Cross breeding potential of Lleyns overlooked

With the host farmers running 1150 pedigree Lleyn ewes it was inevitable that the breed society would pull out all the stops at the Welsh Sheep event.

Though Eifion, Ann and Dewi Ellis are happy with 40kg prime lambs produced keeping the breed pure, they also want to sell surplus ewe lambs for breeding.

But like other members of the North Wales Lleyn Breeders Club they feel that the breed’s cross breeding potential is under appreciated.

So they and five other club members decided to use seven terminal sire breeds on Lleyns and exhibit the progeny at Welsh Sheep 2009. The Ellis family used Hampshire and Meatlinc tups on 120 ewes. Others used Charmoise, Beltex, Blue Texel, Charollais and Suffolk rams.

“We know about the Lleyn’s ability to respond to different management systems, but others do not,” said Ifor Jones, who used a Charmoise ram on ewes run at Pen y Bryn, Abergele.

“They lambed on 23 March and I am very pleased with the way they are growing. I hope potential customers for our ewes look at this cross, and the others, to judge whether the Lleyn can do a job for them.” Details of growth rates and grading results would be made available at shows held later in the year.

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