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Livestock/Deadstock

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:01 pm
by Hen-Gen
So 18 months ago I imported a Black Welsh Mountain ram. He was from a top breeder and a show winner only being sold to prevent inbreeding. On his 6 month blood test (compulsory here) he was found to be carrying a disease called Caseous Lymphadenitis and was destroyed. Unexpected but not a disaster because he had impregnated three ewes so I could keep one of his sons (CLA is not spread by the act of mating). As luck would have it the ewe from which I wanted to keep a son had three gimmer lambs (females). These were sold. So I had no choice but to import another ram of the same breed which I did last June. He was in good health and I was looking forward to mating him in 3 weeks time.
Today my neighbour found him dead in a field he shares with eight other rams. Death was almost certainly due to fighting. Either a broken neck or a broadside from a third ram whilst he and another were head to head. Such things are in the nature of rams and most sheep breeders can recount similar tales.
Sometimes one has to surrender to fate. Perhaps I am not destined to incorporate this breed into my bloodlines. A neighbour has already offered me the use of a Black Shetland ram. So it’s going to be Rouge/Zwartbles/Shetland hybrids next Spring for me from which I have to select a promising ram lamb when I really wanted Rouge/Zwartbles/Black Welsh Mountain hybrids.
C’est la vie!
Now that’s £150 for the first ram plus £90 shipping costs and £150 for the second ram plus £120 transport costs equals £510 and nothing to show for it. Sorry to be mercenary but we all have to live in the real world!

Re: Livestock/Deadstock

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:36 pm
by chrismahon
Sorry to hear that tale Hen-Gen. Strangely the term "where you have livestock you will get deadstock" I first heard from a breeder of two horned Jacobs. We bought two to graze first on our orchard and then for the freezer but one died within a few days after 'scouring' I think it was called? Perhaps sheep are more problematic than anything else? Someone else told me that sheep spend their entire lives looking for a way to die, falling off cliffs or getting tangled in fencing being two examples. Prior to leaving England our last Texel ewe went to a friends flock and promptly contracted liver fluke and died.

We're in the process of improving our very poorly land ready for grazing, although we may not go down that route I realise that I won't be able to scythe hay forever. We know someone with Oessants which may be inexpensive as they don't really have a breeding programme as such, they just keep multiplying!

Sounds like an expensive business buying in Rams- not something we can afford with the current exchange rate. I guess we'll just get some ewes as pet grass mowers which, if it doesn't save much time will save the cost of fuel and servicing.