Show Sheep Breeds

farmchick

Chillin' with the herd
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My family's getting some sheep that I will show in a county fair in Nebraska, as part of 4H.
We don't have many breeders that won't step down off of their high horse and sell reasonably priced lambs, so we have to get them from our salebarn.
Anyway, I was wondering what breeds of sheep do best in the show ring? We'll only have a couple options at the auction (if any). What would you suggest?
 

cattlecait

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If you're going for a market lamb, the ones that tend to show the best are Suffolks, Hampshires, or a cross of the two. White faced market lambs tend to be Rambouliette (I don't think I spelled that right) or Dorsets, but a blackface will nearly always outshow a whiteface.

That being said, if you just want to show breeding stock, pick a breed and run with it. There are plenty of beautiful sheep breeds that would do nicely in the show ring as breeding stock but that can't compete with club lambs for market competitions.
 

goodhors

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Have to agree, for 4-H Market Lamb competition, the black-face, black-legged will almost always win. Judges will usually place you in Showmanship (not first), but not in the Market classes with a white-face lamb. Anything white-faced would have to be stupendous for first or Grand as a Market animal. You should check for a Sheep Breeder's site in your state, find names and phone numbers for calling about market lambs. Better bred, better "type" in body style, probably will cost you more than auction lambs. But you know what kind of product you will be ending up with from a breeder. Any lamb from the sale could look good at young age, then not develop well with age. Good producers will brag of their lambs winning at various shows, Fairs, so you know the judges liked the product lamb. Early birthday is better for early Fair dates.

You need to watch costs, very easy to put more into lamb with feed cost, than you will net back at the meat auction of fair. Just listening to the kids in our group talk about their feeding, I KNOW they have invested more than they make back selling unless they make Grand or Reserve.

We graze our lambs with some feed daily. Feed is made of mixing oats, cracked corn, lamb pellets. Ours seem to "make weight" for a nice finish at Fair. Most desirable weight is 130-140# here. Lots of daily exercise is needed to get lambs hard bodied the way judges like ithem. Exercise here is from daily walking, working up to about a mile and a half daily in the big field. You can poke them, no give at all in the haunches, body, all muscle with fat well distributed thru meat. That is what wins in the meat ring.

Breeding sheep are judged on correctness of build, quality of fleece if a wool sheep, but not often fitness. They don't want to see fat, but they are not hard bodied from exercise. You buy good registered stock, they will do well in the ring. Again, do a internet search for your choice of breed in your state, for names and numbers to call for shopping to buy.
 
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