Paradigm Farms (formerly Hard Hill Farm)

Rare breeds of livestock for humane & sustainable farming

Paradigm Farms (formerly Hard Hill Farm) header image 1

CHEQUERS SHEEP

       

 MULTICOLOURED MINIATURE MILK SHEEP 

Chequers are a breed-in-progress, derived from blending the Mini Meat sheep (Genelink, S.A.) & Finn breeds for a highly fertile, cleanskin (shedding) miniature sheep. Chequers are expected to be a low-maintenance sheep that produces twins or triplets and can breed year-round. This allows you to have 3 lambings in 2 years (lambing every 8 months) and producing 3-4 healthy, fast growing lambs per ewe annually.

  • CLEANSKIN  =  NO SHEARING – This is the biggest request from people wanting to buy sheep from us, with shearers getting harder to find and less people being interested in the work required to get a good return from wool. Mini Meat sheep are a cleanskin or hair breed and our Finns are partial shedders so Chequers will be fully shedding sheep.
  • FERTILE = MORE LAMBS, ALL YEAR  The main benefit of blending the Finns with the Mini’s is to increase fertility- Finns are the most fertile & fecund breed there is and will add to the good milking & mothering that the Mini’s have shown.
  • QUIET & SMALL = EASY TO MANAGE – Both of our foundation breeds are small sheep with great temperaments. Our first Mini purchases came straight from rangeland S.A. and into our animal nursery with great succcess- they were a hit at this year’s Seymour Alternative Farming Expo and the Ballarat Rural Lifestyle Expo.
  • POLLED = NO HORNS, NO INJURIES – Both of the foundation breeds are naturally polled- neither rams or ewes grow horns, making them much easier to handle & reducing the risk of injuries to themselves & their handlers.
  • SHORT TAILED = NO TAIL DOCKING – Both of the foundation breeds have short, bare tails. This needs to be the future of sheep farming in Australia- it negates the need for painful tail docking, allows the sheep’s tail to do it’s natural job of protecting the rear and discouraging flies and eliminates the possibility of ‘dags’ and flystrike.
  • MULTICOLOURED= MORE POPULAR- Everybody asks us for coloured sheep! We have the added incentive of breeding to eliminate skin cancer and where possible have selected ewes with pigmented skin and colour around their eyes, nose & rear to protect them from sun damage. Colour also has the added welfare benefit of making it easier to identify individual sheep which can make management ear tags unnecessary.
  • HARDY & LONG-LIVED= HEALTHY- The Mini’s are derived from Dorper & Persian breeding and have retained some of the Persians’ fat rump characteristic which serves as a fat reserve in times of drought or illness. The Finns are renowned for being a tough little breed, having lambs well into their teens.

BACKGROUND

Mini Meat sheep were developed in South Australia by Genelink after they discovered a ‘miniature’ mutation amongst their purebred Persian sheep. Rams carrying this gene were then mated to small framed Dorper ewes to provide the basis for the Mini Meat breed. The breed is well established & the small size is constant amongst new generations with any
Mini bred to a Mini always producing Mini offspring. They are a quiet, easy-care breed with good fertility and mothering skills. Mini Meats are late maturing with a tendency to have single lambs. We are infusing Finn blood into the Mini Meat genepool to improve fertility & allow breeding from an earlier age. Their small mature size & fast growth makes the Mini Meats physically suited for breeding healthily at 7 months (to lamb at 12 months old) – the infusion of Finn will make this possible.                                                                       We will be selecting for temperament, size, fertility & milking to establish the Chequers breed:  super-fertile Multicoloured Mini Milk Sheep!
Finns are a small, friendly sheep with exceptional fertility (1-7 lambs at each birth & breed from 4 months old) and partially shed their wool so will blend well with the Mini’s to produce a small, quiet, cleanskin sheep that has twins & triplets regularly. We hope also to improve the milking quality of the Mini as although they are heavy milkers, their udder shape & small teat size makes them hard to hand milk.

SHEEP FOR SALE

Progress towards the Chequers breed in 2012 was not what we had hoped. All our pure Mini lambs born were rams. We joined 20 small Finn ewes to our young Appaloosa Mini ram early in 2012 but unfortunately he was too young to be fertile. Luckily, our young black Finn ram took up the challenge & two of our Minis have since delivered crossbred lambs. Our  Appaloosa ram was ready just in time for the end of the Finn breeding season, fathering a set of triplets & a beautiful coloured ewe lamb.  These crossbred lambs will form the basis of the Chequers breed, being bred back to purebred Mini rams. They are hard to tell apart from the pure Mini Meat lambs, perhaps slightly smaller with sweeter faces, & look like being near-complete shedders as our Finn X Damara sheep are. Twenty small Finn ewes will be expecting Appaloosa progeny in July 2013- the wethers from this drop will be available for $220 (no GST) & white ewe lambs for $750 (no GST). We currently have 2 purebred Mini Meat rams for sale, unrelated to this year’s crop of lambs & nearly ready to breed, for $650 (no GST).

Please email Kate – paradigmfarms (insert at symbol) outlook.com – if you would like to know more.

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