Sunday, August 31, 2008

Ram Lambs

I had 14 ram lambs born here this year. Being optimistic, perhaps half of them at best would be registered and sold as breeding stock. After another evaluation I only sold four ram lambs and kept one for myself. Two others that were registered...well one is VERY SOFT, very crimpy, high% UK, spotted, poll carrier and ok I'll say it. Exquisite!

But he is very narrow when he walks away from you and that really bothers me. He stands square, but I cannot feel good about selling him to someone with that obvious fault.

The other, a solid black ram lamb with scurs, he is very square but his fleece is just not as soft like butter like the ram above. I'm going to hang onto them over the winter to see for sure, but at this point I'm just not happy selling them. I was to bring them to Jefferson to sell, but maybe I'll just bring them along and get others' opinions on them.

Anyone who raises ANY kind of animal knows that not all of their offspring are going to be breeding quality or show quality. Those that sell ALL of their lambs as such are fooling the buyers and themselves. Even from an amazing ram and ewe, not every lamb is going to be a knock out, it just doesn't and can't happen. Your chances are lower yes, but still its there.

I think in all mammals the ratio of good males to females is always in the favor of the female......or we are able to 'fix' things easier with females than males. In dogs, whole litters cannot be show quality. Its a reality. Most litters if you are lucky might have one, maybe two. And this is from breeders of my CWC breed for the past 30 years.

Its the same in sheep, or cattle, or goats. You only keep the very best males to improve your female base. A pen full of amazing bulls and three heifers isn't going to get you very far.....the females only produce once a year. In our dairy cattle operation we had we only kept the best heifers and sold the rest and sold ALL the bull calves; relying only on AI (artificial insemination) to improve our dairy cows year after year after year, using only the best the breed had to offer.

How was your breeding season? Did you get a knock out ram or stud dog? Maybe a great buck or bull? In all reality you cannot have a knock out lamb crop and sell them all as show quality or breeding quality, its just not realistic. Same with puppies. You can't show the whole litter, you are kidding yourself if you do.

I think more people need to pay attention to this when they are going through evaluations of their stock. Its only better for every breed and species when you are more diligent in what you sell as breeding quality and breed improvement happens a lot faster too.

1 comment:

Sharrie said...

Well said. I sold a ram lamb for little white packages, but I am keeping the twins. Time will tell with that ram lamb if he wil be breeding stock or not.

A breed I can't stay away from

its true I guess that I would be first known for the fine wooled Shetland Sheep that I have procured and traveled across the USA and UK to ...