Culling ewes and lambs

A place to exchange ideas, stories, and to solve problems related to breeding the flock and delivering lambs.
springfarms
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Culling ewes and lambs

Postby springfarms » Thu Jul 13, 2017 10:21 pm

I have a very seasonal breeding Wiltpols. I have reached number where I can now start culling and I am really gearing my flock to earlier lambing so selecting heavily for that. I also cull for bad mothering and flighty temperaments. I have a ewe who has just lambed, so she fits the early lambing criteria, she lambed nice triplets and at first all looked okay. However we are in drought and I have been feeding my flock. She always hangs back and wont eat while the others are tucking into the lupins and hay I put out. After she lambed I saw that she was quite thin.

I then realised how flighty she really was and she basically has dragged her young lambs from one end of the big paddocks they are in to the other. 1 of her lambs just couldn't keep up and by the time I found him it was too late. The following day I found the other lamb dead. The only lamb that survived is the one that has run with her. She just doesn't look back when she decides to go and if the lambs don't keep up bad luck, I really hate that, the old cow.

So once the lamb is weaned the ewe is out of here. Her remaining lamb is a little ewe. I was wondering how important it is to cull the female offspring of these types of ewes. The ram is a lovely quiet fellow and has thrown some really nice fast growing lambs and ewes that have lambed early. This is his last year and I want to keep early ewe lambs from him. The mother ewe is not related to him.

DonDrewry
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Re: Culling ewes and lambs

Postby DonDrewry » Fri Jul 14, 2017 7:49 am

Having multiples is inheritable
Being a crap mom inheritable
Eating behavior is inheritable

What are the traits you like from dad? From a maternal standpoint that triplet ewe should probably be the first on your don't keep list. Most likely if you keep her you'll decide your ram isn't so good after all
Last edited by DonDrewry on Fri Jul 14, 2017 4:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Don Drewry

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Re: Culling ewes and lambs

Postby Blackshire » Fri Jul 14, 2017 1:53 pm

If she's just lambed, one option could be to cull the ewe immediately and hand raise the ewe triplet that has survived. Yes it's a costly and time consuming effort, but it will quieter the lamb down considerably and give you the opportunity to reverse one of the negative traits. Then review her first lambing for mothering qualities. If you have better alternative lambs to retain for future breeding, then consider letting the little one grow on mum then cull/sell both at the end of the season.

It sounds like you're at the stage where you need to cull regardless, so that ewe goes, no question, but I usually tally my desireable traits in order of importatance to my goals, then decide if the tait exhibited this year was worth a second try. I have had to cull after a second lambing on two ewes previously, while others go hate first time... and their ewe lambs too.

For me, good mothering is right near the top. Having said that, I aim for twins rather than triplets, so tend to keep ewe stock that were twins themselves. I still get the odd set of triplets, but when I do, I keep a close eye on them, maybe even putting them into one of my small 40m2 holding pens with good grass and a small shelter to monitor them.

Once they get past that first few days, I'll often run my couple of ewes with triplets ahead of my main flock so they always get the best of the feed.

We're due to commence lambing in just over a week. I got a new ram this season so looking forward to seeing what he throws...

All the best.

John
8.5 acres. 18-20 breeding ewes and 2 rams.
Running Polled Wiltshire sheep of a high caliber and trying to achieve a fully black equivalent without shedding/feet/worm resistance compromise.

springfarms
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Re: Culling ewes and lambs

Postby springfarms » Sat Jul 15, 2017 8:19 pm

Thanks for the input.

I think I will cull them both. I have some really nice young ewes from the ram I liked that are all currently lambing twins and doing a really good mothering job and happily come to the feed trough with their lambs. I have another maiden flock out of him mated to an interstate ram that I am waiting on, hoping that ram is a good match.

The flighty ewe is from an original cohort of ewes from another line that I never really liked, most of that cohort went last year, ewes that lambed a lot of triplets and that gave me no end of trouble with their bad mothering and flighty behaviour!.

I liked the ram just because of the type of lamb he throws, his really nice calm nature and his daughters seem to be nice quiet early lambing good mothers even though some of them were from the flighty cohort of ewes. He is a twin from and early lambing mother and he showed really good eye muscle growth when scanned. His genes definitely have had an influence on my original rag tag flock for the better. Sadly he had an accident and I had to put him down or I would likely have kept him for another year. I have choice now so I think I will stick very strongly to good mothering, easy to handle and good eaters and not risk more trouble.

I will go back to that stud and see what they have for a new ram.


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