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Discussion Starter #1
questions?

So in selling livestock live/—do you sell by the head? age of animal? by weight? Or ?

When we sell lambs or goats when we have sold them live have tried a flat rate-which works ok sometimes,...but most often we sell the males for meat and then they go to the processor, so we charge a certain fee for hanging weights per pound...

But if live for their own breed stock, for pets, or companion animals, or for Wool,...? Any suggestions?


ALSO, if someone asks can a Columbia sheep be bred to a —-breed? Well???

Can a Shetland Icelandic be crossed with a Columbia?
 

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When selling breeding stock it's a set price determined by breed, pedigree and local demand and availability.

Any type of sheep can be crossbred with other types. That's how some breeds were created, and it also gives you what is called "hybrid vigor" which means the offspring will often have better health and growth rates than the parent breeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I️ guess some of the decisions on breeding needs to be in the buyers hands. If someone purchases stock and has a plan, well it would be their plan and not ours,.. however it would be our hope that they are doing so with careful and thought out methods-and curious to learn how it works out!
 

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I️ guess some of the decisions on breeding needs to be in the buyers hands.
It depends on what traits you're looking for.
Breeding wool sheep to hair sheep generally won't do much to improve either breed in a single generation but if you want larger lambs to eat, breeding a large wool breed with a smaller hair sheep breed can add muscle mass.
 

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So the question you have why do you want to cross a Shetland/Icelandic to Columbia?
To me this negates the wool quality and makes for a small animal in terms of carcass.

My question is why would you?
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I agree-& why I asked. To me it seemed to not make sense?

I asked because someone who wanted to buy from us wants to do it. I don’t know much about many of the other breeds, other than what I have read. We have mainly had Columbia’s and a few Jacobs. Also have raised a few Suffolk Suffolk crosses, a few hair sheep and most of those were from an auction. So, we never tried breeding most of those
So the question you have why do you want to cross a Shetland/Icelandic to Columbia?
To me this negates the wool quality and makes for a small animal in terms of carcass.

My question is why would you?
 

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I guess to me in this case the hybrid vigor most seek in cross breeding doesn't work as desired.
There is a person in the region that is trying to sell some Suffolk/ Columbia/ Shetland mixed thing and can't even get anyone to look at them.
It changes the wool so it is colored and the handspinners don't like the quality. Then the carcass is not large or meat so they don't sell for butcher either.

This is what needs to be discussed with the requester and then ask them what they are thinking.

I know because the aforementioned producer convinced / gave my step nephew 2 ewes then his brilliant idea was to add a dorper ram. This was the poorest looking and bad gaining lamb I have ever seen. Needless to say he won't raise sheep ever according to him.
His sisters are getting show lambs from me next year and mine are Columbia/ Suffolk crosses with one chance at poly-pay in the mix. But my lambs gain 1/2 to 3/4 of a lb per day even on hay.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Very interesting! Sort of funny too, but not really something to joke about.

Good info though, and am thinking I would discourage him from doing such a cross. Also thinking he is new at this, and maybe just doesn’t understand-though we are pretty new as well, on the outside it just seems like a bad idea.

Suffolk and Columbia are similar in size and I think a cross can be a great idea,... but size should be similar—-to begin with!
 

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My daughter's first ram was a colmbia/ Suffolk cross. He won reserve champ over all when he was 2yr old. He is the foundation off my flock and his lambs honestly gain 3/4 lb a day. He's 8yrs old and produced the county Fair reserve champ feeder lamb which only missed weight by 3 lbs in a summer of 100* + weather.

Sent from my XT1650 using Homesteading Today mobile app
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Sewtlm. That’s awesome!

Can you post a photo of him? Love to see him!

How challenging is he to handle at 8 years of age? Curious if they get more ram like or if they stay so friendly!?

As it’s been said, the ram is half of your flock! In this case I would say he is very primary to your success!
 

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Finally got time for pictures. While roofing my fancy shed.


This is a 10 yr old Eeyore.


Son Frederick who was trying to help.


The girls with Eeyore.


The $200 shed
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Wow, Nice $200 Shed! Gosh, that sounds like you know how to manage your purchases VERY WELL! Only 200!!! Wood is so expensive, they are going to love it!

I love your sheep! What do you do with the wool? Do you shear yourself? Do you sell the wool?

How interesting they look as a cross, they carry some of the Suffolk in the color of the wool and some even with the black on them! I tanned a Suffolk hide, and I love it! Working on 2 Columbia hides and one Jacobs hide currently, but it takes so so long! Not sure I have an efficient system I am employing, but I love the results!

I wonder how the meat of the cross varies, if much at all? We try to process any for meat at around a year for sale and our own consumption.

Your sheep appear about as wooly as ours are currently...:)
Love the photos and Eeyore Looks like he likes hanging out with the girls! How many girls does he have?
 

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We currently only have 4 girls but am trading a truck transmission for 3 more.
The shed is made from 3 fence panels from home Depot plus some 2*4 framing pieces to hold it all together and the roof. My biggest money saver was leftover metal roofing. When I have more money we are adding another half, doors and lamb jugs.

The wool that these put out is good quality long staple with medium crimp. The wool processor likes it.
The lambs have Suffolk bodies and Columbia wool.

Carcass and comformation wise they compete well against pure Suffolk at the fair. But in the weight gain area is were we shine with a steady 1/2 to 3/4 lb a day.
Took 2 rams and 6 lambs to sale and made over $1000 this last year.
 

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Missed the shearing question.
I have and can shear my own but my age and back prefer to pay to have them sheared. I usually trade part of the wool for my clean and carded that I want back. It's a local place that makes roving for $10/ lb. I don't have enough wool for a big shearing company to come in so we coop with my FFA students right before fair weigh in so all the single sheep are in one place.

I will help do the final fair clipping though.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Wow! Thanks for sharing! We are new at this and are learning! Our ewes need a diet as we have overfed grain, that they don’t need -which we didn’t know! So, will be working on trimming them down and hoping for successful lambing in June.

Cool the Wool is at least finding a use! I have heard it’s in short supply, yet it’s hard to locate where and how to sell it..

I like your trades! So smart!
 

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I switched out over half the grain/ specialty feed for pelleted forage and left a little sweet stuff to encourage eating along with a little hay.
The biggest thing is to actually weigh your daily feed so each animal gets only 5 lb. Many times we feed by the can or scoop without realizing that each type if feed has its own weight/ mass to volume.
 

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About planning crosses, I'm building up some meatiness in my flock of Awassi, since there's such a demand for fat tail meat. I crossed a Dorper ewe with an Awassi ram and zowie what a great cross! I named the lamb Piglet -- she's every bit as wide as her mom, has a soft awassi coat and a fat-ish tail, put on weight like a monster, and is hardy as they come. I'm really excited to see what her 75% Awassi lambs look like, and thinking about getting another Dorper ewe. Thing is, Dorper is a very sensible cross for me because they are already 50% fat-tail descent, and I don't care about shedding, and the size is compatible, and my goals are really clear (higher lambing percentage and meatier carcass from the Dorpers, and nice fat tails and super-hardiness from the Awassi). Bottom line I'm pro-crossbreeding, but only when you have a very clear goal and you choose your parent breeds to achieve that goal.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I don’t think the person who inquired about cross breeding our Columbia’s has interest any longer, which is just fine with us. Being newer in raising sheep we don’t plan to experiment at this point, as we need to be sure we understand and master our basics first. Currently, we have very large overweight & excessively woolly sheep in need of a shearing and a diet! Even if we account some of their mass and weights to some extra Wool they need to lose some weight! So, on our breeding and bred ewes are in the process of evaluating how to cut back safely on daily intake of grain, and have their diet less grain mix and more rely on hay, in hopes they level out a bit. A month prior to lambing begin increasing their grain and after they lamb accordingly. They do love their grain and any time they hear the machinery operating(to grind/mix feed, or deliver more hay,..) they come running! .
 
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