About Our Sheep

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

 

 

About Our Sheep

Maternal Traits


Above – the "drop" bunch, sheared ewes who will be lambing soon.

MATERNAL TRAITS is a collective term which includes number of lambs born, milking ability, and mothering ability.

NUMBER OF LAMBS BORN
Our lambing rate has ranged from 1.7 to over 2.0 lambs per mature ewe during the past 15 years. We haven't flushed our ewes prior to breeding since the year we ended up with 27 sets of triplets. That year many of those ewes raised all three of their lambs.

The NSIP mean value for number of Columbia lambs born is 1.85.

In December 2011 through January 2012, we had 8 ewes lamb with a total of 15 lambs born. These ewes were all bred on summer range with no supplements.


One year old ewes with lambs.

We expose all of our ewe lambs so they have the opportunity to lamb at 1 year of age. We find that our ewe lambs are great mothers and can easily care for a single lamb as well as the occasional set of twins. Getting a lamb and shearing a fleece the first year helps offset the cost of maintenance of that ewe.

MILKING ABILITY

The NSIP mean value for 60-day weight of Columbia lambs is 61.8 lbs.

Lamb gain through 60 days of age depends primarily on milk received from its mother.

In 2009, our top milking ewe raised twins whose combined average daily gain was 1.84 lb per day at 69 days. One of her ram lambs weighed 82 lb at 69 days, and had an actual gain of 1.0 lb per day. (The other twin ram lamb weighed 72 lb at 69 days.)

We used this lamb, U16140 KJ Langhus 829Y, as a stud in the fall of 2009.

MOTHERING ABILITY


This first-time lambing ewe is lying down with her head right near her lambs.

This trait isn't easy to measure. It takes a lot of observation and documentation in our ewe record sheets.

We want a ewe who can lamb without assistance; claim
and clean her lambs right away; watch for them in the jug
and not step on or lie on them; keep her lambs with her
when turned out to pasture; and, at the end of summer,
successfully wean the lambs she was turned out with.

 

 

 

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PRODUCTION-ORIENTED SHEEP