another sheep question

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by brierpatch1974, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    193
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Just like to know how many offspring do they have each year? Singles? Twins? or triplets? What does each breed average?

    BP
     
  2. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,086
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    It's going to vary alot by breed. My North County Cheviots, would average 5 lambs for every 4 ewes, so mostly singles. At least they all lived. My Rideau Arcotts, would average 10 lambs per 4 ewes, but in a statistical range think 2-5 each! That said if they come early in February losses start to mount quickly. Traditionally British breeds average 1.5 lambs per ewe, small flocks should do better. Anything with Finn, Romanov, E Fresian, in thier make up will be similar to my Rideaus. More primative sheep will average more like 1 lamb per ewe. Managment makes a bigger difference than breed for lambing averages really, and counting lambs born is not the same as counting lambs sold.
     

  3. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Definitely an all over the map type answer. I had a romney ewe lamb who twinned last year as a yearling; this year she had one live and two that were aborted, so she actually conceived triplets. Her mother has only singled. :shrug: My friend's dorsets twin generally, triplet occasionally. The icelandics generally twin, sometimestriplet, with occasional quads showing up. It really does all depend on the breed.
     
  4. ShortSheep

    ShortSheep Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    360
    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    With Shetlands, most will single their first lambing, and twin after that.
    But some will twin their first lambing, and some ewes will only continue to single as they age.
    Triplets happen occasionally.
     
  5. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Among our flock, the Friesian / Polypay crosses produce an average of 230% .
    Most of these ewes are producing twins/triplets and an occasional quad.
    Our Lincolns produce mainly twins along with a few singles born to those who are over conditioned.
    A few of the Lincoln crosses with a bit of Rambouillet and Targhees also produce triplets.
    I have found that it matters little whether the parents started as singles or triplets, I often have singles that have had trips and triplets that have twins......
    As Ross mentioned, management of the flock is key.
    Production depends much on the condition of ewes i.e. over or under.
    Those that have had triplets or quads sometimes have singles the following year, guess their bodies need a break.
    Others will have quads two years in a row.
    It is extremely important to make sure all trips/quads get their share of colostrum and get a good start.
    It is vital to keep a good eye over those multiples to make sure they are getting enough to eat, so they can thrive and grow into healthy mature sheep or reach desired market weight .
     
  6. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    I failed to mention that the amount of lambs produced will often vary depending on the age of the ewe. If ewes produce lambs as ewe lambs, they often produce less their first lambing than they will in later years of production.
     
  7. YuccaFlatsRanch

    YuccaFlatsRanch Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    4,649
    Joined:
    May 3, 2004
    Location:
    Hill Country, Texas
    Our California Reds average 3 lambings every 2 years. That gives us on average 5 lambs per ewe per 2 years (this assumes twins twice, and a single once). I have numerous ewes and rams that are out of stock known for producing triplets, but I much prefer consistent twinning.
     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

    Messages:
    13,086
    Joined:
    May 9, 2002
    Location:
    Ontario
    Yucca brings up another good point, accelerated lambing either naturally like his Reds or my Rideaus and a bunch more that can do the 3 lambings in 2 years, or induced with sponges and PMSG, the lambing averages really jump over the 2 years! Now one Rideau could realistically have 6-15 lambs over 2 years! Even a Suffolk could be induced to rear 6, and with good managment and suppliment/creep feeding the lambs etc. even be done with some degree of success. There are many angles to the question.
     
  9. eieiomom

    eieiomom Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,391
    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    Yes, once again the difference in management choices....
    and of course the sheep don't read the same literature humans do and farming varies from day to day which throws in all kinds of curves and therefore offers the wide variety of choices :)
     
  10. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,547
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    Year before last I bred 7 ewes and got 11 lambs Last year I bred 6 ewes and got 9 lambs. So thats 20 total in just 2 years from 13 pregnancies. This year Im breeding about 20 so y'all EAT MORE LAMB!!!!
     
  11. brierpatch1974

    brierpatch1974 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    193
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2005
    Thank you all for the help. My wife and I are looking at buying 21 acres of land. I would also like to know if it would be best to set a few acres to the side and grow some of our own hay or just use it all for the sheep and buy hay.

    I am not looking at having a large number of sheep. Between 10 and 12 and a ram. Would it be worth setting 5 or so acres aside and growing Hay or would it even produce enough to be worth while for this number of sheep?

    I know The soil would need tested, fertilized, and planted and all to get it up to producing but just not sure if 5 acres would be worth it or not. I already have access to equipment for haying so thats not an issue.

    Bp
     
  12. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Messages:
    55,547
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2006
    Location:
    Eastern North Carolina
    You can probably cut hay and still use it as pasture as long as you rotate them around.

    Every little bit helps, since you have access to equipment.

    As to how much it will produce, there are too many variables to make an accurate prediction, but with a good "crop" of decent hay, it should be plenty for those numbers