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Starting a hill flock

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  • 05-06-2021 9:01am
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭


    Looking at setting up a flock of hill ewes this year. I have access to a commomage and want to put this to use. My plan was to buy 40-50 mayo blackface or cheviot ewe lambs in late summer early autumn from the west. Anyone think this is a good idea or am I mad to start giving myself that hardship? What things should I keep in mind/look out for? Any advice appreciated.


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,681 ✭✭✭Birdnuts


    If u could source good stock within the existing or nearby commonages, that will make things easier in terms of hefting etc.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,922 ✭✭✭MayoAreMagic


    Birdnuts wrote: »
    If u could source good stock within the existing or nearby commonages, that will make things easier in terms of hefting etc.

    Id have thought that would be the last thing to do to be honest. Your sheep would go back to their homeplace and stay with the other farmers flock, which would be a disaster for both people.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,922 ✭✭✭MayoAreMagic


    DJ98 wrote: »
    Looking at setting up a flock of hill ewes this year. I have access to a commomage and want to put this to use. My plan was to buy 40-50 mayo blackface or cheviot ewe lambs in late summer early autumn from the west. Anyone think this is a good idea or am I mad to start giving myself that hardship? What things should I keep in mind/look out for? Any advice appreciated.

    I farm commonages with hill ewes myself. A lot depends in the ground to be honest with you, as regards what to go for. There is variation in the type of mayo ewes also, some are bred to suit different types of land etc. Where I am, nobody keeps cheviots as they dont seem to be able to stick it on the hills, but it might be different elsewhere.
    If it was me Id be looking at some mayo ewes to start with. They are probably the cheapest option of cheviots/lanarks/perths etc, and will probably last the longest also. You can always try others when you get established and settled down.
    Hefting them to an area is best done when there is grass on the hills, so from now on really. They will be happier to stay where you put them if there is something to eat. It isnt a hard job to get them to stay if you have covered your bases. A bigger problem can be the lad next to you who mightnt want you landing in beside him on a commonage, but they will generally get over it if you are persistent.


  • Registered Users Posts: 9,681 ✭✭✭Birdnuts


    Id have thought that would be the last thing to do to be honest. Your sheep would go back to their homeplace and stay with the other farmers flock, which would be a disaster for both people.

    Never really been an issue for us as most of the stock owners live nearby and only run 30-40 ewes each. I would have thought that someone starting off is better to start small and tap the experience of existing flock owners on the commonage


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭DJ98


    My biggest concern about the whole thing I suppose would be finding my patch as such. How do you know where to begin? Don't want any falling outs with those already on it for the past number of years


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,922 ✭✭✭MayoAreMagic


    Birdnuts wrote: »
    Never really been an issue for us as most of the stock owners live nearby and only run 30-40 ewes each. I would have thought that someone starting off is better to start small and tap the experience of existing flock owners on the commonage

    They would be absolutely. But in my experience hill sheep will tend to stick to their own group and have their own run on a commonage. So if I buy 10 from my neighbour and put them out again, the sheep just go back to the neighbours flock and stay with them on their usual run. So tap into their knowledge by all means, but buying a gang off a neighbour and them landing them out beside him again, is generally a surefire way to fall out with him! That would be the general consensus in my area anyway.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,922 ✭✭✭MayoAreMagic


    DJ98 wrote: »
    My biggest concern about the whole thing I suppose would be finding my patch as such. How do you know where to begin? Don't want any falling outs with those already on it for the past number of years

    Well if you own a share then you are as entitled as anyone else to be there first and foremost. Picking a place is worth putting some thought into though. Not being jam-packed with stock already would be the first step. Next, the more of it can be accessed by jeep or quad the better, saves a lot of time. Obviously dangerous areas or areas that would make it difficult to gather animals are things to avoid. Re falling out with a neighbour, if you are reasonable and fair then you should be ok. No harm to buy an odd breeding ram/ ram lamb off them also now and again, just to keep things on good terms.


  • Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭DJ98


    Didn't get around to doing this last year, but have went and bought 40 ewe lambs from kenmare and currently have them in a small paddock feeding them meal and trying to get them used to me and coming to troughs before going to the mountain. Would they be better going to the mountain before Christmas or should I keep them down low until the new year and then let to the mountain say around February or March and continue with the feeding?



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,015 ✭✭✭Sheep breeder


    Have you access to the hill from inside land, continue feeding meal and move to access point on the hill and then just out on the hill for a few days and then back in to inside land to get them use to coming back to that place and feed a bit of hay or silage around that area, also mark well with your brand and tell the other hill men about your brand and learn their brand. Will help when gathering sheep in.



  • Registered Users Posts: 1,331 ✭✭✭DJ98


    Hill is away from home farm so feeding inside ain't an option. Hoping that they'll get used to coming to the troughs down low and then when they go to the hill they'll come back each day for feeding



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