....
I have a handful of the x ewes left. They would be carrying well over 200% and they will probably finish them in the top 20% as they are very good mothers and milk like trains... but they have terrible feet.
The last ram I bought had some Aussie blood and he was smaller, leaner, less woolly and had a better back end. If I could find another like him I'd be tempted to put some Dorset blood back into the maternal side one day. As long as it had perfect feet.

I also bought 30 Dorset x Suffolk ewes off a hobby farmer as she lost her land and didn't want them culled. I felt for her as that's how I started and bought them off her cheap. Not cheap enough!!! Lazy, dumpy little ewes that could barely be bothered to push, let alone stand up after they had lambed! I culled hard after the first lambing! I still have a few of those left, the ones that actually made an effort, and they are very sound, and put to a Charollais wean 2 lambs as big as themselves.
 

Carbon Week - 1 to 5 March.

  • 161
  • 0
Carbon Week

Carbon Week is a series of AHDB events, taking place from 1 to 5 March.
The webinars and panel discussions will feature a range of speakers and are for farmers and growers interested in understanding more about the carbon cycle, carbon auditing, reducing emissions and the opportunities around this.
More information about each session can be found from these links:
Top