Monday, August 17, 2009

weighing lambs and ramblings

I thought prior to my trip to MFF that my lambs were quite large. Yes there were a few exceptions, but for the most part I felt my lambs were of good size for their age. No grain. No supplements aside from kelp, mineral, etc. Just pasture.

I weighed all my sheep (ewes, rams, lambs) on 6-11 when i wormed everyone. Today, I wormed with Valbazen as I had seen tapes in a few sheep recently (not at my farm or my sheep) and was petrified that I might have some. Better safe than sorry. I hadn't used Valbazen in nearly a year, since the last time I wanted to worm for tapes. Its the only brand I am aware of that kills the tapes.

Anyway I decided since I was alone that I would not weigh the adult ewes but just the lambs. All of them.

My largest lamb was actually my F1 Jamie polled ram Levi. He was a whopping 70 pounds already! Holy crap! My other AI rams were all 45-60 pounds, with all of them at least doubling their size from 9 weeks ago! I was quite impressed. I checked all lambs again for proper bites, conformation, fleece and on the boys to make sure there were two testes of equal size that were in the scrotum, not up in the body cavity.

There are two rams that are going to have fatal horns. one happens to be an F1 Timothy, my Ag ram. They are massive horns but I don't think they are going to clear the head, or they will be very close. The other has horns growing straight back into his neck. Pity.

The rest of the lambs look REALLY nice. My youngest lamb, out of Jazz and Sterling (Sedalia's full sister) weighs more than most of the lambs several weeks older than her. She is already 42 pounds (her mother is only 65 pounds as a two year old). Her fleece is just stunning and I'm really excited about her (as well as most of my other lambs)

I'm getting much pickier with my F1s in the fleece department and I'm waiting for some of them to change over in their fleeces. I'll probably hold over several in case their fleece does change over the winter.

I've also decided (at least today) that I will NOT be breeding any ewe lambs. Stephen still has larger lambs than me and I said I won't breed anything under 50 pounds. Last year according to my papers I had ewe lambs weighing between 40 and 60 pounds November 15, when I put groups together. I am already at those weights and that is three months away. I'm not trying to raise huge animals, just excited they are going to mostly all be over 50 pounds by then.

I'm also going to be lambing earlier in the spring to avoid the Cardigan National and hope to have older lambs to show and be competitive with next year at MFF and Jefferson.

I'm also not breeding ewe lambs (at least today) due to the fact that although sales are going well this year, for the most part people are still waiting for the economy to change. I figure I've done my part in stimulating it by buying sheep by the dozens last year, and just a few this year. Most people I talk to are waiting to sell lambs before buying lambs. '

I have a total mature ewe flock of 37 ewes including sale ewes and ewes that have found new homes but are still waiting to be delivered. I plan on using any sale animals on the BFL if they don't sell , 15 ewes to AI, and probably another 10 to ground breedings. That would give me 25 ewes for purebred, 10 for mules and then 10 or so BFLs to breed (not breeding lambs in those either). I had 32 ewes lamb this year in 2008. So not too terribly many more :)

I am bringing a few sale sheep to Jefferson. I hope to sell a few there to pay for my entries for Jefferson, but time will tell :) If you think I might have something you'd like, do let me know :)

2 comments:

Becky Utecht said...

That Levi is sounding better all the time, I wish he wasn't so closely related to most of my ewes...
I don't plan on breeding any ewe lambs either.

susan said...

I've noticed that my F1 offspring were all on the large size. Of course I did make sure that they were well fed during pregancy and as lambs, but it almost seemed like there was a little hybred viger going on.

-Susan

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 ...