Margali's Griffin Wood Ranch

Ridgetop

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Losing lambs is heartbreaking. We have all been through this and really feel for you. We all try to be tough about it, but the death of our livestock hits us all. Not just the money loss, but the heartbreak of not preventing it. You did everything you could, you have fencing in place, had LGDs on property, got her to the vet - Sometimes life works against you. :hugs
 

Ridgetop

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I'm considering which if ram to wether if not all of them. Mine look like crap compared to hunk the Covington's exhibited. Maybe if theu are just meat it will hurt less if coyotes get more.
First, losing livestock always hurts no matter how valuable they are. There is nothing so sickening to a rancher as finding a dead animal. :hugs Another thing to remember is that comparing your lambs to Covington's finished mature ram is silly. Lambs will go from perfect conformation to crap and back many times before they mature. Just because he exhibited a perfect specimen doesn't mean that he hasn't got a barnful of crap at home! LOL

Don't be disheartened by lack of success in ram sales this early in your breeding experience. Keep going to the seminars and build up your name and presence. Talk to the established breeders so they will know and remember you. Learn the Standard of Perfection and how to apply it. It takes years to be able to judge a mature animal and judging youngsters is almost impossible. The lamb that wins Champion lamb this month may be at the tail end of the line up next month. I have seen this happen, even in 3 day shows under different judges.

Covington has been in the business for years. He knows the Standard of Perfection backwards and forwards. He has been breeding for improvement for years and using the best and often most expensive bloodlines and animals he can find to get the results he has. He is on the Board, knows what the Katahdin people are breeding for, and probably helps determine changes in the Standard. You cannot compare your first few generations of lambs to his. Remember you are starting out and need to breed up even though you started with registered animals. You will get there. :highfive:

Here is my experience over 30+ years for what it is worth. Maybe nothing since it is free. LOL

Don't bother to wether the ram lambs, sell all of them at weaning as entires. Entires are more popular with ethnic buyers and can bring more $. Plan to sell all ram lambs at auction for the next couple years while you build up your flock. Plan weaning separation for day before auction. Pull ram lambs from ewes when weaning, toss into trailer with hay and water, and take to auction next morning. They will mail you your check. If it is easier with your work schedule, you can take them in the afternoon before. If you are getting paid by the head this is not a problem. Otherwise, the longer the just weaned lambs sit in the feedlot you have to figure shrinkage. Shrinkage is the amount of weight they drop from transport, stress, and loss of mama's milk.

Prices are better about 2-3 weeks before Easter, Passover, or a Moslem holiday. Look up those holidays and breed to wean and sell about 2-3 weeks before those dates. DO NOT hold them to try to get them bigger. Best prices are paid for the smaller weights - 50-70 lbs. Prices start to drop slightly after those weights, and it costs you more in feed. Your rate of return will decrease no matter what you get for a larger lamb. If you want to raise a lamb for your freezer, wether that one young and keep him with his mama. If you have private meat customers, figure out the cost of feed to get the lamb to 100 lbs. which is your slaughter mark. It may not be worth the trouble and cost depending how long it takes the lamb to reach 100 lbs. Remember that wethers don't gain weight as fast as rams.

Some years ago when we had just a few sheep I sold slaughter lambs to neighbors. I wethered them, fed them, and grained them the last month or two. One year my buyer complained about the price of the butcher to slaughter, cut, and wrap, and wanted me to see if we could get a discount. He also said my price of $200 for a finished 115-120 lb. lamb was too high. We also transported the lambs to the butcher (120 miles round trip) and sometimes would pick up his meat for him when we picked up ours. I feed alfalfa since I have no pastures and finish off my locker lambs with barleycorn. I went back through my receipts and figured out what it cost me to finish a high quality lamb carcass. It cost me $225 for each finished lamb back then, not counting water or labor, let alone the gas to deliver it to the butcher! I sent him the breakdown. He bought the lamb he had reserved that year but I never offered hm another one. From that day I take all my ram lambs to the auction at weaning. At weaning they have gained the fastest, and at the cheapest cost.

Your hay cost is not as high as mine, and you have some pasture, but frankly even when we move to Texas and have pasture and cheap hay, I will continue taking the ram lambs to auction at weaning. No point wasting pasture on ram lambs. I currently have 3 excellent stud rams, 2 good ram lambs coming along, and a top quality Black Head Dorper that Wes fostered onto one of the ewes I bought. I have a lot of good ram lambs expected from top quality stock ad they will all be going to auction.

Remember you can always pick up good ram reasonably. At this point in your flock your money sales will come from registered ewe lambs. A ram can service 30 ewes = 30-90 lambs. A ewe can only produce 1-3 lambs at a time. While the ram is half your flock, there is no way you will have buyers for all the ram lambs you produce except for meat.

This is your first year at the Kat Expo with a ewe lamb to sell. If you have more ewe lambs available next year you will be able to sell them too. Maybe raise your prices after you see how many ewe lambs are at the Expo for sell.
 

Baymule

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And did you take a picture of him????

IMG_6389.jpeg
 
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