Sunday, December 02, 2007

what comes next?

Are you breeding ewes this year? I sure am. I'm even breeding ewes I don't plan to breed. Do your ewes boss you around? Mine do. Those old girls by the end of the day seem to make more sense than I do.
"What do you mean I'm not having lambs this year????I always have lambs for you. Baaaa. What else am I good for? Besides.....I'm ready! Can't you see that? BAAAAA! I know I'm ready and that ram isn't doing anything right now anyway." So I try to remember why I wasn't going to breed my ewe....and sometimes I can't think of a good reason.
What are good reasons not to breed a ewe:
1....she is too thin, condition poor, rooing her wool from a past problem.
2.....she has had mastitis and doesn't have milk on one or both sides.
3.....she is a pain in the butt when taking care of lambs. Too loud....loses lambs in the pasture or the barn....jumps the fence without lambs.....butts everyone within 10 feet of her lambs.....too wild, can't catch her or her lambs.
4.....notice I didn't say too old....but sometimes those old girls don't have enough milk to feed a set of twins...be prepared to help out if you let that old-lady in.
5.....you have a wedding or big doings coming up in the spring next year. Get rid of your rams then, farm them out for a few months....it will make your life easier.
6.....you didn't sell enough lambs last year.
This last reason has more to do with you than your sheep. Sheep don't attract buyers by themselves....the shepherd has to be convinced that those new lambs are the best, the cutest, and the rarest lambs in north America. If you are not convinced of that fact, you need to go visit some other breeders and compare their sheep to yours.
In most cases I'll wager you can't find much of a difference between your sheep and those high-priced sheep in the next state, county, town. The difference in in your mind. You lack the confidence in your own judgement, and product.
Study the successful marketeers out there in sheep world. What do they do that you don't try? Web pages, blogs, sales pages, monthly sales notices, business cards? What kinds of words do they use to describe their sheep? Biggest, best, perfect, show winners, adorable, photographic, halter-trained, rare? You can try some of those words too. No one is conplaining about the veracity....use those "perfect" words.....Your lambs should be perfect to you. If you find fault with everything you raise, how is anyone else going to decide to take them home?
What comes next after you expose your ewes?
Marketing.
Start now, if you don't have a business plan, use a couple of months of gestation to develop one.
Your lambs deserve a better home than the one you can provide. Let them go now.....before they are on the ground in all their adorable bouncing glory. Plan to really try to market all but a handful. Those lambs are going to be your best! Give them and yourself credit.
They are not only the cutest friendliest lambs you have ever had....they are also healthy, and well trained, and proudly displayed in photographs for all those prospective shepherds to fall in love with. You just know I would love to buy one too. There can't be a lamb born that I couldn't love for some reason. Get ready to tell me and everyone else why we can't live without your very own new spring lambs.
I'll swear that some of my girls are getting extra wide.....good grief....it isn't even Christmas yet.

2 Comments:

At 8:46 AM, Blogger Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Good advice that I will try to take to heart. I've been working at marketing, but there's always more one can do. Obviously, you do an excellent job; you sent sheep to ALASKA!

 
At 5:44 AM, Blogger Juliann said...

Great hearing from you, Peeps! I was starting to wonder if you'd found the edge of the Earth and fallen off, lol! ;D
Glad to hear that all is well...

 

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