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Rate her condition

Discussion in 'Everything Else Sheep' started by mystang89, Jun 8, 2019.

  1. Jun 12, 2019 at 7:00 PM
    Ridgetop

    Ridgetop True BYH Addict

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    First, condition does not mean that her belly will be swollen. Condition refers to the amount of fat covering over her ribs, spine, and bones. There are some very good articles on-line showing exactly what you want to feel when checking for condition. And exactly how and where to check. Feeling the ewe's ribs, spine. rump, and shoulders is the only way to check her condition. You want to feel some muscling and fat over the bones, but not too mch. You should be able to identify the spinal process even though it is covered in muscle and some fat, and just feel the ribs under the fat/muscle. If you can't identify that the bones are there, she is too high in condition. A ewe too high in condition may not take when she is bred, while a ewe too low in condition will have trouble producing good quality and quantity of eggs. Ideal condition to breed is 3.5.

    If the sheep are on rough forage, they will have a larger belly since their rumens are working to capacity. But the hollow is not cause for worry. Since she is not pregnant she is not be filling out with lambs. An open ewe usually has small hollows right in front of her hips.

    If this ewe is only 2 years old, and has only lambed once - raising one set of twins - why did you decide not to breed her this season? Unless she was much older, and had a hard time raising her last set of lambs, there is no need to skip a breeding season. Once livestock are in a breeding program, they should be kept producing unless there is a severe health reason to stop.
     
    Mike CHS and mystang89 like this.
  2. Jun 12, 2019 at 7:41 PM
    mystang89

    mystang89 True BYH Addict

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    @Ridgetop Thanks much for the clear succinct advice. Perfect. On feeling her, everyone so far had been spot on. She's perfectly healthy. I didn't breed her last year out of an abundance of caution and a lack of knowledge, fearing that she wasn't in good shape to breed. She is definitely breeding this year!
     
  3. Jun 12, 2019 at 11:44 PM
    Sheepshape

    Sheepshape True BYH Addict

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    Good call. Ewes often get way too fat if you don't breed them. My grass isn't growing well this year, but the ewes who didn't have lambs are already 'porky'.......can a ewe be 'PORKy'? One or two of them (not sheared yet, so difficult to be too accurate) appear to be fatter than I'd like them to be.....one even has the 'fat roll' just above her tail. These ewes are Beulah Speckled Face, a 'thrifty' hill breed which maintain their condition on pretty poor rations. They will need to be left on a pretty bare field for a month or two before tupping time.

    That girl looks in peak condition.....
     
    mystang89 likes this.