About Our Sheep

We select for economically productive traits – MATERNAL, GROWTH, CARCASS and
WOOL.

 

 

About Our Sheep

Growth Traits


(Above) Some of our 4 to 5 month old weaned lambs on pasture in July 2008.

60-DAY to 120-DAY WEANING GROWTH

The NSIP mean value for 120-day weaning weight of Columbia lambs is 105.8 lbs.

We don't use a lot of creep feed because of the expense. Allowing our lambs to harvest pastures on their own during our short growing season saves feed and labor costs.

In June 2011, we donated this ewe lamb to a benefit raffle for the Junior Columbia Sheep Association. She was born 3-11-11, and weighed 86 lb at 84 days of age on 6-3-11. She was won by the Ledford family of Unionville, Missouri.

Above – this 4-month old ram lamb was born a triplet and raised as a bum. He weighed 120 lb at 130 days of age on 8-20-08. At 13 months his rib eye area was 4.54 sq inches and he weighed 256 lb. We have used this QR ram, U13993 Langhus 751-Or, as a stud since the fall of 2009. His 2010 fleece microned 24.6 or60 spin count.

Practical Applications of NSIP Growth EPDs

2009, Buhl, Idaho.  We visited Ray and Sherry Hoem’s 200-ewe commercial farm flock in Buhl, Idaho, in June.  They have used our NSIP high-growth EPD rams since 2003.  The lambs are weaned at 120 days of age, at an average weight of 100 lbs.  The Hoems sell 180% lamb crop right off the ewes in mid-June.  After 40 days on feed the lambs are slaughtered.  This group of uniform lambs has topped their local lamb market for the past several years.


Hoem lambs and ewes just before shipping lambs in June 2009.

Using our performance-oriented Columbia rams gets these lambs to market in 120 days, taking advantage of good early-summer lamb prices, and minimizing exposure to predators, illness, and accidental death.

2006, Big Timber, MT.  We provided market lambs to our neighbor's three children for the local 4-H fair.  These purebred Columbia lambs were out of some of our NSIP top-growth EPD sheep.  We had enough confidence in the gaining ability of our lambs to send a 35 lb lamb to the weigh-in on May 6th.  Some of the blackface lambs were already close to 100 lbs.  We weaned these three lambs on June 1st and the Lair family took them home to start them on feed that day.

 

date
of birth

start
weight
5-6-06

end
weight
8-1-06

Average
Daily Gain
(over 87 days)

Abby’s ewe lamb

3-19-06

45 lb at 48 days

127 lb

.94 lb / day

Andrew’s ewe lamb

3-22-06

35 lb at 45 days

121 lb

.99 lb / day

Grant’ wether lamb

3-20-06

50 lb at 43 days

128 lb

.90 lb / day

For the 30 market lambs exhibited and sold at the Sweet Grass County Fair in 2006, daily gains averaged .56 lb, and ranged from .15 to .99 lb/day.  The 3 Columbia lambs had top gains of 0.99, 0.94 and 0.90 lb/day.


8-3-06  Grant and Abby with their Columbia market lambs at the Sweet Grass County Fair.

Abby’s ewe lamb gained .94 lb/day and was named the Champion Whiteface Market Lamb.  After spirited bidding at the fair sale, this lamb was purchased back by the Lair family as a replacement ewe for $7.00 /lb.  She was the top selling lamb of the sale at $889.00.

Andrew's ewe lamb was the top gaining market lamb with ADG of .99 lb/day.  His ewe lamb was purchased by a sheep ranching family in the next county as a replacement for $6.00 /lb.  She was the 2nd high selling lamb of the sale at $726.00.

Grant’s wether lamb gained .90 lb/day and sold for $3.50 /lb.

NSIP growth EPDs can help predict when your lambs will be ready to market.

POSTWEANING GROWTH

Starting each fall, we provide a moderate amount of feed to our ram lambs. While we don't push their growth at home, we have sent ram lambs to the Montana State University Gain Test every year since 1994 to sample their rate of gain under more optimal feed conditions.

In October 2010, we sent 6 Columbia ram lambs (including 915-W) to the MSU Gain Test. These
May-born lambs had been on pasture from June
through September.

Our ram 915-W had one of the top gains on Test
at .98 lb per day. His Gain Test Ratios were:
Gain 113%
Fleece 106%
Rib Eye 104%

Photo left – 915-W freshly sheared on 4-27-11,
when he was less than 12 months of age.

June 30, 2011, 915-W sold at the NSIP Center
of the Nation Sale in Spencer, Iowa, for $2,000,
one of the top selling rams at that multi-breed
sale. (All sheep selling at this sale must have
NSIP EPDs and possess breed registration
certificates.)

This ram was purchased by the Blaha family of
Avon, South Dakota.

Some highlights from the MSU Gain test include:

• We had the top gaining ram over all breeds 2010, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2003, 2002 and 1999.

•2010 – 2011 our top Columbia ram gained 1.02 lb/day.
All 47 rams on test averaged .82 lb/day over 105 days.

•2009 – 2010 our top Columbia ram gained .89 lb/day.
All 48 rams on test averaged .50 lb/day over 101 days.

•2008 – 2009 our top Columbia ram gained .97 lb/day.
Our 5 Columbia rams averaged .91 lb/day.
All 47 rams on test averaged .81 lb/day over 104 days.

•2007 – 2008 our top Columbia ram gained 1.14 lb/day.
Our 7 Columbia rams averaged 1.01 lb/day;
Our Columbia rams were sired by 5 different stud rams.
All 57 rams on test averaged .90 lb/day over 106 days.

 

 

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PRODUCTION-ORIENTED SHEEP