Is 5 years old too old to breed a Maiden ewe?

What is theoldest age you'd breed a maiden ewe?

  • 2 years

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  • 3 years

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  • 4 years

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  • 5 years

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  • Total voters
    1

shepherdO

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Hello all - I'm new here, and looking forward to the collective wisdom, experience and advice of this forum.

So I've inherited two rambouillet-suffolk ewes, aged about 5 years old each. They've never been bred, but I've been toying with breeding them with my smaller-ish Shropshire ram as they're such lovely ewes. Again, not a foregone conclusion, but something I'm considering.

What is the general consensus in this regard? I've received advice on both sides, and would like some more input. I also have a couple other questions that I will post in another thread - keep your eyes peeled :)

Thanks,
ShepherdO
 

Sheepshape

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Personally I wouldn't be too worried. They'd probably need to be closely watched just after birth, though, as they would probably be prone to wander off after giving birth, thinking that their job is done.
 

Latestarter

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Greetings and welcome to BYH from NE TX! So glad you joined us. I hope you'll consider taking a minute to visit the new member's thread and introduce yourself so folks can welcome you properly. https://www.backyardherds.com/forums/new-member-introductions.17/ There's a wealth of info, knowledge and experience shared in the multitude of threads. Browse around and see what interesting stuff you can find. By all means post away when the desire strikes you, especially if you have questions (provide as much detail/info as possible and pictures truly help)... With all the great folks here, generally someone will respond in no time at all. Please make yourself at home!

PLEASE put at least your general location in your profile. It could be very important if/when you ask for or offer help or advice. You know, climate issues and such. I recommend at least your state as most folks won't be able to figure out where if you put anything more specific (county, town, street, etc) by itself. Old folks like me will never remember & look there first. To add it, mouse hover over Account top right and a drop down will appear. Click on Personal Details and scan down. You'll see the spot for Location. Then go to the bottom and save changes. Thanks! Hope you enjoy the site!
 

Roving Jacobs

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I've bred some 3-4 year olds for the first time with minimal issues. The only problems have been if they've had a really giant single lamb or had gotten too fat to conceive. Worth a shot, in my opinion, as long as you can keep an eye on them during lambing. Still have plenty of good, productive years ahead of them.
 

Mike CHS

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We have a friend who had a pet 10 year old that was retired that had an oops pregnancy. She was thin and looked feeble and didn't look far from the grave but she had a healthy ewe lamb and raised it well. That is pushing it but they are pretty versatile.
 

The Old Ram-Australia

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G'day, welcome to the sheep people.Firstly if they have been "pets" the odds are they are a little on the fat side (or maybe a lot).If they are a little "tubby" get them on a diet and get them to about Body Score of about 3 before you let the ram loose on them.At lambing look to have them at about BS 3.5. Would you say in frame the Ram is larger or smaller than the ewes?...T.O.R.
 

shepherdO

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G'day, welcome to the sheep people.Firstly if they have been "pets" the odds are they are a little on the fat side (or maybe a lot).If they are a little "tubby" get them on a diet and get them to about Body Score of about 3 before you let the ram loose on them.At lambing look to have them at about BS 3.5. Would you say in frame the Ram is larger or smaller than the ewes?...T.O.R.

Hi there,

Ram is smaller. He's a shropshire/texel cross, while they are suffolk-rambouillet. He's a young ram, so of course it's tricky to predict his final size or what size lambs he'll throw, but we're thinking he'll be a medium size when all's said and done. Most of my ewes are maiden ewes, so we thought Hamish (the ram) would be better than the Hampshires we were looking at. I was hoping to put the ram out in the middle of October, when I'll have had these fatty ewes for about 6 weeks, I think? They've been getting nothing but field forage, and in another thread I posted a picture of my pastures - pretty sparse at this time of the year. However, they're not dropping weight like crazy or anything, which of course is good as I don't want things to be too drastic. Their original home had beautiful lush green fields, very unusual for this time of year otu my way, so I'm not surprised they're this big based on the quality of their daily intake.

Would you think that a 6-week forage diet would be enough to bring their weight down to a 3? I'm not sure what else to do besides starving them, which of course I'm not going to do! The ram(s) and other ewews I intend to breed are getting a grain supplement... but at the same time, they ignore most of the hay I put out with the grain, which suggests that maybe there IS enough nourishment in the grass out there.
 

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