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Sheep Breeding Season


Lots of planning and preparation goes into sheep breeding in a registered flock.  You might think you just put a ram in with the ewes. But for us and many other breeders, it's much more detailed than that.  I study fleece qualities, spotting characteristics and conformation of each animal to try to improve the offspring and try not to pair up any that have the same flaws. We have lots to learn in this regard since we are relatively new to shepherding but we are learning along the way. 

We also have a computer program that figures inbreeding coefficients and we try to keep that as near 0% as possible.  Basically, that means we don't have any kissing cousins. With a rare heritage breed, that is more difficult than it might seem. 

Then, we also evaluate each ewe to make sure she is not too heavy, too thin, too young or too old, so lambing will be easier for her. Worming and medications have to be given ahead of time so they don't effect the unborn lambs. 

After all that, we have to decide just how many lambs we want to have.  We average 1 1/2 per ewe because some of ours have singles and not twins.  Oh, and then there is timing.  How early or late do we want to have babies on the ground?  Shearing has to come two weeks before lambing and you don't want them to be too cold but our sheep do better when the weather is not too warm yet.  

See...
there is a lot to consider for a serious shepherd & shepherdess.

S-Squared Atticus & S-Squared Azure

While we plan and prepare, Atticus and Azure are in their back pen ready and waiting to move in with the girls.  We just have to decide now who goes with whom. 

I'm really looking forward to lambs this year since we didn't breed last season.
  
Oct. 1st breeding brings March 1st lambs.  Can't wait!

Jacob Sheep two horned rams

Isaiah 53:6
All of us like sheep have gone astray,
Each of us has turned to his own way;
But the LORD has caused the iniquity
of us all to fall on Him.

Comments

  1. Would you mind sharing the name of the computer program you use? We raise registered St.Croix sheep and have kept paper records, but we really need a better system especially with our flock growing.
    Thanks! Megan

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  2. We use Breeder's Assistant. You can find it here. http://www.tenset.co.uk/

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  3. I enjoy breeding season too. And seeing the results of our mating decisions when they are born, and again in the show ring! (We breed cattle though...)

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  4. That is a lot of work. It looks like it is worth it. Thanks for sharing the details. It is quite interesting.

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  5. Sitting here smiling at your post. I have dairy goats, betcha couldn't tell by my user name? This is the 30th year and my October's are much like yours. So far day two of October and no one is even flagging. I also spin and weave/knit so question is when are you going to market your fleece? Good luck to you!

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    Replies
    1. I have lots of raw Jacob fleece available. Email me through my profile if you are interested and we can discuss it.

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