1. BYH Official Poll: What are the things that you should consider before buying herds?
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  2. Peachicks - Featured Thread
    CLICK HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)

    Dismiss Notice
  3. Dismiss Notice
  4. BYH Picture of the Week (POW) - Submit your Pics Now !!
    Click HERE!
    (if you are logged in, this notice can be dismissed using the "x" to the top right of the notice)
    Dismiss Notice

Most prolific sheep breed?

Discussion in 'Breeds & Breeding - Sheep' started by JREDEKOP, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Sep 28, 2018
    JREDEKOP

    JREDEKOP Just born

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    9
    Hey guys. Im from down south of Texas. Was wondering which would be the most prolific sheep breed? Was thinking black belly or pelibuey ewes and crossing them with dorper rams purely for meat production of course. And thoughts?
     
    Baymule likes this.
  2. Sep 29, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    14,416
    Likes Received:
    31,995
    Trophy Points:
    763
    Location:
    Northeast Texas
    I have Dorper and Katahdin cross ewes. I currently have a Dorper ram. When you say prolific, do you mean number of lambs or pounds of meat?
     
  3. Sep 29, 2018
    JREDEKOP

    JREDEKOP Just born

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    9
    I was referring to lambs produced per year as in most frequently give 2 lamb crops per year, fertility and least seasonal breeders.
    I have a few katahdin ewes but mostly they give birth just once per year. I feed them mostly green oat hay but maybe a mineral supplement would help a little.
     
  4. Sep 29, 2018
    Latestarter

    Latestarter Novice; "Practicing" Animal Husbandry Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Dec 31, 2014
    Messages:
    11,386
    Likes Received:
    17,394
    Trophy Points:
    623
    Location:
    NE Texas
    :idunno I'm not a Sheeple so only "know" what I've read/heard... Not sure here if I'm accurate, but with 5 month gestation, then at least 2-3 months (generally more?) before weaning, then a month or two to get the ewe back in shape, I was under the impression that 3 births in a 2 year period was more or less the norm. From my understanding, nursing the lambs can really draw down a ewe, especially with twins or trips, unless it's a dairy breed. Many suggest that even that schedule is really pushing it if done over a long period and might shorten the life of the ewe, wear her out early. I suppose any hair sheep breed would fit the bill for production as they are year round breeders. As for meat yield, there are a number of breeds that are considered good.

    Welcome to BYH. Browse around some as there's quite a bit of sheep knowledge shared in the various threads. Make yourself at home!
     
  5. Sep 29, 2018
    Mike CHS

    Mike CHS Herd Master Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2013
    Messages:
    7,199
    Likes Received:
    21,306
    Trophy Points:
    663
    Location:
    Southern Middle TN
    @Latestarter noted the pitfalls and you can do what you planned. I wouldn't do that to my sheep but that's our preference in taking care of our animals. We try to wean at 2-3 months but aren't rigid in doing so and we give our ewes time to get back into prime condition in whatever time that it takes but it's usually 4-6 months after she lambs. Most of the people that I know in our area shoot for three lambs in two years but I do know of some that breed back immediately after weaning at two months. If you are south of Texas you have more of a growing season than most any of us on the forum.
     
  6. Sep 30, 2018
    Baymule

    Baymule Herd Master

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2010
    Messages:
    14,416
    Likes Received:
    31,995
    Trophy Points:
    763
    Location:
    Northeast Texas
    I keep a sheep mineral out (under the cover of the barn) for my sheep and they eat it like candy. I also give them Azomite which is a rock dust. Even with the mineral, they would eat dirt from fresh gopher mounds, so I added Azomite for their choice. The ewes are growing babies and can't gestate, birth and give milk to raise lambs, out of nothing. Most hay and pastures won't have the trace minerals they need.
     
  7. Sep 30, 2018
    farmerjan

    farmerjan Herd Master

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2016
    Messages:
    2,144
    Likes Received:
    5,579
    Trophy Points:
    338
    Location:
    virginia
    If you are looking at number of lambs and number of lambings, then Polypays, would have to be at the top of the list. They are known for large "litters" of lambs, namely 3-5 at a time. But they are also less dependent on the whole photoestrus thing that most sheep are. Do a little research and you will be able to find some breeders. These are a WOOL BREED, so will need shearing. The Finnsheep that make up one of the original breeds in the cross were noted for their numbers of lambs per birth. One thing, often a ewe will not be able to feed all the lambs produced, simply because they cannot produce that amount of milk. Many will raise trips, but more than that will tax her system or the littlest lamb will just get shortchanged.
    If you don't want to deal with wool then the breeds of hair sheep available is a shorter list.
     
  8. Dec 3, 2018
    SheepGirl

    SheepGirl Master of Sheep Golden Herd Member

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    3,625
    Likes Received:
    876
    Trophy Points:
    313
    Location:
    Frederick, Maryland
    Finnsheep and Romanovs are the most prolific breeds. You can breed sheep to lamb on an accelerated schedule; sheep with longer breeding seasons are best adapted to this (Finns, Romanovs, Dorsets, Polypays, Katahdins, etc). There are many frequencies you can choose from, every 7.2 months (STAR), 8 months (3x/2 yrs), or less frequent, up to and including 1x/yr.