Terminal Sire Decision: Single or Twin?

Have your experiences shown that rams born a twin improve the prolifacy of their daughters?

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shepherdO

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Hi all,
I'm in the process of choosing a ram for my flock of commercial ewes. There's a great Texel farm locally which I visited, and was astounded by the quality animals there. Anyhoo, I'm looking to purchase one of their young rams to use as my new breeding ram in the fall.

The one that I'm considering is, however, a single, and as I'm hoping to use him both as a terminal sire, and ALSO keep some of his nicer daughters for future breeding, I'm wondering how much the fact that he's 'only' a single will influence whether I get him or not.

Some suggest that if you want to have ewe lambs with good prolifacy, make sure their sire is a multiple. This guy is only a single, BUT he's from a prolific line, and a mother who's had multiples before. The breeder (who's more than willing to sell me a different guy) said:

"He is from a ewe that had twins last year, her twin sister had twins this year and last year and her dam has had triplets twice and twins twice so there is a history of multiple births in the back ground of this ram. His great granddam had triplets several times as have many of the daughters we have kept from her. We have 82Y, 6A, 8B, 75B (his granddam) still in the flock from his great granddam and often get triplets from them. So I guess it is a gamble."

Thoughts? Although his dam singled this time, she seems to be related to good, prolific ewes.

Should I go for him? He was well put together, good muscling, and from a great ram sire.

Dan
 

Roving Jacobs

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The propensity for multiples is genetic but it takes nutrition to actually get them. If the ewe has a strong history of multiples and simply didn't have the stars align for her this year I wouldn't have an issue with a single. This was a weird year for me and I had a lot of singles out of ewes I know have the potential for more. It's not their fault, the weather just made fall grazing a lot worse than usual and I didn't supplement them. I know the genetics are there, the nutrition and weather just didn't let them reach that potential.

If this ram really knocks your socks off I wouldn't be that concerned about him being a single. I might casually look at the multiples in the flock and see if there's one just as nice but if he's the best then go for it.
 

Baymule

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The propensity for multiples is genetic but it takes nutrition to actually get them. If the ewe has a strong history of multiples and simply didn't have the stars align for her this year I wouldn't have an issue with a single. This was a weird year for me and I had a lot of singles out of ewes I know have the potential for more. It's not their fault, the weather just made fall grazing a lot worse than usual and I didn't supplement them. I know the genetics are there, the nutrition and weather just didn't let them reach that potential.

If this ram really knocks your socks off I wouldn't be that concerned about him being a single. I might casually look at the multiples in the flock and see if there's one just as nice but if he's the best then go for it.
Well said!
 

Ridgetop

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I bought a ram from a flock that does Lambplan screening last year and this year I finally found out how to read it. I also went on their website and read up on what to look for when buying stud rams - a little late but it will help in future. Surprisingly, the information said that the ram being a multiple or single does not really factor into the incidence of multiple births. If you plan to keep replacement ewes from this ram, keep them from ewes with multiple birth stats on them, however the number of lambs is not guaranteed by the sire. Texels are not used to produce replacement ewes from commercial flocks though so you don't have to worry about that.

Of more importance is his conformation, the conformation of his parents, the productivity of his parents, the size of the ram's testicles, and any other information the flock keeper has on his sheep and flock. If this flock is on Lambplan, look at the reports and have the breeder explain them to you. More important than whether this ram is a single or twin, is what his sire throws - birth weight, weaning weight, and post weaning weight. If you have a problem with parasites I would also look at whether this ram's parents and siblings have a higher incidence of resistance to parasites.

Since Texels are terminal sires used for raising market lambs only, I would be more interested in birth numbers on the rams and ewes you are using to produce replacement ewes. Buy this ram if he is what you want in conformation for terminal market stock. Again the ram has very little to do with the twinning potential since that is determined by the ewe and the number of eggs she drops at breeding time. That is why you flush your ewes before breeding to get them into optimal condition scores. A ewe with a condition score of 2.5 or lower releases far fewer eggs because she is under nourished. A ewe with a condition score over 3.5 may release few or no eggs because she is too fat and interior fat deposits around her reproductive organs can cause her not to conceive.

Since this Texel ram is a terminal sire, buy the best muscled, widest and longest one you can. The number of lambs he sires depends on the ewes.

(By the way, after learning to read the Lambplan indexes, I found that my ram produces lambs with a slightly lower birth rate which means easier lambing, and higher weaning and post weaning weight which means faster growth to slaughter weight. :celebrate)
 
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