Merino ewes with merino x idf lambs
Lambs are small under normal feeding practices (appr. 4 kg) and lambing problems seldom occur. Due to the remarkable vigour of the lambs together with the outstanding mothering ability of the ewes, the birth mortality rate is limited to a minimum.
The Ile de France lamb has excellent growth abilities and with good nutrition, weights of between 19 and 22 kg at 42 days and between 34 and 41 kg at 100 days can easily be achieved. Hence the popularity of the Ile de France and Ile de France cross lambs - it enables the producer of slaughter lambs to market lambs from as early as 100 days and, therefore, more ewes can be kept on the same size of pasture.
Results achieved at the National Carcass Competition undoubtedly prove that the Ile de France has outstanding carcass characteristics. (Slaughtering out % of up to 53% where 59% has been officially recorded)
The Characteristics are:
- Free of excessive fat
- outstanding muscle development
- Large percentage of better cuts
Ewe lambs can be mated at an early age provided that they are well-developed with an average body mass of approximately 55 kg. This outstanding early sexual maturity enables the breeder to increase total longetivity lamb production.
The ability to breed "out of season" makes it possible to let ewes lamb every 7-8 months, which in practice means that 1,3 natural cycle pregnancies per year are achieved.
Ewes have an outstanding multiple pregnancy ability and lambing percentages of between 150 to 170% are achieved in flocks. Where the system of three lambing seasons in two years is adopted, a lambing percentage of 220% per annum is no exception. The prolificy of a ewe is determined by her age rather than by season of lambing. Provided that they are well-developed rams can be used from the age of 10 months. Ile de France rams are non seasonal active workers.
Milk Production and Mothering Ability
Due to the exceptionally good milk yield of ewes twins and triplets are reared without difficulty. As a result of outstanding mothering abilities a close linked bond exists between the ewes and lambs.
Ewes still produce lambs at the age of 9-10 years depending on nutrition. The case on record of a ewe of 11 years that produced 29 lambs is indeed proof to substantiate this fact.
Ile de France are found in more than 30 countries around the world. The breed is renowned for its excellent performance under semi-intensive, intensive and extensive conditions.
The Ile de France produces a white, strong wool (23 - 27 micron) with a fleece free of pigmentation. The weight of a 12-month fleece is 3 - 4,5kg for ewes and 5-6 kg for rams with a staple of between 80 and 90 mm. First generation crosses with Merino ewes produce an outstanding medium wool.
As a terminal sire, the Ile de France ram conveys its exceptional conformation, muscle development and fast growth rate to its progeny with dominating effect. This quality is mainly responsible for the popularity of the Ile de France ram amongst producers of slaughter lambs and the breed indeed makes a big contribution, to supply the consumer with good quality lamb. Ile de France cross-bred females are high in demand due to their fertility, good milk production and outstanding mothering ability.