Wiltshire sheep - good sheep for a beginner?

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16 years 1 month ago #11376 by Furball
This is all your fault Tigger! :D

I have become interested in Wiltshires for pasture cleanup after cattle have been over it. I'm currently running some Dexters, and find that although they are good at eating the grass, and to a certain extent tree saplings, they're fussy with broadleaved weeds. I've heard (a little bird told me) that Wiltshires are more of a browser than other sheep, so might be good for weed control.
So... Wilties, as they don't need shearing.
I've heard they have better feet than Dorpers, which is important as my paddocks get wet in winter (though I do have access to some well-drained land to put them on if the paddocks get really flooded.)

Are they placid or mental? Good with Hotwires/hot tape? Tasty? Suitable for a beginner who knows nothing about sheep? What would be a good number to start with? (I'm thinking some wethers, for the freezer) Anything I should look out for?

If I do take the plunge, does anyone recommend any breeders? I'd probably be thinking to buy some sometime next year.

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16 years 1 month ago #176478 by Telly
Aren't there a couple of wilti ewe lambs for sale around here somewhere?[;)]

Goats: 4 boers + 4 kids (all does[:D]), 1 saanen + 2 kids, 1 toggenburg.
Chickens: Barred Rock, Light Sussex, Araucana, pekins
Pigs now in the freezer

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16 years 1 month ago #176481 by Furball
La La La - I'm not listening!

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16 years 1 month ago #176485 by Valmai
Oh gosh ...Im thinking of perhaps....just maybe.... possibly.... getting a couple of Wilti ewes as well. Forget it. I shouldnt have said anything. I do not need anymore sheep!!!!

Carbon-based biological unit.

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16 years 1 month ago #176499 by reggit
You know how I feel about them :D . So I won't wah on about the positives.

Haven't tasted one yet, but others on here have raved about the meat [;)].

They are the only sheep breed we've ever had and they have certainly blown away all my misconceptions about sheep intelligence, behaviour etc. But that was probably because I knew Jack S**t about sheep in the first place, only having seen them as blobs on the horizon.

Problem is everyone on here has their own favourite breeds (isn't that right, Louimay? [}:)]) so everyone will rave on about the ones they like. Maybe its like dogs where each owner has to find their own perfect match :D .

We may have a buyer for the ewe lambs, strangely enough a lady called up the night after we decided that two were going, and she's going to let us know by Saturday if definitely interested. Had another guy call tonight after a ram lamb too, he's left it pretty late!

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 1 month ago #176515 by Louimay
I think they sound a good sheep for a beginner. I have been trying to talk my neighbours into getting some as they want some self-shedding sheep. If you don't have to worry about shearing it is one less thing to get confused about with blimmin sheep..LOL

So there ya go Tigger :p Didn't recommend the texels[;)]

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16 years 1 month ago #176521 by Inger
They are a good beginner's sheep. They tend to stay inside the fences, which I can't say about a few other breeds. Wethers are probably a good idea to start with. It'll give you time to get a few ewes lambs and a ram lamb at a later stage and then learn up about mating, feeding pregnant ewes and lambing.

45 hectares between Whangarei and Paparoa. Registered Dexter cattle, Wiltshire sheep - black, white & pied.
New Hampshire Red poultry & Dorking poultry. Pilgrim Geese, Appleyard Ducks.
A cat called Pusscat and still looking for another heading dog.

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16 years 1 month ago #176542 by reggit
Because we were newbies at it all, we started off with ewe lambs and kept them for a year before mating. It gave us a chance to get used to handling sheep and what we needed to do for basic sheep health, before we had to tackle all the issues around mating and lambing.

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 1 month ago #176543 by Furball
Sounds all good so far. Which breeders have the best shedders, in peoples opinion?

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16 years 1 month ago #176544 by reggit
Best advice we got was to only get wiltis that we have seen shed out completely, rather than take anyone's word for it - so if you are wanting 100% shedding lambs, around January/February after they are born...? You want animals that have 100% shedding a couple of generations back, good feet, good shaped poos etc. The prices around the place vary, but I tend to think you get what you pay for.

There are a heap of breeders around you, Furball, from Waikato to Auckland to Tauranga [;)] You need to visit a few and have a look at what they have. You also need to get in quick expressing your interest - we had so many people calling around for ewe lambs this year, we were referring them to other breeders all over the place! I assume it's the same for other breeders as ewe lambs are in big demand for those starting out...

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 1 month ago #176839 by scooter
Great sheep. Good do'ers.
We're very pleased with ours. Strong lambs, that hit the ground running.
Meat tastes yummy. Even the homekill processor was impressed with our last lot.

"My memory's not as sharp as it used to be.
Also, my memory's not as sharp as it used to be."

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16 years 1 month ago #176879 by JonC
Long time lurker, first time poster here. (I seem to be especially drawn to this site during the wettest, grayest most dismal days of our Pacific Northwet winters) We started a Wiltshire upgrade project in our flock a few years ago and really like the first crosses. The breed is pretty much unknown here so I'm always interested in hearing from others who have them. We've just started lambing here but the 2nd cross lambs we have on the ground out of Kiwi and Oz semen look great.

Jon

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgement.

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16 years 1 month ago #176889 by reggit
Hey JonC, welcome to the site :D three of my ram lambs this year went to folk who are putting them over other breeds and they promise to keep me in touch with photos etc of the resulting offspring.

Interesting re the semen availability there, does anyone know if this is available here?

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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16 years 1 month ago #176925 by JonC
I'm pretty sure you can get semen from the N.Z. ram we used there. We got it through Genetic Gains Ltd. They have a website. Not sure about the Australian ram. Wiltshire semen has been hard to come by here. We would have done some AI breeding last year but couldnt get any semen.

Jon

Good judgement comes from experience. Experience comes from poor judgement.

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16 years 1 month ago #176943 by Simkin
We've got Wiltis, too. Just 3. No fly strike, no foot rot, no lambing problems. Not daft, not shedding (should have done my homework there) and VERY tasty.

Their relative intelligence can be a problem, though. It is extremely difficult to catch them as we don't have a dog.

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