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Old 06/09/09, 03:54 PM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,763
How old is too old

I just found an ad for a seven year old Jacob ewe for 50.00. How long are you normally able to breed sheep? I am trying to decide if it is a good deal or not I thought that seven years seemed to be getting pretty old, what do you think?
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Old 06/09/09, 05:18 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Wisconsin by the UP, eh!
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price is good - but WHY are they selling her? is it because she couldn't get pregnant?
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Old 06/09/09, 05:32 PM
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Location: Wisconsin
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I have a 1 1/2 year old Jacob/Blueface crossed for 100.00 and she has a pretty ram lamb that can go with her for 25 more.

7 is to old. She most likely was bred year after year for all her 7 years and is burnt out. I wouldn't touch her. She wont even make decent hamburger.
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Old 06/09/09, 07:49 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: MO Ozarks
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Let me say up front... I'm a goat gal.. know very little about sheep. I have a *flock* of 5! LOL... I recently was gifted with an 11 year old Romney ewe, with her newborn ewe lamb. Mildred is in GREAT shape for her age. This was her first year to have a single, so knowing she was finally slowing down... they sent her to a *retirement* home, instead of sending her to market. When I first heard about her...I imagined a tooth-less thin, broken down old lady... far from it. Mildred has taken over.. she has pushed the shetland sheep around to the point, that they KNOW she the new boss. She beats on Uncle Harold (the pot bellied pig) and steals his food... when the LGDs start to bark at something.. Mildred runs out to them to see if they need some *back-up*.. she's a hoot.

this is Mildred & baby Peggy (Peggy was 3 weeks old in this picture)
How old is too old - Sheep

susie, mo ozarks
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Old 06/09/09, 08:15 PM
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Wisconsin
Posts: 1,391

You just never know...
Are they selling her because of health or lambing problems, poor maternal behavior or ?
Or they might be wanting/needing to find her a home rather than send her to market due to personal human issues.
I know of some producers that sell their ewes at the age of 7 regardless of their condition too.

Ewes can be excellent producers way past this age or show signs of health issues earlier than this.


SUSIE- What a nice looking lamb baby Peggy is !

Last edited by eieiomom; 06/09/09 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 06/09/09, 10:07 PM
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Location: Princeton BC Canada
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Most things I have ever read about older ewes is if they are still producing and have ok teeth, If they have bad teeth then they are not worth keeping.
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Old 06/10/09, 06:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: New Zealand
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Originally Posted by Dodgegal79 View Post
Most things I have ever read about older ewes is if they are still producing and have ok teeth, If they have bad teeth then they are not worth keeping.
Teeth are the issue in older sheep and if you are seriously thinking about her that is one of the first things you need to check. They will be showing some sign of wear but if they are broken, worn nearly to the gum and/or have gaps between the teeth, flick it away unless you are prepared to go to great lengths to keep her fed.

I have kept elderly sheep (12 and 13 years) and bred from them but I've also had to keep them on grass that would normally be fed to cattle because they can't nibble on shorter grass. At the moment I've got 7 sheep that are 6 years and older that are running with the ram and they are doing well and have reasonable teeth. In a small flock I don't consider 7 a great age because the owner is in a better position to take care of them than if they were in a flock of 1,000 but I would also ask why the ewe is being sold in the first place. It might be a quite legitimate reason but on the other hand you don't want to be taking on somebody elses problem.

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Old 06/10/09, 09:34 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 1,763
Thanks!! I haven't contacted them yet, they just happen to be in the same area that I will be picking up somes calfs soon and I was thinking dual purpose trip. They also have a 1 year old ram for 150.00, so I was thinking possible starters.
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Old 06/13/09, 12:43 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 69
i have a 12 year old ewe who continues to produce very healthy triplets year after year! you need to figure out why they are selling her...for certain ewes 7 is too old...for others they still have many years left in them! if she has had no trouble conceiving in the past and is still in good health then i would say its a deal and i would try her out....the only thing is that at that age there could be many hidden health issues to watch out for so be careful and use your common sense....good luck
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Old 06/15/09, 10:57 PM
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 481
Age 7 is usually sausage over here - with exception of some favorites. Depending on your management system - some can go much longer, but we are a grass fed op - I had two oldies give birth to twins this year, and with the delay of the grass coming up due to weather this year I had to pull one off of each - they just weren't able to keep up with the younger ewes.

Teeth teeth teeth for sure - and check the udders. Those tend to start sagging or blowing up on some ewes at this age.

Any info you can get from them from blood tests, to wool produced by weight, how resistant they are, how many she had last lambing, and date (you don't want single producers) - can help greatly.

But if this is your first sheep - go buy some hoggets (yearlings) and spend the extra $


Last edited by thatcompchick; 06/15/09 at 11:00 PM.
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Old 06/16/09, 01:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: AR
Posts: 953
I just came in from the barn after putting up the twin ram lambs that a 7 year old ewe of mine delivered. These two make 15 lambs this old girl has given me. A 9 year old flock mate of hers is ready to lamb any day now.

I have an 11 year old ewe that I retired last year but she produced through her 9th year. She will live out her life here because of sentimental reasons. (She is from the first ewes we got and she helped build my flock. The other ewes we purchased at the same time have already died.)
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Old 06/17/09, 12:36 AM
Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: AR
Posts: 953
Let's make that triplets for my 7 year old ewe. Went back later and there was one more ram lamb. I thought she looked too big for just twins and was surprised that there were only two. All are fine and she is a great mother.
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