Saturday, January 31, 2009

Pros and Cons of breeding ewe lambs

I've been thinking about the pros and cons of breeding ewe lambs.

Pros for breeding as lambs:

*Get improvements faster by turning over a new generation.

*Get a lamb as well as a fleece for feeding over winter.

*Animals bred as lambs or kids are supposed to have more milk over thier life than those that are bred as yearlings or 2yr olds.

Cons for breeding as lambs:

*The ewe or doe may not get as big as they would they waited until they are a yearling to be bred.

*If I did not breed them as lambs I could keep a few extra ewe lambs and then cull the ones with the smallest and lowest quality fleeces after shearing. (They would still get a better price than an older animal because they would still be lambs.)

*I would not have to grain the ewe lambs if they were not bred (I'm graining them now to make sure they can grow enough before lambing.)

*While I've never had problems lambing them out ewes bred as lambs are more likely to have trouble than older ewes (I think this depends on the breed somewhat as well as management.)

The shepherds in the UK tend to wait until the ewes are a year to breed them, while many US shepherds breed the ewes as lambs.

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