Sunday, October 10, 2010

Back & Forth Boys

What to do with the ram lambs?  I go back and forth.
Sell? Keep? Market as butcher lambs? Wether for fiber pets?
I changed coats on all three boys yesterday.  My own sons were helping me with the changes and then moving them across the yard to a new I didn't bother with getting photos during the process.  But I did get a chance to evaluate fleeces again.
Beck...not quite as soft as a newborn.  But yesterday I couldn't feel any difference between his fleece and his brother's fleece.  I had made up my mind to wether him.  Now I'm doubting that decision.  I'm assuming that decisions like this start getting harder as one approaches flock goals.  So I will count it as a sign of flock improvement that my least favorite lamb seems as soft as my favorite.
Clennam and Tecwyn knee deep in clover.  Having good forage this late in the year is so uncommon.
Clennam with his broken scur.  Since it isn't hurting him in anyway, I keep forgetting to get it clipped off.  Clennam has gorgeous black tips to his fleece under that coat.
This photo shows how good Beck's hindquarters are.  All three boys are nice and wide like this.
And here is my favorite...Tecwyn.  He has fine bones and yet a very alert, masculine presence.  And the softest fleece in my flock.


Michelle said...

Well, I'm going to be keeping two ram lambs intact, which will give me THREE rams for a flock of four breedable ewes! I'm not sure Rick understands that I plan on keeping three rams for awhile, but right now they each have some great things to offer my flock.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

If I kept these boys over winter I'd have 5 intact rams to 11 girls. :)

I'm seriously considering putting Tecwyn over January if she does not sell.

Or just putting everyone extra in the freezer. See what I mean about not having my mind made up? If the guy leasing my dad's fields gets a good crop of hay put up this week...NO RAIN...I may have some wiggle room for how many I can winter over. If the crop isn't so great and I have to look farther afield, I will definitely be forced to cut back.

I hope keeping your three boys works out well for you!

Laura said...

You could always keep them all intact and in the spring after shearing pick out the best to sell/use and send the rest to the butcher. That way you'd get the fleece as well as a bigger lamb. Or you could turn the extras into wethers after shearing. (You will probably need a vet to do it by now and if you wait then you'd have a better idea how they will turn out.)

I think part of keeping purebred sheep is too many rams! Good luck deciding!

Michelle said...

I hear you on hay; we are still about four tons short of what we need for the "hay year." Philosophically, I think waiting to use rams until they are at least a year old is good policy, because you have a better idea of their quality and whether or not they will contribute positively to the breed (thankfully, with polled rams we don't have to wait and see how horns turn out!). After a short email conversation with Franna, I am now leaning strongly towards giving all four girls to the mature, proven ram; his fleece histo is hard to beat, and the little boys are unknowns.

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Mature rams trump here. I haven't used a ram lamb for a few years now. The two adult boys I have now I bought last fall and held over. I agree that one makes a much more educated choice of breeding pairs if you can see the ram as an adult.

I'm just tempted to use Tecwyn since I only got one ewe lamb out of that Arvada line. (Jan's baby). Tec is so similar to Arvada that I think it would be a good cross and maybe give me just a little more bloodline to play with.

Laura, I usually do keep my intact boys over the winter. Then I hand shear them in March and sell them as butcher lambs. I was just hoping to not have to take the trouble this year with that extra pen and extra hay.

Yep, everyone has too many ram lambs. lol

Does anyone have any success with selling the 50-60lb ram lambs in fall as butcher lambs? I know the taste would be superb. But around here the locker charges $50/sheep-regardless of size.