Beekissed

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I was reading an interesting article awhile back about two types of body styles noticed in the Katahdin breed: https://ewewin.wordpress.com/2010/01/25/two-distinct-body-styles-in-katahdin-sheep/

My last Katahdin had the type A body and hair, but this pair I have now are a little mixed up and not quite what this article describes. My type A body style ewe has a curly, wooly coat, though short and shed off to summer length, with a shorter tail. My type B body style ewe has a true hair coat, as well as a long tail.

I like the type A body style and when I build enough numbers to start culling for that, I'll likely cull towards that body style, along with other desirable traits.

What body styles does your flock contain? Do you cull for that in your Katahdin or do you focus on other traits first?
 

Baymule

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That is a very interesting article. One of the ewes on the cull list is a poor mother, her twin ewe lambs are extremely stupid(not keeping them) and she has a pronounced high shoulder with a deep dip behind it, then a roached hump back.

Most of my lambs have wavy costs. Lily is a Katahdin ewe, has a nice top line and stays in good condition.
Her lamb has a wavy coat. She has a wooly back that doesn’t shed well.
I tried to get a shot of Aria, her lamb, but they weren’t cooperating.

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This spotted lamb is on the keeper list with Aria. Her brother is standing on a stump.

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The other side.

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WolfeMomma

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I would say we breed for body style A...i think..... For my brood ewes i want them fairly tall with a long wide back and a big front end because that is where my ram lacks. My katahdins are mainly show sheep for the most part. Culling is the hardest part. But in order to be successful i know thats what I need to do.

This is my yearling ewe. She is Almost perfect in my opinion. The only thing she is missing is height, the judges haven mentioned that to me quite a few times.
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For a Ram he must be TALL with the right conformation or I have no use for him.
This is our ram Not the greatest pic but I Love his body style. He has awesome bloodlines and is way taller then my yearlings at 8-9 months old. His hair coat is excellent.
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These are my brood ewes, minus the skinny one in the back, she is a ewe lamb that Im still not 100% sure on but we shall see how she looks in her yearling year after she has had some good quality food in her. I like chunky wide long ewes if you cant tell lol No bones seen on this property...including my own chunky self i guess lol :lol:
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WolfeMomma

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Personally I like the body type of A better. Regardless of weight it looks to be carrying more meat. Weight s not always an accurate determination of meat characteristics. The original Southdown breed (not the current larger show type) was a very small sheep, but lb for lb it actually dressed out a higher percentage of meat than larger breeds. The larger breeds became the industry standard because slaughterhouses found it easier to process larger carcasses.

I have White Dorpers not Katahdins, but have also had ewes produce the smaller wooly lambs that look thinner, as well as the thicker hairy lambs. 2 sets of twins, each having a smaller wooly and a larger hairy. The wooly twin was 2.2 lbs lighter at birth but is gaining correctly in comparison. He is becoming a long attractive lamb, now wethered since I only want thick meaty animals. I am not keeping the wooly ewe lamb I got either. The hairy looking ones are better shedders as I was told by a South African judge when I asked about the difference in coats at birth. Once they get their winter wool, you really can't tell that much difference in their wool. Also they can shed differently each year and also differently as they age.

However, what is the breed standard for Katahdins? Are they supposed to be a stocky thick meat machine like the Dorper or are they supposed to be taller, leggier and more angular? The Dorper standard says that that the height of the Dorper from withers to the ground should be divided into 3 parts. There should be no more than 1/3 of the height from the bottom of the belly to the ground. 2/3 of the height should be body. What are Katahdin proportions supposed to be from the standard of perfection?
Breed standard says they are a medium sized sheep with a hair coat and an alert appearance. Head erect and legs squarely placed. (KHSI)
Legs should be medium length and bone in proportion to size.(KHSI)
Backs should be loin long, wide, deep and well fleshed.
 

Ridgetop

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Your cull girl looks a lot like my Rose, which would also have been a cull in a herd of mine if I didn't need her so bad right now....eventually I want to weed out all of those body types. Hate to breed her knowing she may pass that body along, but for now I just need mouths and hooves on the ground and I'll worry about conformation later on.

Those lambs would definitely be keepers in my book! LOVE those wavy coats and the balanced bodies they have.
If you keep your poorer quality ewes and invest in a really good thick registered ram with correct body structure you can upgrade your flock in just a couple years. His lambs can be bred back to him to double upon his genetics with no problems. Register his daughters and granddaughters as percentages. After 2 years replace him with an even better registered ram and do the same for another 2 years. By now you should have improved your flock, most of your ewes will be registered percentages and within another generation of being enough percentage to be registered as purebred. Now sell off the original ewes after the 4 years. Do not be tempted to save money by keeping a ram for breeding or you will be taking your flock backwards. Eat or sell all rams, keeping only the ewes out of the good rams. With your new nucleus of percentage ewes, continue investing in good registered rams. Now you can start culling for the specific body type you want based on the standard. In about 5-10 years you will have the flock you want at a much lower cost than replacing everything at once.

I had heavy losses in my flock one year and took the opportunity to switch breeds. But I used on line auctions of registered stock and was lucky enough to get some real bargains. I kept some of my original ewes and bred to the new buck for meat sales. Then I sold the original ewes of that breed and the cross bred lambs to buy the rest of my small purebred nucleus. I shopped around and got good bargains in prices without sacrificing quality and type. You don't have to spend a fortune to end up with lovely animals out of excellent bloodlines and expensive breeders. Watch for the animals that are out of the expensive rams purchased by other breeders. Learn the bloodlines and watch for them in the auctions. I have ewes and rams out of animals and bloodlines I couldn't afford myself. Other breeders bought them, bred them to good ewes, and sold their lambs at purebred auctions. I was lucky enough to buy those lambs for prices I could afford. I was outbid on some beautiful animals as well.

Shows of registered stock with an auction following is another opportunity to purchase stock reasonably, have some fun, and learn a lot from the judge's comments as well. Make sure you know what you are looking for in bloodlines and type, and make sure you are firm in your budget. LOL Auctions are fun and addictive. When you wake up you can be shocked at what you did. Don't sit with friends who will encourage you to bid too high, don;t st with your husband who won't let you bid enough, and don't have anything to drink!!!
LOL If it is alcohol, you can get carried away with your bidding card and if it is coffee you have to run to the bathroom and miss the terrific bargain that went for minimum bid! But you will have a blast!
 

Beekissed

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I have no interest in registering stock....I've seen registered Katahdins in my state and in the next and in all cases they didn't even resemble Katahdins. They looked like miniature sheep, cow hocked, slender in the rump and chest, hay bellies, etc. I don't know where they were getting their "registered Katahdins" but they were the most poor representation of the breed I've seen! To me that says being registered doesn't hold the significance that it should...if just any animal can be registered, I have no interest in being in that category.

There are no auctions of just Katahdins in my area and likely not for a good long distance. I have found, on the other hand, just a few breeders here and there who have developed flocks in conjunction with some state universities and Poly Tech that show great promise~one of which I bought some great looking ewe lambs recently and from which I'll likely buy my next ram. She had the most uniform stock I'd seen and almost all were exactly what I was looking for in conformation.

That gives me hope! None are being sold as registered stock either....I think they too have found along the way that registered doesn't hold the weight it used to. Mostly it seems to be folks with a lot of money but not much experience with stock who want a hobby that makes them some money, so they throw money at it and think they are getting the best. I don't think they even bothered to research the breed standard before they went shopping, they just bought "registered" stock from someone else who didn't breed for the standard.

This whole venture is about starting something on a shoestring and refining it into something worthwhile, so I'll likely keep investments as low as I can and still get some level of quality. I'm not interested in running with the big boys in sheep farming, just maintaining a small herd of sheep worthy of spending time on.


But I used on line auctions of registered stock and was lucky enough to get some real bargains.
Tell us more about this....how does that work? I bought my current ram lamb sort of online from an individual, not actually getting to see him for myself except through pictures. I'll not be doing that again, as the pictures just didn't give perspective as to the actual size and depth of the animal.
 

Ridgetop

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Thank you for the instructions - I will try to get a oost up and a new thread running. I took a photo of the instructions with my ohone so I can print it out - I can't always remember or find instructions again! LOL
:caf:idunno:hide

I have no interest in registering stock....I've seen registered Katahdins in my state and in the next and in all cases they didn't even resemble Katahdins. They looked like miniature sheep, cow hocked, slender in the rump and chest, hay bellies, etc. I don't know where they were getting their "registered Katahdins" but they were the most poor representation of the breed I've seen! To me that says being registered doesn't hold the significance that it should...if just any animal can be registered, I have no interest in being in that category.

There are no auctions of just Katahdins in my area and likely not for a good long distance. I have found, on the other hand, just a few breeders here and there who have developed flocks in conjunction with some state universities and Poly Tech that show great promise~one of which I bought some great looking ewe lambs recently and from which I'll likely buy my next ram. She had the most uniform stock I'd seen and almost all were exactly what I was looking for in conformation.

Beekssed: I have seen a lot of the Katahdin body types you are referring to. One reason why I went with White Dorpers. Until I saw Bay's new ram, Ringo, I really didn't like the look of any Katahdins I saw since they were tall, rangier, short bodied, no width in rump or loin. They had body types more like dairy goats - no meat. The breeders of those sheep said they held their "lambs" to 8-10 months old for a 100 lb. lamb for slaughter but raved about the tenderness of the meat and taste. We even bought some to try figuring to keep an open mind. It was tough and the flavor was nothing special. I have also seen Dorper sheep that looked like those first Katahdins we saw though, so people that do not have an end product in mind will not understand where the meat ont he carcass comes from and be content to produce poor specimens. Breeders need to study carcasses and cuts of meat to really know how to judge meat production livestock. Another thread once I learn how to put it up?!

Finding that local flock that is extremely uniform is wonderful That is what all producers strive for - uniformity of type (good type of course LOL) means they now what they are going for and are being successful in producing it. It sounds like you are well on your way to an excellent flock with a terrific ram and a nucleus of uniform meaty ewes to breed to.

However, do not be too ready to dismiss registration - it is one way to be sure you are getting purebred stock. We all keep records on our flocks, and registration is a good way to be able to trac the genetics back if you want to. Some lines are very prepotent - the original animal stamps all its progeny with certain traits. Valuable information for a breeder. Other great animals only produce junk. Seen it happen a lot, owned animals that were champions and produced only tasty freezer fill, owned others that were not that special that produced champions consistently.

I agree that many of the show people breed and show as a hobby. It is not cheap to buy or import a quality animal, fit it, travel to the show, stay for several days, motels and meals, and you have to have someone home at the ranch caring for the other livestock. FYI: One reason sheep shows are a problem is that unlike dairy goat shows, you can only show animals up to yearlings. Dairy goats do not mature until around 2 years and often get better with future lactations (the udder is 50% of the standard). You usually bring the whole herd since substandard specimens are culled out after first freshening. Especially since there are usually classes for get, produce, and herd, both in and out of milk. Much easier except you have to drag all the milking equipment, the pasteurizers, all the bottle kids since you have their food supply the show LOL, and half the barn with you! LOL You only need someone to come over every day and feed the bucks and dogs. I loved dairy but it is sooo labor intensive.

Back to the show scene sheep breeders. They often have plenty of money and they spend a lot of money on shows, importing stock, and ADVERTISING to get a big name. Then they sell for big money since they usually win and everyone wants one of their winning animals. Let's be honest though, they usually win because they have exceptional animals since they are buying the best stock to breed. Most of us small fry cannot afford one of their high priced animals.

However, you can use that to your advantage by buying animals from other breeders who have bought from the expensive breeders. Those other breeders put out the money, improve their stock, and then sell animals they have bred from the expensive stuff to us. We get the benefit of their investment, knowledge, and skill but pay less than importing something ourselves. Avoid the high priced showmen and buy from the second or third generation breeder down who has the right bloodlines in their flock. That is how I can afford registered ewes from South African and Australian imports, excellent bucks, and am several years ahead on my breeding program. I will never be a big, well known breeder, but I will enjoy looking at the sheep in my pasture, I can guarantee the meat yield to my meat customers,and if I decide to enter a show I will have something to be proud of. Since I have a tiny flock compared to most show people (who also raise large flocks of commercial unregistered sheep for the industry) this works for me. I also have the opportunity to sell registered animals if some one needs one.

You are in West Virginia - is that too far from Mike to get stock? Bay is super happy with her Ringo. He is also breeding for parasite resistance. And I think the large (National?) Katahdin show is in July or August in Tennessee? Correct me here Bay and Mike. A road trip to the show would be a great vacation and you would have the opportunity to talk to judges and exhibitors whose animals you like.

I have had both registered and unregistered stock in many breeds - they all were bought with an eye to meat, and they all tasted good. You just have more scope for sale with registered stock, unless you have a market for club Fair market lambs, which is unlikely with Katahdins unless your fair has a class for hair sheep market lambs.

With your new lot of nice lambs, adding a registered ram means you can register their lambs as percentages, and by adding just a registered ram every couple of years eventually you will have a good registered flock. You will end up as the breeder in West Virginia with the good registered Katahdins that other breeders come to for their stock.

Go Beekissed! I will brag I knew you when! LOL

Going to try to do a thread now - back victorious later for a name! or in tears . . . .
 

Beekissed

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Your cull girl looks a lot like my Rose, which would also have been a cull in a herd of mine if I didn't need her so bad right now....eventually I want to weed out all of those body types. Hate to breed her knowing she may pass that body along, but for now I just need mouths and hooves on the ground and I'll worry about conformation later on.

Those lambs would definitely be keepers in my book! LOVE those wavy coats and the balanced bodies they have.
 

Baymule

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I started with 4 bred ewes. I have tried to build my flock to the number I wanted, trying to keep the best. Now I can cull harder and keep the best of the best. I’ll slowly move into a mostly registered flock. I’m learning a lot from my mixed commercial ewes.

Psssttt...... Bee...... the brown ewe pictured is Lily, not on the cull list. I didn’t get a picture of Little Cutie, the hump backed cull. ;)
 
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