Maternal Sheep

Switch to desktop Register Login



Performance recorded easycare sheep are produced by a group of sheep breeders who have taken a unique, three-cornered approach to efficient sheep production for the 21st century. The flocks, based on Easycare genetics, have been selected on the following criteria:

  • Wool shedding
  • Low-input/’Easy Care’
  • Performance Recording



With wool’s cost of production being £2.96/kg (T. White 2011), recent increases in the average off-farm wool price to £2.20/kg are put in perspective. In addition, wool diverts energy and protein away from milk production and lamb growth. With meat being seven times more energy efficient to grow on a sheep than wool, it is little wonder that sheep keepers interested in fast-growing lambs are increasingly moving towards stock whose fleece won’t hold them back while enjoying the benefits of a much-reduced workload:

  • No shearing
  • No dagging
  • No belly clipping for slaughter
  • Virtually no fly strike
  • No sheep cowped/stuck on back  Reduced heat stress - yet still hardy



Low-input and ‘easy care’ sheep systems are increasingly important to British and Irish farmers wishing to maximise profits and minimise their labour requirement. As members of the Maternal Sheep Group our aim is to breed an efficient ewe that will lamb outdoors and be capable of rearing two good lambs to killing weight in the shortest possible time on a predominantly grass/forage diet.  She must also create the least possible amount of work and hassle. Removing the burden of excessive wool is an excellent starting point but we also select for:

  • Ease of lambing
  • Two lambs per ewe
  • Lively lambs, quick to suckle
  • Good maternal instinct
  • Problem-free feet
  • Lack of dags
  • Parasite resistance 



With wool removed from the equation, and the ‘10% that cause 90% of the work’ being culled out, the challenge is to identify the high-fliers in the flock and accelerate genetic progress in lamb growth and other profit-boosting traits. The proven route to success is by taking part in a formal performance-recording scheme. Research has shown that prime lambs by a high-index tup are worth £3/head more (EBLEX 2006), while daughters of tups with high maternal Estimated Breeding Values can generate an extra £11 per year compared with those by a low-index rival (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010). High-index tups may be worth an extra £750 over their lifetime (Scottish Sheep Strategy 2010).



We can supply females of all ages and tups which won’t melt when given grass to eat and a large number of ewes to tup:

  • Female Replacements: Rely on us to supply ewes which have been selected with your bottom line in mind, not show-ring window dressing, and cross well with any terminal sire.
  • Close your flock: Use a Performance Recorded Easycare tup to breed replacements suited to your farm and your system. Free yourself and your flock from the burden of wool-related tasks.
  • Woolshedding flocks: Flockmasters who have already taken the wool off their sheep can now enjoy the proven benefits of using performance-recorded genetics.
  • Flexibility: No shearing, outdoor lambing and healthier sheep mean that your time, buildings and money can be used elsewhere. Want to run more sheep with the same labour units? Or utilise off-farm grazing without the hassle of constant handlings?

Content © Maternal Sheep group 2012 | Web build by embgraphics

Top Desktop version