What breed for outdoor lambing

I'm absolutely sick of these Suffolk X mules. We stick a texel over them. All lambs go fat off farm.
If I was to choose a breed to not have to continually bash my head against a wall and put so many dead lambs in the bin and knacker myself trying.
If they don't lick, pee off or lay on them when u eventually catch them when I bring them in, lambs have no get up and go as there not mothered. It's just heartbreaking lambing these things.
There just fat and bloody lazy the ewes.
Ground is very wet on clay, might rule out woolly belly types or leaner mule types possibly.
Where should I start?
 

HarryB97

Member
Mixed Farmer
You will not go wrong with a romney, highlander, lleyn or Exlana. I run Exlanas from @Tim W and am very happy with them. I would not be to focussed on breed unless like me you don't want any of the hassle of wool which narrows it down straight away. What is more important than breed is the farmer selling them and the recording and management behind the stock you buy in.
 
Are these breeds actually as easy as they say? Better if like us you have come from anything with Suffolk in it. I get there are nz types but I'm put off.
I've got a big pack of red cable ties in the gator and anything I've got to help is getting a big tie through it's ear tag.

On a different note looking forward I'd prefer to go to something that we can breed our own replacements. Again sick of bringing in everyone's problems...
Happy this morning ain't I....
 
It's horses for courses. Suffolk mules have their place early lambing indoors but IMO lambing them out at this time is like running a sprinter in the Grand National. They're just not bred for it. The alternatives previously mentioned are.
 
IMG_20210403_102351_470.jpg
got 1100 of these devils, do chuck good lambs when they can be bothered. Just pulled into another field. 3rd check of the day. Set of twins unlicked, dead and 1 dead off another. God it pee'd me off. Ewes are off grazing with no care in the world
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Are these breeds actually as easy as they say? Better if like us you have come from anything with Suffolk in it. I get there are nz types but I'm put off.
I've got a big pack of red cable ties in the gator and anything I've got to help is getting a big tie through it's ear tag.

On a different note looking forward I'd prefer to go to something that we can breed our own replacements. Again sick of bringing in everyone's problems...
Happy this morning ain't I....

I don’t know if you’re happy, but it sounds like you’ve finally realised what a lot of us did years ago, when Suffolk crosses were booted down the road for being fat, lazy bitches that have dopey lambs.

A lot of Texels, being bred by the same gang as buggered up Suffolk’s, are getting the same way, but fortunately there are a few more sensible breeders there, than the rare ones in Suffolks.
 
I don’t know if you’re happy, but it sounds like you’ve finally realised what a lot of us did years ago, when Suffolk crosses were booted down the road for being fat, lazy bitches that have dopey lambs.

A lot of Texels, being bred by the same gang as buggered up Suffolk’s, are getting the same way, but fortunately there are a few more sensible breeders there, than the rare ones in Suffolks.
I realised it years so, used to run mules myself but as a contract shepherd with hopefully a bit of a say I'm looking to change a few things and with no ewe lambs bought in last year with them being dear I could be shopping for at least 300 shearlings and I really don't want to use what's always been that way attitude. Like I said I've experienced mules and it's like night and day. Just worry they won't go the distance on this wet ground. Have pretty good grass leys and these Suffolk's get too fat. I'm only giving twins and triplets a trickle of rolls mainly to avoid twin lamb only a month before lambing and lambs are massive
 

Nithsdale Farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
View attachment 951970got 1100 of these devils, do chuck good lambs when they can be bothered. Just pulled into another field. 3rd check of the day. Set of twins unlicked, dead and 1 dead off another. God it pee'd me off. Ewes are off grazing with no care in the world


Do you mean 3rd check of that group today, already? :oops:
My lambing is drawing to an end. I only go round them x3 in a whole day

If they're as bad as you're saying how did you ever get up to 1100 of them without calling time already?


Forget breeds for a moment - you need to decide what you want the flock to do (Obviously easier/better lambing without as much work/assistance) - do you want high quality fat lambs or would you be happier with plainer lambs. Do you sell direct or through the market. Do you want as many lambs as possible - 200% scanning - or would you happier with 160%?... Until you start asking yourself these questions and have your own answers (no answer is wrong, just say what you want/need and what your ground can do), then we can start talking breeds...
 
Do you mean 3rd check of that group today, already? :oops:
My lambing is drawing to an end. I only go round them x3 in a whole day

If they're as bad as you're saying how did you ever get up to 1100 of them without calling time already?


Forget breeds for a moment - you need to decide what you want the flock to do (Obviously easier/better lambing without as much work/assistance) - do you want high quality fat lambs or would you be happier with plainer lambs. Do you sell direct or through the market. Do you want as many lambs as possible - 200% scanning - or would you happier with 160%?... Until you start asking yourself these questions and have your own answers (no answer is wrong, just say what you want/need and what your ground can do), then we can start talking breeds...
All lambs go fat direct. Usually off turnips or good grass around 20-22kg dead. I'm not too bothered about a massive persentage scanning as it only means more triplets and bottle feds. Just want mother's that want there lambs and make it easier for us.
With the amount of checking we are over run by walkers, can't possibly have something dead laying about...
 

Jerry

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Devon
I lamb outside. Just about finished fir the year now with just 3 ewes left.

Ewes are all Lleyn, 70% home bred now.

I can honestly say this year has been the best lambing I’ve had, partly thanks to the weather for sure, but ewes have done the job very well.

I’ve barely touched a single and pulled very few doubles.

Best night was over 20 ewes lambed over night on their own. All lambs up sucked and happy.

I’ve worked hard to get the right rams, maternals are performance recorded from a very good flock. Terminals are charollaise selected to be easy lambing.

Lambing is pretty hands off. Singles are set stocked, lamb and stay where they are.

Doubles are lambed and moved to new grass once dry. They have plenty of room in lambing field do they can go off in their own to lamb.

Definitely breed up your own ewes, they will know you and won’t be flighty and suit your system.
 

R.Dutchman

Member
Location
Devon
Surely the the advantage of suffolk mules is the early lambing, there are plenty of suffolk/mule X char fat lambs making good money at the moment ... I breed suffolks but I wouldn't be lambing them outside in April, I've got lleyn X Highlanders for that job.
 

Nithsdale Farmer

Member
Livestock Farmer
All lambs go fat direct. Usually off turnips or good grass around 20-22kg dead. I'm not too bothered about a massive persentage scanning as it only means more triplets and bottle feds. Just want mother's that want there lambs and make it easier for us.
With the amount of checking we are over run by walkers, can't possibly have something dead laying about...

Walkers are a bloody pain. With the good weather, we have had more than normal about here. So I put a post on the local community Facebook page explaining I was in the middle of lambing and the only way up the hill is through the lambing fields - trying to put them off from coming.. it backfired and the post brought even more people :banghead:

My lambing can echo @Jerry pretty much this year - I had an issue at the start and lost more ewes than normal but lambing itself has been very good. I too am running (Homebred) Lleyn ewes - but I use Texel instead of Char tups for fat lambs.

There's that many options open to you I don't want to say you should use this breed over that breed or anything like that. Romney, Lleyn, Cheviot, Exlana, Easy are or other wool shedders... they will all do a good job for you. Just pick whichever you like the most and go with it. If it doesn't work, try the next one
 

jendan

Member
View attachment 951970got 1100 of these devils, do chuck good lambs when they can be bothered. Just pulled into another field. 3rd check of the day. Set of twins unlicked, dead and 1 dead off another. God it pee'd me off. Ewes are off grazing with no care in the world
The Suffolk x out of a traditional mule ewe(BFL on a Blackie or Swale) are quite highly thought of around me. Alot of people like them,prolific and usually good mothers and milky.But the ones i see look different to the one in the picture.The heads are blacker and finer,and dont have wool on them.That one looks too "suffolky".Maybe you are buying them from the wrong farm?
 

Keepers

Member
Location
South West
Like others have said, don’t get hung up on the breed, more what it’s selected for and how
A Suffolk is/was originally a terminal sire and a mule is selected for being a female lamb with a pretty face
So there’s an awful lot more choice out there which is going to be better maternally than a Suffolk x mule
My exlanas are checked 3x a day during lambing, but I know plenty other maternal breeds doing the same (Lleyn, Romney, easycare, hill ewes)

Do a bit of research, and go visit a few flocks, breeds that select and cull hard for maternal traits is key

If I wanted woolly sheep I’d go for Romney’s, no wool exlana

I need to up numbers this summer, but this time with some woollies so it’s going to be a Romney shopping trip
 

exmoor dave

Member
Location
exmoor, uk
Do you mean 3rd check of that group today, already? :oops:
My lambing is drawing to an end. I only go round them x3 in a whole day

If they're as bad as you're saying how did you ever get up to 1100 of them without calling time already?


Forget breeds for a moment - you need to decide what you want the flock to do (Obviously easier/better lambing without as much work/assistance) - do you want high quality fat lambs or would you be happier with plainer lambs. Do you sell direct or through the market. Do you want as many lambs as possible - 200% scanning - or would you happier with 160%?... Until you start asking yourself these questions and have your own answers (no answer is wrong, just say what you want/need and what your ground can do), then we can start talking breeds...


Bingo!
Great answer Nith!

I think too many people load expectations on a given breed, without working out what they want to achieve in the first place,
Then of course it's all the breeds fault when it doesn't work out!
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



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