Tuesday, July 04, 2006

who to breed and why




There have got to be more folks out there just like me....the minute I see that lamb out on the ground...I am planning to keep or sell the little wet thing.
Now I will admit, there are a lot of factors involved....expecially in ram lamb development.

This year I have four pairs of ewe lambs who match each other in size and color....so I have been mentally thinking of showing one set or another in sheep shows. One of the comments of last year's judge at Jefferson was that no one took pairs seriously.
But as a breeder, we also want to show some of our best...what if there is no pair to that lamb?...I have that happening in looking at ram lambs to show.... I have one...and no one seems to match him yet in size. I do have a cute pair of katmoget ram lambs....they might grow by the end of the year....but neither one seems to me a candidate for best ram lamb...just a cute pair.
So as I think about who to show....I am also mentally pairing the ewe sheep to rams for breeding.
I already have 14 (count them) 14 ewe lambs on my keep list.....

I know that is way too many.....how do you decide who to keep and who to sell?
I do have certain genetic lines I tend to favor for keeping. It used to be lambs from Panda. Now Panda is 13 and not having lambs. So sometimes I keep her granddaughters. The same seems to be true of Pandemonium age 11. I used to keep all her lambs.....now she doesn't have lambs....so I am keeping a granddaughter. Notice, just one.
Yes, as a matter of fact she is a yuglet sokket too....he he.

I don't really need another ram.....but this year I have a couple with nicer fleece....so I am thinking of breeding them just for their fleece quality. My best showing ewe and one of my winning rams, were both part of an experiment in using an ag ram lamb just for his fleece quality.
I really really am trying to be careful of selling lambs that don't have perfect legs.....I am not afraid to breed them myself, and see if I can correct the slight faults....but I don't want to sell them. I also watch tails....why is it that the worst tails I get are from sheep I bought from others?.....Do you notice that yourself?....I spent a lot of money...for a ewe, who not only didn't ever have a good spotted sheep....but she has terrible fleece and a fuzzy tail. So what can you do?....I have thought about culling...but I hate to cull ewes....so I have her on my do not breed list.
OK...all you cross-breeders out there have a solution for that....but so far all I have is my no-breed list.
I was not as careful when I bought sheep originally, as I think I am now....you have to remember there were only a half dozen spotted sheep that folks knew about at first. This has been a long process. Now that we have lines of sheep that can produce spots, we can be a little more fussy in who we use for breeding spots.
I will admit, it is lots easier to figure out what to do with all those ram lambs.....black-cull, grey-cull, long-tail--cull, bad personality-cull.....bad, ugly horns...cull.
But how do you decide what to do with ewe lambs...especially friendly ewe lambs?
Well, the easiest...is to keep them all yourself....I think of that solution every year!
Next best idea, that I have had...is to look over what will sell.....spotted ewes are selling well.
So if I have some spotted ewe lambs who seem to have straight legs...and good tails....I often do put them on my sale list. I have several spotted ewes of my own...I know they can produce spots again next year....but what about plain ewe lambs?
Well, modified colors are selling....emsket, mioget, fawn, dark brown...if someone really knows what it is....which I haven't proved yet. But what are we to do with grey ewe lambs...musket ewe lambs....moorit ewe lambs....and expecially black ewe lambs?
I'm guessing there has to be some effort as a group....to market these sheep.
Moorit is a popular color for spinning...we shoud maybe package moorit flocks for sale....or grey and musket flocks for spinners....we all know that fleece is great for spinning and dyeing....any ideas out there?

1 Comments:

At 9:04 AM, Blogger tangaloor said...

I hear ya Mary Ellen - we have 50 lambs so far this year - and I know a couple that I want to keep, and some that I know I will cull - and the rest.. how do you decide?? And I have already started thinking about fall breeding groups, even though we aren't done lambing yet.

 

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