homestead lamb production

Discussion in 'Sheep' started by spring77, Jun 10, 2004.

  1. spring77

    spring77 Well-Known Member

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    Ok, here is my idea.

    I was thinking about getting a few sheep to keep me in lamb plus a little to give away at times. I have about ten acres of orchardgrass pastures with GREAT perimeter fencing (woven wire w/ electric) that I run my two cows on. I would get two or three Katahdin ewes and a ram and run them with the cows or behind the cows. I use single strand polywire to fence off pasture for the cows but could easily switch to three strand.

    My question is: is running the ram with the ewes year round possible or would it cause problems? And if it did, what problems? I don't really want to rent a ram or pen up a ram for part of the year or anything.

    Also, I wouldn't be trying to build a flock up so I'd simply keep the same ram and ewes for a long time I imagine and buy replacements when I needed them. So I would possibly crossbreed the Katahdins using a Dorper ram, or possibly a Soay? Something to make nice tasty low maintenance lambs. I also would only have a few animals to feed hay to each winter and a few animals to house in bad weather.

    Would this work, what problems am I missing?
     
  2. CJ

    CJ Well-Known Member Supporter

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    YOu'll be fine. We always ran our ram with the ewes year round. The only problem comes when you have lambs, either separate those boys or get them banded, they breed at an early age!

    I don't know anything about the Soay breed, but a Katahdin Dorper cross is very nice.
     

  3. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    We keep our ram as well. We did not band lambs this year because we have a Halal buyer who prefers ram lambs. However, this is the first cheviot ram we've had that is a real sweetheart. He's 4 now, has never offered to get agressive with us, and he's not decided to start ramming things either. Usually with our small flock, we've ended up selling the ram at 2 years old because they can get dangerous.
     
  4. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    Soay would work well and don't need shearing, like Kathadin. Not sure about Dorper
     
  5. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    You can band ram lambs to be cryptorchid (with the testies pushed into the body and the bag banded off) this makes them 90% sterile and with the low success rate of ram lambs added drops the conception rate even lower. This means they still grow up lean like a ram lamb and satisfie the Halal buyers, while being compatable with the flock. I do keep my rams seperate but know many who do not. Just expect eratic lambing times.
     
  6. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Unless you really want to breed sheep, why don't you just buy weanling lambs and raise them until December or January? That way, all of the flock is butchered. One for you, the rest to sell. Nothing better than pastured lamb.

    We keep our ram with the ewes but... if you want the ewes to drop their lambs within the same time frame, keep him away from them at the start of their cycle (August) and put them back together a month later. The later you want lambs born, the longer you keep him out of the flock. We will be removing our ram in late August and keeping him out until November so that we don't have lambs until it's "really" spring. You will also have to remove the ram when the lambs are born as he will butt them. Keep them apart until the lambs are big enough to get out of his way.
     
  7. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Well-Known Member

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    what's a halal buyer? If you mean the muslim sacrifice of Abraham, the ones around here would not accept a ram that was cryptorchid

     
  8. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Well George if the Iman for the not sunni( editor ***out the sect's name!) sect here in Ottawa says it's OK to use a cryptorchip lamb so long as it's killed under Halal rules (the only "sacrafice" is when they distribute part of thier lamb to the poor at the mosque for Ramadon) then my muslim buyers couldn't care a fig if its an altered male or not. To be honest being male is only a serious preference and it has nothing to do thier religion only flavour. Perhaps you have a different sect in your area.