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Sheep Breeding

The Limousine Breed

The Limousine Breed © Paul Billiet

Appearance: A long head with ears held horizontally and pointing forwards.

Mass: Adult ewes: 60-85 kg Adult rams: 75-110 kg

Growth rate: Quite slow. The lambs reach about 23 kg when they are 70 days old.

The Limousine breed is a sheep which can live in harsh conditions where the food that it grazes is poor in quality. It is usually reared by farmers in mountainous regions. The females (ewes) of the Limousine breed can give birth to their lambs at any time between the months of September and June. The ewes are also very good mothers; they look after their lambs carefully in the difficult mountain climate.

The Suffolk Breed

 

The Suffolk Breed © Paul Billiet

Appearance: A short, black head with long ears which point downwards.

Mass: Adult ewes: 65-90 kg
Adult rams: 80-150 kg

Growth rate: Fast growth rate. At 70 days old the lambs can reach nearly 30 kg.

The Suffolk breed is easy to recognize with its black head. It is a sheep which needs a rich pasture, so it is normally reared in the lowlands. The lambs grow very quickly but they are not very robust. The ewes give birth mainly in the months of February and March.

To summarize The Limousine breed grows slowly but it can tolerate poor quality grazing and a harsh climate. The Suffolk breed needs good quality grazing but its lambs grow very quickly.

What would happen if we breed these two types of sheep together? The sheep produced in this way are called Suffolk X Limousine hybrids. A hybrid is the offspring produced when we breed together two different breeds of animal or plant You can see from the picture that the Suffolk Limousine hybrid looks a bit like both of it, parents. The head is not completely black, like the Suffolk parent, nor is the head completely white like the Limousine parent.

Suffolk X Limousine hybrids © Paul Billiet

What is more important to the farmer is that the Suffolk X Limousine hybrid lambs grow quite quickly even when the grazing is of poor quality. It is often true that hybrids like this one show the best characteristics of both parents.

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