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Keeping ewe lambs for breeding, yet keeping their dad...

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Sheep' started by Mindi, May 31, 2016.

  1. May 31, 2016
    Mindi

    Mindi Ridin' The Range

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    Has anyone kept a ram for a few years for breeding and keep the ewe lambs born to that herd? I would never breed my lambs to their dad, but to up my flock I would love to keep my 3 ewe lambs for future breeding. I guess the problem kinda is I think the hubs is somewhat attached to our ram Olaf. I like Olaf, but he can sure be a butt! What do others do if they have a ewes-only flock but also use them for breeding?:hu
     
  2. Jun 1, 2016
    TAH

    TAH Herd Master

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    I will tag people hew will help.
    @purplequeenvt @norseofcourse @Roving Jacobs @Baymule
     
  3. Jun 1, 2016
    Ponker

    Ponker Loving the herd life

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    I have kept two of my ewe lambs for breeding. Their sire is my ram Holstein. He won't be bred back to them because I raise FBA Finnsheep to sell registered lambs and wool. As I grow my herd, I am adding rams as well as ewes to keep my bloodlines diverse. It's ok to keep mother and daughter and add a ram to breed to the daughters. Use Olaf to breed to your existing ewes and add a ram for the daughters. I am getting a third ram July 15 as well as five new ewe lambs. That will bring me to 3 rams and nine ewes, including a mother and her daughters, a relative of Holstein who I can't breed him to, and a ram who is a brother to Sissy the relative of Holstein. Sounds complicated but the breeding pairs are clearly defined.

    My rams pasture together and the ewes pasture together. When it comes time for breeding, the ewes will be separated into pastures with their rams. I have 3 breeding groups and will be able to keep lambs form any ewe because I have unrelated rams to breed to them.

    Some people who raise Finns change out their rams every few years to breed their daughters and ewes to different blood.

    Some people raise meat breeds and do breed father and daughter to sell the lambs for meat. That is fine and some people do breed daughter and father but with registered stock most people won't buy a lamb that closely bred and some registries won't register such lambs. I won't get into line breeding because its best left to those with years of experience and the heart to deal with the manifestation of the negative traits trying to find the positive.

    So just add a ram lamb to Olaf's pasture. I'm sure he'd enjoy the company. Problem solved. It can be fun looking for a ram. Do you want more color? Do you want bigger or more dainty stock? Find a very good quality ram with a robust pedigree and you'll see his influence on your stock for many generations. A young ram can be purchased quite economically right now with the lambing season coming to a close and the abundance of ram lambs left on the market.
     
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  4. Jun 2, 2016
    norseofcourse

    norseofcourse Herd Master Golden Herd Member

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    I have kept one ewe lamb and bred her back to her sire. That's the furthest I'd go, though, so I won't keep any of her offspring. Her twins this year look good and are growing well. I want to keep my flock small, so I should be able to keep my ram for several more years.

    If you have the room and pastures for more than one breeding group, having two unrelated rams like @Ponker suggests may work for you.
     
  5. Jun 2, 2016
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

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    What Ponker said. :thumbsup
     
  6. Jun 2, 2016
    purplequeenvt

    purplequeenvt True BYH Addict

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    If you don't want to buy a new ram and don't want to breed ewes to their sire, then don't keep lambs.

    Like others have suggested, keep your ewe lambs and purchase a 2nd ram. Your original ewes get bred to the original ram and the offspring are bred to the new guy. Obviously if you keep and lambs from the 2nd cross, you'd have to get a 3rd ram. ;)

    I don't think that the world will end if you breed father to daughter though. Line-breeding can help lock in good traits. It can also help reveal genetic flaws as well.

    I had a Shetland ewe lamb get bred (through a fence) to her 1/2 brother. The resulting lamb was almost exactly what I had been trying to get in my flock and hadn't succeeded in doing.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2017
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  7. Jun 2, 2016
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

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    When I keep back ewe lambs and I don't buy a new ram, I just breed them right back to their sire. No issues. Most of my lambs go to auction anyway.
     
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  8. Jun 14, 2016
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape True BYH Addict

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    Just a suggestion.....ask friends/neighbours etc. We often do a ram swop or loan out one of ours in order to avoid inbreeding.

    I personally am a great fan of outbreeding, but we have had a couple of unintended lambing from half brothers and sisters (same sire) which have resulted in perfectly fit lambs.
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
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  9. May 16, 2017
    Wickedchicken6

    Wickedchicken6 Ridin' The Range

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    If you are breeding commercial animals where you're not restricted by a purebred registry...and these animals are for yourself and don't have any genetic issues (which I'm assuming they wouldn't since you're keeping them) ;) it should be ok to cross father/daughter or mother/son.

    I agree with the posters above who would call it there and not breed closer than that. That's five months gestation and say, 7 months before the offspring from that cross would be mature enough to breed if they were decent replacement stock. That's a whole year, or more...who knows, you may have another ram by that time. :)
     
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2017
  10. May 29, 2017
    The Old Ram-Australia

    The Old Ram-Australia Loving the herd life

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    G'day,the first question is ,"what is your objective?".When breeding for meat as the main objective,you can progress faster if you embark on a "composite" course of breeding.Using 2 breeds to begin with means that you have a very good genetic diversity to start with,buy the "best" ram you can afford of the given type and you can then breed father to daughter.From the ewe progeny see where you need to improve and select a ram from a third breed which will improve your meat outcome.Don't ignore the "milkyness" of the ewe flock,due to the increased growth from as much milk the lamb can drink,in some regions of the Mediterranean there is a very good premium for "milk fed lamb".
    Remember you are looking to improve the carcass outcome ,"because they are all the same color under the skin"...T.O.R.