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Questions about Cheviots

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Tell me, HONESTLY how bad are the Cheviot? I've been wanting about a handful of Cheviot ewes to cross with Dorset or Dorper. It's kind of an 'experiment' that I want to try. After reviewing each sheep breed's traits, good and bad, I've decided that I would like to end up with DorsetxDorperxCheviot. I've heard that Cheviot are fence breakers and don't flock well. I've also heard that Cheviot are resistant to worms and hoofrot. Another question - Do Cheviot breed out of season?

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Misty,

 

What are your plans for the cheviots. Are you talking how are they for working dogs, or are you mainly interested in them to be able to sell as meat sheep etc?

 

I have some cheviot/tunis crosses. They are small, which is good for when you try and do anything with them and they launch themselves into the air like a rocket, I can grab them mid-air and flip them

 

I like them for working the dogs, but not as a group with just the cheviot/tunis sheep, unless it is a dog at least 2. When working them with the dogs, they tend to have a mind of thier own and are willing to split unless the dog holds the pressure just right.

 

Good points are:

 

1. throw a few in and you can teach a dog to shed, as they will split off more easily

 

2.but 1-2 into a group of other sheep and it will lighten the other sheep, but still make them very workable

 

3. work them by themselves and it will teach a dog that is at least partially trained to keep his sheep together.

 

I have not had them jump fences (knock on wood) if they did they would be out of here, as we border a major highway.

 

Nancy O

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They are a bit on the crazy side but they make good mothers, if a little overprotective.

 

Someone told me the best situation is to have about 1/4 Cheviot in the flock. That way you get a lot of the good features you mention and it cuts down on the "crazy." Most of my flock is now 1/2 to 1/4 Cheviot. I've been using Cheviot/Dorsett cross rams and have been pleased with the results. The lambs are very hardy. They generally rip the sack open themselves, jump right up, and chase the mom down to nurse in no time flat.

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Personally, I love them. Great mothers, hardy lambs. They stay light forever and are great for advanced dogs. Most of our flock is either purebred or earlier crosses from our Blueface Leicester ram. I've had an ongoing project that got derailed a bit to breed black mules ie black Cheviot/Leicester crosses by using a ram with a bit of black Corriedale in him for the colour genetics.

Interestingly, all the lambs from the wool ewes crossed to the Dorper this year have been black with maybe a spot of two of white on them.

A.

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One of my favorite crosses is a 50/50 Dorper Cheviot cross.....the dorper tones down the craziness. Both breeds are excellent mothers...altho' the Cheviot is much more protective and aggressive.

 

I have used a NC Cheviot ram for the past two years and have been very pleased with the vigor of the lambs. I will probably used another type of ram this year because I don't want my % to climb higher than 50% Cheviot. I am considering a Montadale (derived from ColumbiaxCheviot) or Border Leicester.

 

Does anyone have experience with either??? My ewes are large and I'd like to increase the size of my lambs without losing too much of the hardiness. Right now my operation is pretty low input and I'd like to keep it that way.

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I had some Columbias for a while and despised them. Dumb as rocks. Though they were good mothers and had giant good-growing lambs. I just don't like a sheep I have to lead to the food.

 

I'm planning to try a Cheviot ram I just got on my 1/4 Texel replacements. I'm very excited about the prospect, though my ultimate plan is to go with Dorset ewes, percentage Dorset ewes, and Texel terminal sires.

 

A little Cheviot is always good though. I liked my Cheviot crosses just fine, they were too scrawny though, being crosses on a low-quality hair ram.

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Thanks for everyone's responses and input.

 

This would be for a commercial sheep farm. So, yes they would be meat lambs. However, the ewe lambs that we retain would hopefully be used to help work the dogs (if I ever get that far).

 

In my researching of the traits, I was hoping that the DorsetxDorperxCheviot cross would give me the dosicility of the Dorper (and Dorset) breed to tone down the 'crazy' in the Cheviot. I was hoping I would manage to retain some of the hardiness and worm/footrot resistance of the Cheviot. And, from my experience and research, all three tend to be good mothers - I am SO sick of bad mothers or psycho mothers. I also hope that this cross would give me a good sized lamb for auction.

 

The only dorper we have (well, she is 7/8 Dorper) has consistantly had twins and her lambs have consistantly been the fastest growing and 'nicest' lambs of the season. We do, however, need to 'breed out' any color... our shearers will not take colored wool, and for other reasons, we do not generally keep colored sheep. Our single Dorper is an exception, as we are getting lucky lately and getting mostly white lambs out of her. Last year, we had beautiful twins out of her that were all white with the exception of a brown spot or two. We planned on keeping the ram out of her, but he fell ill and we lost him. This year, she had ram twins... one white and own black. Again, we plan on keeping the ram for future breeding purposes.

 

Again, thank you for your input... this is something that I have been wanting to try for awhile, but have recieved resistance and the 'she doesn't know what she's getting into' attitude from the men sheep farmers as soon as I mention Cheviot.

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Misty,

If you really like the dorper, there are white dorpers you could use for breeding purposes. I don't know the likelihood of white dorpers throwing lambs with color, but you see plenty of adverts for white dorpers (which implies to me that it is possible to get white consistently), and the Oklahoma State website even shows pictures of pure white dorpers (along with the black-headed). Anyway, if you Googled on "white dorper" you could find some web sites and ask breeders about the best way to breed the color out....

 

Just a thought.

 

J.

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I think Denise did a bit of work in her own flock managing the "color" out. I'd love to hear what she says on that subject.

 

One thing I know, white is dominant, but color is recessive, so if you've got color genetics already, it will pop out unexpectedly for many generations. The Dorper is genetically black, with the white extention (ie, Irish type markings). I can't tell you whether a white Dorper (which is a seperate breed, by the way - a MUCH more expensive beast too!) is genetically solid white color or has the allele for the Irish markings to extend all over, or whether it is both. You'd have to breed to a colored sheep to find out.

 

Anyway, the point is that a white Dorper might not be the way to go if your goal is to stay away from the black - they WERE developed from the Dorper proper and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if the odd one carried black.

 

By the way, your shearers take fleeces with hair mixed in them? I'm four generations away from my hair ram and still have pretty much worthless wool. How do you do that?

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I have a white Dorper ram and have not got any color out of him in three years now. I've been crossing him on polypay ewes and get some nice lambs.

If you are interested in Cheviots I think the Bewleys, up in Holmes county, have Cheviots. They have a web site I'll see if I can find the link for you. They are probably halfway between us. Chris Thompson, over by Sidney, has some nice Dorpors at very reasonable prices. He has been running an add in the Working Border Collie.

 

Kevin

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Becca wrote:

 

I think Denise did a bit of work in her own flock managing the "color" out. I'd love to hear what she says on that subject.
Uh, actually I sold all my hair sheep several years ago. Not that much work really, and an instant solution for managing the color out :rolleyes:

 

I didn't sell them for that reason though. I just decided I didn't want any hair sheep.

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I don't know what venues you mean but I cross my primarily Dorset white-face wools to cheviot to improve the hardiness of my small commercial flock. What's wrong with that?

 

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Denise,

If you check Chris' web site, you'll see that they raise show sheep. So I'm guessing crossbreds are simply not in their realm of what's considered good. In other words, we're talking apples (commercial flock) vs. oranges (show flock) here.

 

Just my opinion of course, and surely Chris will respond as well.

 

Given that the border cheviots I have had experience with are like barbs in wool clothing, I think crossing them with other wool sheep wouldn't be a bad thing, especially if you can keep the hardiness and good mothering abilities and lose some of the craziness....

 

J.

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Denise,

I'm curious how old the lamb is in that picture you posted above and if you know about what it's weight is and what is the percentage of dorset/cheviot. It's a nice looking lamb.

 

I'm changing my flock over from kathadins to wool, I don't particularly like the purebred registered dorsets I have, seem dumber than sh** and are poor to work dogs on, crossed with a tunis ram this year for some of the lambs but like the look of that lamb in your picture.

Nancy O

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Hi Nancy,

 

I just walked out in the pasture to check for any ewes lambing and located this ewe in the picture to check her lambs. The one you can see the most of in the pic is one of a set of twins, about three to four weeks old. I don't know their weight - maybe 40lbs?

 

They would be half Cheviot. The ram was half reg Border Cheviot and half pure-blooded Dorset. The mom is a half Border Cheviot half mostly Dorset so the lambs are half Cheviot and pretty much half Dorset. They aren't very big but their build is very tidy and their carcasses have a good yield. They're a little on the crazy side but not too bad. Plus they're smarter and livelier than the pure-blooded Dorset I've had.

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Remember, there are TWO kinds of Cheviots; the North Country & the smaller Border Cheviots.

 

My Border Cheviots are tough, hardy, easy lambing & easy keepers. They are the fastest sheep alive. Two years ago. I had to buy dog-broke schooling sheep in order to properly start my young dogs. The cheviots had the alarming habit of crashing into the fence & breaking their necks! Interestingly, I have several ewes that are half Cheviot & half Black Welsh Mountain that never, EVER run into the fence. I suspect that those same black ewes have no skeletal systems, the way they can flatten out & ooze through the tiniest gap in or under the fence.

 

They (the Cheviots)are easy to shed & stay fresh forever. They are very seasonal breeders. I get good prices at market for my feeder lambs, which thrive on nothing more than good pasture. I have sandy soil & never have to trim hooves, which is a good thing because these sheep can be hard to handle. It seems the smaller they are, the faster they move & the harder they kick.

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Thanks for the information about the types of sheep. I may be looking into the border cheviots to breed to the dorsets and dorset crosses.

nancy O

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Ha, Chris,so you agree that any training session that involves disposing of a dead body is not going well?

 

A prominent breeder of both Border Cheviots & working BC's told me it's a Cheviot trait. I don't have any trouble with the trained dogs, but will NOT work them with youngsters!

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Kay posted

The cheviots had the alarming habit of crashing into the fence & breaking their necks!
I'm so glad other people have had this trouble too. I have to tell you Cheviots are not alone in "suicide by fence" - Saxon Merinos will do it too. It's happened to me twice :rolleyes: I was really upset, but my trainer reassured me that a) my dog hadn't done anything worse than she'd done before - it just had a worse outcome; and :D it had happened with her dogs in that particular yard too. I still hate that yard, though - which is a pity, because it's the access to the forcing yard for when we're racing off sheep on one part of the property.

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