[Jacob-list] breeding for polycerates
patchworkfibers at alltel.net
Sun Oct 16 19:03:37 EDT 2005
I'm hoping to see more on this topic. My first Jacob ram was a two horned (he sired lambs with SUED, by the way). He and his line were culled for numerous reasons. Since then, I haven't used a two horned ram. I don't have a big enough flock to make any assumptions, based on what I've seen here.
I have heard from larger breeders that using a two horned ram will help to bring the hornset when used on forward horned used. I did this backa**wards once by using a forward horned ram on a two horned ewe (what was I thinking!) and did get twin ewes with quite nice hornsets. Forward horns have seemed to be highly heritable in my limited experience. Another thing I've heard is that "rainbow" horns are somehow related to fused horns. I did get my first two fully fused (as in fused the entire length of the horns - not fused at the base) ram lambs a ram with "rainbow" horns. Also got a bunch of nicely spaced and set horns. I haven't noticed that breeding four horn to four horn necessarily leads to weak laterals on ewes. Again - this is over 10 years in a small flock (13 ewes at the most). I do think that a close look at the ram's maternal line is a good idea and that the test of a ram is what sort of ewes he sires. The rams I've that had massive horns and good spacing also had massive heads.
I hope more people will respond to your post, specifically how heritable is the direction horns grow?
On Thu, 13 Oct 2005 11:23:16 +0100, gordon johnston wrote:
> I would like the advice of those breeding 4 horned Jacobs please.
> It has been suggested to me that for good strong horns it is better
> to use a heavy horned 2 horned ram over 4 horned ewes ; has anyone
> tried this and what are the results ? The theory is that 2 and 4
> horned animals have the same horn mass, divided between however
> many horns they have, but that 4 horned sheep tend to gradually
> loose that mass, so to keep strong horns, especially in females,
> fresh mass should be introduced from a 2 horned sire. We have
> always bred 4 to 4 horns in our Jacobs, but now we wish to improve
> the horns on our Hebrideans (which are a small black primitive
> Scottish breed, and come in 2 or 4 horned versions like Jacobs,
> also occasionally polled, top-knotted or many-horned) , which tend
> to have weak horns in the females, and the experience of Jacob
> breeders will be invaluable. By increasing horn mass, are we likely
> to lose the space btween the 4 horns in males? (Hebrideans are
> smaller than Jacobs so have smaller heads to carry the horns)
> The other aspect to consider is the hornset itself ie the position
> of the horns. Forward-pointing horns are undesirable in that in
> rams they can impede grazing, but equally horns which curl
> backwards are unsightly, unimpressive and can eventually turn into
> the back of the head or neck. What we are seeking is good straight
> horns - would using a 2 horned sire decrease the control over
> hornset ? Have you found that the hornset is highly heritable, and
> if so is the female influence greater than the male (or vice versa)?
> Juliet in Scotland
> Jacob-list mailing list, sponsored by Swallow Lane Farm &
> Fiberworks Jacob-list at jacobsheep.com
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