Buying Katahdins, small ewes

Reindeermama

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A breeder that is local, and has registered and commercial Katahdins is offering to sell me ewes that might have been breed. He is offering them at a discounted rate because he said he bought them from good bloodlines, but the breeder he bought them from weaned them at 45 days, and he wasn't thinking, and just threw them in with his regular lambs. He says because of this they didn't get the feed they really needed, and are stunted. He said most likely they are pregnant, and he can show us the papers on the good bloodlines they are from. Is this a good deal? Will the lambs be stunted? The ram that bred them is a really nice registered ram too. Will they produce good lambs we could build up our stock from? Or is this a deal we shouldn't do? Any advice would be appreciated. We are just now getting into sheep. I have been trying to read up on them, and have bought several books.(but there is nothing like advice from people that have sheep)
 

Latestarter

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IMHO, since you are just starting, you could take advantage of this "good deal" if you want. The biggest question would be if you are expecting/wanting registered stock or want to register their lambs when born. Just showing you their parent's or grand parent's papers doesn't mean THEY are registered. If they were stunted from lack of feed during their growth period, it would be a physical effect on them and not a genetic issue. As long as they are big enough to carry and birth live lambs, their offspring should be a product of the genetics of both parents, IOW, normal sized.

May just be me, but if the seller KNEW that:
he said he bought them from good bloodlines, but the breeder he bought them from weaned them at 45 days, and he wasn't thinking, and just threw them in with his regular lambs. He says because of this they didn't get the feed they really needed, and are stunted.
Then why did he buy them anyway, and now wants to sell them? :idunno Just seems a little "off base" to me.:hu:hide


How old are these sheep? If they are first fresheners, their stunting may not be permanent and they may be able to grow to almost normal size with proper nutrition. If they've already freshened before and are on 2nd or beyond, the stunting is probably permanent. Regardless of all that, as you become more involved with sheep, these can either be sold, or sent to freezer camp to provide for the family meat. Bottom line I guess is it all depends on what your end goal is with sheep in general and this batch specifically.
 

Reindeermama

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They are registered, but he wanted me to know he bought them from another breeder. He has the papers. He said he should have put them in another pen instead of putting them in with his regular lambs he had. He said he usually doesn't wean that young, and then when he was realizing that they weren't growing as well, he got to thinking about why. He assumes the other breeder weaning at 45 days is why. His ram is registered too. He just wanted to be honest he said, and tell me these were stunted, and because of that he would make me a better deal on them, and that they had good bloodlines that should make for good lambs. He said these will be first time Moms. He has a ram lamb I like from another bloodline. He has a huge book of registration papers, and looks them up, and he has them penned separately. I wanted to make sure I could get some ewes that I could keep the babies on to build up a herd, and not worry about breeding back to the daddy. He also said that when I might get to that point, He would help me sell my ram lamb, and introduce a unrelated ram, so I wouldn't have problems with genetics. I am so green on this, I just wanted to make sure when he said the lambs would be okay he was right. I am a little leery of deals. (I got taken buying donkeys that were supposedly livestock guardians) I can be a little gullible, and well I fall in the love with the animals, and don't think anything, but how cute. So this time I thought I should be more careful. I do appreciate your advice, and that is why I was seeking advice. I just want a starter herd to get my feet wet with. We were going to sell the babies for meat locally. We kept getting asked if we know anyone that has lamb, so I thought hmmm...sounds like opportunity. I like lamb too, so I though win, win, some for us to eat, and some to sell. I thought if I got registered lambs, later on if I expanded I might could also sell for people wanting to start their own small flocks as well. Again, thank you for answering. It really helps to have someone objective to bring up these things with.
 

farmerjan

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If they are stunted due to poor/lack of nutrition then it will not be something that will affect the lambs genetically. The only concern that I see is with you being admittedly new with sheep, is if they have some problems with lambing and them being small. But other than that I think it is a good deal. Get the papers, and all that you need to register the lambs and you will have a start in registered stock. When you grow out the lambs, just watch to make sure that they are getting good growth. If this strain that he got; and is selling, is smaller, then you may want to rethink it in the future.

I had a heifer that got bred too young, and she is and will continue to be small all her life. But her calves are fine, grow normal size, and often surpass her in height by the time they are weaned. That particular family is very fertile, that is how she got bred before she was weaned off her dam. It is no reflection on her abilities except we don't use a bull that produces very large calves.
With sheep, and multiple babies, once they get the first one on the ground, it shouldn't be of much concern.
 

Reindeermama

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Thank you so much. The advice is making my decision much clearer. I
 

BreanneRN

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Well, I think I would go for it, but I would be prepared to be keeping feed in front of them 24-7 to try to make up for their poor start in life, especially if they turn out to be pregnant, they are going to need a lot of nutritional support... If they don't get it, things can go bad, toxemia, aborting, or just getting to the end of the pregnancy without enough weight to produce milk... which means having to bottlefeed lambs, a time consuming and expensive proposition. Oh, and make sure you get those papers when you get the sheep...
 

BreanneRN

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Just make sure tail not docked too short. They need to be no shorter than a goat's.
Katahdins are hair sheep and should not have their tails docked at all. It is unnecessary, though I guess some do it, but I always wonder why, as there is no benefit from it, and stress, pain, and potential for prolapse if done too short.
 

Mike CHS

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It sounds like this farm registers every lamb that can be registered. I don't know what his line of sheep looks like but it sounds like you are buying culls (registered or not). Some are slow gainers and the early weaning didn't help but I wasn't sure from your post if these girls are already bred??? If they are keep an eye on their condition because you can over feed them. You want them in good condition but not fat, especially if bred.

We have one ewe that was a runt when born and we almost didn't breed her last cycle because of her size. Turned out when we weighed her that she met our minimum weight and this year is right at 130 pounds which is the low side of our herd but acceptable.

Oh - and I agree with the Katahdins do not need their tails docked.
 

BreanneRN

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Well, this sheepman has had years of experience and he is seeing problems down the road with these sheep of some kind that he doesn't want to deal with, which is why he is willing to give you a deal. But, he has a lot of sheep and doesn't need them. Maybe you post some pics of them? Make sure they don't have bad mouths or udders. Nevertheless, for someone just starting out, they could be your lemonade... I would like to see what they look like... And know how old they are.
 

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