Changing direction and growing the flock

A place to exchange ideas, stories, and to solve problems related to breeding the flock and delivering lambs.
OogieM
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby OogieM » Sat Jan 12, 2019 8:15 am

Oogie McGuire
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby Shiner » Sat Jan 12, 2019 7:30 pm

I do not know the state of slaughter facilities in your area but here I have to book all slaughter appointments for my sheep between 18 months to 2 years in advance.

Wow, that is insane. I thought I was in a bad way by having to wait 2 weeks. Sounds like a decent business opportunity around you.

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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby OogieM » Sun Jan 13, 2019 9:35 am

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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Mon Jan 14, 2019 7:28 pm

Katie
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:00 pm

I was watching some webinars and came across trait performance ratio.
Indv performance
-------------------------------------------- x100
Avg performance of group

Example..
45lb
----------- x100 = 108%
41.7lb

So that lamb did 8% over the average. And you can do it for any measurable trait.

Then later they talked about the EBVs and all the different systems used to determine how good a sheep is against the group average.

So that got me thinking about writing down a sort of score card for picking replacements and culling decisions.

*Litter size 20
*Weaning weight 20
*ADG (birth to wean & wean to market time) 20
*rams- scrotal size. ewes- teat placement and extra teats. 20
*Fleece weight 10
*staple length 5
*wool cover of face/legs 5

My reasoning...
*Litter size isn't that high of heritability but selecting for it won't hurt. 2018 my lambing was 140%. Not terrible but not fantastic.
*Weaning weight is a good representative of the mom's milkability and mothering. Milk yeild is 30% heritable. As well as selecting quick growing lambs.
*Avg daily gain will show who is better at turning food into gain. Weaning to market time represents on the indv lambs genetics for growth.
*Rams with higher scrotal size have higher fertility and produce ewes with higher fertility. Extra teats.
Teat size is 20% heritable, teat placement is 25% heritable. Extra teats can be problematic for newborn lambs. Several of my sheep have extra teats and I'd like to nip that trait right off.
*Grease fleece weight is 35% heritable. Fleece yeild is 40% heritable. CV of fiber is 50% heritable.
*Staple length is 55% heritable. If having yarn milled it's important to have fiber that is within an inch staple length to prevent issues.
*Wool cover of face is 56% heritable.
Katie
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:28 pm

Also, thank you for letting me know about the market price adjusted to 100# lambs. I did re-run some numbers.
Lowest price is 1.35/# so 40-60# is $54-61.
Avg price for june the last two years is 1.58, so $63-94.

I've estimated that this year if I get 21 lambs to market time I'll be about $22/lamb in feed. I'm hoping for at least a 1.4 lambing rate like last year though. 26 lambs would bring it down to about $18/lamb. It'll be less if the spring is good and greens up quick. I'm aiming to do a hell of a lot better next lambing. Lots of changes.

But even so. I'd like it to be a better margin but even the bottom prices will keep me going. At my current feed rate that amount (minus feed cost for these lambs) would buy me feed for this many ewes another gestation and through weaning.
So I'm still hopeful that next year all the numbers will be much improved.
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:45 pm

Sheep were shorn on the 1st.
I think 2 of the ewe lambs I put in didn't get bred, or if they did will be the very last to lamb. The rest all seem to be bred and starting to develop udders. The adult ewes are all going to lamb earlier on I think, all but two have notable udder growth.
Two of the ewe lambs have notably more udder growth than the other ewe lambs. One of them being in the week early breeding group and the other one I actually wasn't sure she'd got bred. Anytime I was in out there she was shown no interest by the ram (and I mean *none* at all) and often would plop down beside my stool like a dog when I had some time to watch them :lol: Amusing because she does not want touched or petted or anything, she just wants to sit there. I'm thinking maybe 3 sets of twins, the rest singles.

There is three ewes in the week ahead group (2 adult, 1 ewe lamb) that I think will start off lambing between the 26th and 2nd. Expecting order: Twins, she's already working on her udder, leaps ahead of the rest of the ewes. Single, she's always singled for me. Then single from the ewe lamb. I thought maybe she would have held out getting bred but right now I'm thinking she'll lamb before mid April.

Next to lamb, about April 10, three adult and two ewe lambs. I saw a lot of action on them. They are looking to be the next along in udder development too. Also the big ewe lamb with a lot of udder that I wasn't sure would get bred, but that one's purely a guess.

After that I don't have much guess on time frame. The other adult ewes have 'paunchy' udders so until someone has a growth spurt... I'm just hoping the adults and ewe lambs will space out enough that if I need to pull a lamb from a ewe lamb that I can try and wet adopt to an adult ewe. It would be awful nice of them :roll:
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Mon Jun 10, 2019 10:25 pm

I've been evaluating and planning for the year and thought it would be good to revisit this thread.

This fall I'll have 16 ewes and 6 ewe lambs, though I've not yet decided on breeding ewe lambs again or not. So I'd have 16 or possibly 22 ewes in groups. I have tentative groups sorted out.
Shetland ram (2018 born)- 6 ewes, 8 if I breed ewe lambs
Bingley my crossbred ram (2018 born)- 5 ewes, 8 if I breed ewe lambs
19 my crossbred ram lamb (2019 born)- 5 ewes, 6 if I breed ewe lambs

Point being, I'm thinking based on what I've read and seen online that 5 to 8 ewes per ram isn't bad. So I shouldn't need to bother with pulling them at different times, as it seems unlikely they will all come into it at the exact same time. And then even if half of them did, it's not a big group and they should be able to cover that many.
I'm planning CIDRs in Sept 29, pull Oct 6 and groups together. Flush Sept 20-Oct 10. Groups separate Oct 26. Due date March 1-21, with the hope of most being born 1-11th.

All the ewes got bred this time with 20 days breeding and I'd like to have a tight group of lambing. This year due dates were 4/9 to 4/29. Actual lambing was..
3/31, 1 ewe (found dead, tiny lamb, assumed backward and drowned)
4/11, 3 ewes
4/12, 2 ewes
4/13, 2 ewes
4/17, 2 ewes
4/19, 1 ewe
4/21, 1 ewe
4/23, 1 ewe
4/25, 1 ewe
4/29, 1 ewe (managed to drown itself :x )
So 11 ewes lambed within first 10 days, 5 lambed after. 69% of them. With CIDRs I would think that will be easier to close the gap than a few hundred ewes over two months. And especially once I have another ram and am really looking to expand with the better ewes, I will have a cut-off date and only keep ewe lambs born in the first part of the lambing that I'm aiming for.

This year I had 4 sets of twins, of course they were: EE, ER, RR, RR. And about half were bred as ewe lambs so those were expected singles. But I also did not flush at all and bred in mid-Nov, so no pasture. This year I'm trying to get ahead of the snowball and plan out everything possible. So flushing is something I've never done and we shall see how it goes.
If a bunch of the young ewes have singles again they'll be going to the sale with the lambs. I need to keep myself buckled down to my goals.

19 is a really nice looking ram lamb, sired by my crossbred ram, dam is shetland/border cheviot. I'd like him more if he wasn't katmoget patterned :roll: And thinking depending on how he fills out with age if he stays on or goes to the freezer for us. Bingley sired most of my lambs this year (3 of my retained ewe lambs) and as much as I'm happy with him, I know I need to bring in even better to move the flock forward.
I was hoping to work out a trade with a person for a mini cheviot cross ram lamb but they decided against a trade :/ Next year, new ram! I'll also be passing on the shetland ram. So I'll have to buy a ram ;) and if 19 grows out real well I may keep him for smaller group of ewes, or if I keep breeding ewe lambs.
Ideally, if I can get two rams next year.. Then I could have two groups or run them both and not worry about the lambing dragging on. Like if I had a BFL and a cheviot ram, I will be able to tell the BFL face lambs from the cheviot face lambs. Of the first generation anyways. But the next generation I would hopefully be keeping back enough I could sort out a couple groups and cull out the older ewes that aren't what I want. Keep the first gen and a couple best of the current ewes and go from there.
Katie
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OogieM
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby OogieM » Tue Jun 11, 2019 6:45 am

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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Tue Jun 11, 2019 4:57 pm

Everyone seems to say a different amount of days with the CIDRs. I guess I'll do 12 days this year, then seeing how it goes if I want to use them again or what.
Last year Bingley had 9 ewes to breed as a ram lamb so I think being older now with 5 or 8 ewes he should be fine and more able to breed them in a short time. Even if I pulled 2 ewes a day in each group I could have some take a while to come into it and have more than 2 standing heat in a day anyways.

It's occurred to me that if I keep back ram lamb to do it in pairs of the best, most alike. Then I can have 2 rams for a group of ewes and not be so worried about ram/ewe ratio.
Katie
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OogieM
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby OogieM » Thu Jun 13, 2019 6:00 am

Oogie McGuire
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Thu Jun 13, 2019 3:31 pm

Katie
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Re: Changing direction and growing the flock

Postby HomesteadNowhere » Mon Jun 17, 2019 12:32 am

Lambs are weaned and in new paddock, and ewes are in new paddock. I managed to get the lambs all weighed as well! Huzzah, just in time for a solid week of rain... So I have ADGs to look at now.

I'm going to cull 3 ewes and the wether.
And keep 7 ewe lambs, possibly 1 ram lamb. There is one more ewe that I could have considered keeping but she is one of those wild eyed crazy ones, and I have someone wanting 3 or 4 ewe lambs.. And this leaves me 4 ewe lambs for him to look at. I'm going to have him look at the 'cull' ewes as well and hope he is interested. He is into the wool only from what I know at the moment, and these ewes would still be real nice, just not the best of my flock for what I'm doing.

ADGs...
1 ram lamb hit .5#
4 lambs hit .4#
9 lambs hit .3#
4 lambs hit .2#
1 lamb was under 1#
The smallest two are a set of ram twins that the ewe was not that big, smaller birth weights, and in hindsight they'd have grown better if I pulled one and left her one. I had a small bag of milk replacer and was giving them a bottle in the mornings until it ran out, to give them a boost. She just didn't have the milk for twins. She is in the list of cull ewes.
Total 19 lambs, group avg .337#

That one lamb hit .5# was really exciting for me since alot of these lambs are 60s% and 80s% shetland crosses. However of the two ram lambs I was looking at as keeper considerations, he and the next biggest, I decided on the other lamb who was the third best gaining lamb at .438#. The lambs look near identical standing together. Both look well put together and have real nice fleece. Both sired by Bingley, my cross ram I retained last year, 25% shetland 25% cormo, 50% mutt.
The .5# one's dam is a 3-6y/o, shetland ewe. Single lamb. The .438# one's dam is a 1y/o, bred as a ewe lamb, half shetland half border cheviot. Single lamb.
The pure shetland ewes I just got in the fall so I don't have lambing history on them. But my gut says 'ehh why is a proven ewe single lambing' and I won't want a ram from a ewe who always single lambs. My gut also says, 'hey look how great the first time ewe raised this ram lamb, and she should go on to twin next year, and this ram lamb is 25% border cheviot to add frame to his lambs'.
The ewe lambs are the top 7 ADGs of the ewe lambs. 3 are .4#s and 4 are .3#s ADGs.

I had 4 sets of twins: EE, RR, RE, RR. And of course the RE twins are the crazy ones and I'm not keeping that ewe. I was curious the total lamb weight that those ewes weaned, respectively: 67.7#, 50#, 53.4#, 29.3#. So the EE twins were terrific, that ewe twinned last year and singled her first time, and the ADGs are .414# & .409#. The last set of twins are the ones I supplemented and the ewe on the cull list.
From the adjusted weaning weights (60 day) I did a performance ratio. The lambs I'm retaining are all the best ones as well. From +3 to +45!

Then I pulled up fleece weights from the spring and did a performance ratio as well. Avg fleece weight 3.1#. Heaviest fleece 5.6#, lightest fleece 1.3#. Of course the pure shetlands that are fine and first shearing, scored big negatives. The biggest positives were one of the mutt ewes and several of the sheep born last year that I retained. With keeping the best lambs I'm really curious to see how this compares next year.
Katie
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