Is This Dual-Purpose Breed Right For You?
When it comes to raising sheep, it seems that everyone has their own opinion about which breed is the best. Some say that the Merino breed is an ideal choice for small farms, while others are adamant that nothing but Icelandic will do.
However, when you are trying to choose the right breed for you, there are some factors you should consider. For example, why do you want to raise sheep in the first place? Is it for meat, milk, or wool? Do you want to show animals? Maybe you just want some pets.
If you are thinking of raising sheep for meat or wool, then the Border Leicester breed is one that you need to consider. This heavy, humble breed is great for families and has many strengths that make it an ideal choice for many farms.
Here you need to know.
What is Border Leicester Sheep Breed?
A dual-purpose sheep breed, Border Leicester is usually raised for meat and wool. It is a polluted (hornless) breed with long wool and is native to Great Britain. However, it is also commonly raised in other sheep-producing areas such as Australia and the US.
These sheep have longer bodies (similar to those you see on other sheep breeds) with well-developed chests and ribs and a strong, wide back. They have black noses and unique ears that are large and upright. Their feet are black and both their legs and heads are free of wool.
The breed first came to market in 1767 in Northumberland, England. Its name comes from a combination of the origin of the sheep near the “border”, which the region shares with Scotland with the base stock of an animal of the Dissle Leicester breed. Frogs of this breed provide genetics with other breeds such as Tsewater and Cheviots.
There is little variation in this breed as both Cheviot and Teeswater Eve were historically used to breed with Disley Leicester. The two variants are colloquially known as Redlegs and Bluecaps, but both variants are quite similar. Redleg genetics are quite common in this day and age as it was the preferred version for farmers in the 1800s.
There are also English or “Disley” border Leicester available, too. These are the largest and have longer, heavier wools.
More often than not, the Border Leicester memes are crossed with Merino Ives. It offers all the benefits of excellent meat and wool production along with superior mothering characteristics of the Merino Ewe.
Because of this, when you decide to raise the border Leicester, but especially those crossed with Merino, you will benefit from sheep that are great for the production of meat and wool and have high fertility and excellent ability Provide.
The breed is sometimes even further crossed, with Border Leicester-Merino cross eaves with short wool breeds of memes such as Southdown or Pole Dorset. This is usually done for meat production as it produces cross ram which grows quickly and with ideal carcass quality.
In the US, the first breed association was formed in 1888, followed by another soon after. The associations are the North American Border Leicester Association and the American Border Leicester Association.
Reasons to increase range Leicester sheep
There are countless reasons to consider raising border Leicester sheep. Here are just a few.
1. Meat Production
Border Leicester sheep are known to be excellent meat sheep. Mature rams weigh over 325lbs, in most cases, while ewes can easily tip scales at 250lbs or more. The lamb reaches maturity early, producing high quality meat that is perfect for the market or your own dining table.
In fact, when fed for maximum benefit, lambs can reach 110lbs – the ideal size for slaughter – in less than 5 months.
Border Leicester sheep are often kept for wool. They usually produce white wool, which is long and shrunken, about 32–38 μm. It is ideal for the production of yarn that can be processed into medium or heavy weight fabrics.
The spinners received wool from Border Leicester due to its crunch and its overall luster and quality.
If you choose to raise these sheep for wool, there are some characteristics that you will appreciate. For one, they each yield about 4-7lbs of hair clippers. Of course, there is the highest wool yield in a year. You will usually need to raise these sheep twice a year, but we know that they are easy to shear because the head and legs do not have the wool to deal with them.
3. Fertility and Mothering Abilities
The ewes of this breed come to terms with fertility and their overall abilities as mothers. Most ewes will have either 1 or 2 lambs per lamb, and they are stiff and easy to care for, with few medical problems.
If you are looking for an ewe-lamb pair that will not require a lot of intervention at the time of the lamb, this is one to consider. Ewes are also reliable milk producers for their lambs, although they are not generally raised for commercial scale milking.
From lambs to ewes, Border Leicester sheep are known to be quite adventurous. The lambs are active and vigorous when they are born, gaining a lot of weight in the first 4 months alone. They easily handle both hot and cold climates.
In fact, Border Leicester lambs have a high survival rate even when they are first born under harsh climatic conditions.
This is because they are born with wool that is thicker than lambs of other breeds.
5. Using capabilities
Border Leicester are good forests and can generally survive on less feed than other breeds.
Although they will grow best, when they are provided with free choice grass, pasture and water, they can also survive on poor quality fodder.
Another reason people raise these sheep is that they are remarkably calm. They are easy to handle despite being conscious and aware of their surroundings. While they can handle human interaction well, their vigilance also lends itself well to being aware of predators. You can really have the best of both worlds with these sheep.
You need very little consideration when raising a Border Leicester sheep. In fact, this breed is one of the easiest to manage when it comes to just about every aspect of a cowboy, from feeding to handling, shearing and everything in between. They are harsh for most of the climate and do well with parent animals.
The only disadvantage to note when increasing the border Leicester is that some studies have shown that they may be slightly more prone to certain diseases. These include thin Ewe syndrome mastitis, arthritis, dyspnea, and pneumonia.
However, these diseases (except mastitis) are extremely rare. someone Herd. This should not discourage you from choosing Border Leicester for your home.
How to raise border leicester sheep
Raising the Border Leicester sheep is not unlike sheep of any other breed.
You will need reliable fencing around your sheep that is at least 4 feet high. Although the Border Leicester sheep are not escaping the cast in any way, a good fence can keep curious hunters out.
Of course, sheep grew entirely on natural pastures. Nevertheless, it is necessary to provide grain and supplemental grass, especially during the winter months. You can read more about sheep grazing in winter here. Clean water and a good mineral supplement are also important.
Are Border Leicester Sheep Right For Me?
After the 1970s, when there was a dramatic increase in the popularity of hand-spinning and related crafts, border Leicester became increasingly more common in the US. Because of this, if you want to start your own herd, they are relatively easy to find.
If you are interested in growing a herd of meat or wool producers, these are fast growing high quality sheep – if you are still on the hunt for the right breed, try them.
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