Right now I only have 2 ewes, but as I set up my rotational grazing strategy I'm trying to figure out what to do with the ram I'm eventually planning to get. One of the benefits of rotational grazing is that I leave the sheep in a spot for a few days, then move to a new area. By the time parasites and worms are a problem in the manure, the sheep are gone and won't be back until the parasites are dead. Now, I'm assuming I need to keep the ram separate from the ewes except during breeding season - so what do I do with the ram? If he follows the ewes in the rotation, then wouldn't he be more susceptible to parasites? Obviously if he were following a different species, that would be a different story...
Depending on how much you pay for your ram, and if you are keeping your ewe lambs for breeding and worried about in breeding (line breeding). I keep them together and if the ram gets mean, put him in the freezer after his work is done. They can breed at 3-4 months and the gaminess of lamb is not supposed to come from not being castrated from what i have read and seems to hold true for the few I have eaten. The older ram lambs taste as good as the younger to me. I think being under a year old is the key for taste and texture.
The freezer is the price they pay for meanness.
we plan to leave our ram in with our ewes ( basically year around.
the only time we may take him away is when we have some other ram/whether lambs that can keep him company. a lone sheep isnt a good thing.
we have seen that some people keep a "ram pen" as a place to keep the ram when he is not needed (2-4 months a year)
im not all that familiar with what is ok and not ok as it related to sheep breeding so we plan to switch out or ram every 12-15 months until we get a full flock established.
do your sheep only breed once a year or can they breed out of cycle (3 lamb crops in 2 years)?
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if you keep the ram with the ewes then you will need to separate the keeper ewe lambs until they are old enough for breeding. that way you wont have ewe lambs bred very young. though that's more likely with year round breeding breeds like katahdins. whereas others that don't breed year round, if you introduce the ram say December 10, then they will lamb about May 5. then those lambs will be 6 or 7 months old in Oct/Nov for breeding. but that also depends on breed and all if the ewe lambs will be big enough that soon for breeding.
I keep my ram(s) in a separate set of pastures except during the breeding season. This way I know exactly when my lambs are going drop in the spring. Since sheep don't like being alone, if I only have one ram I run it with a wether for company. When I am keeping several rams of varying sizes and ages, I will run a large wether with them. This way when a large ram starts bullying a smaller ram, it can run around and hide behind the wether to avoid the attentions of the larger ram.
In your rotational grazing scheme, get a wether to run with the ram as a separate herd from your ewes, then double your number of paddocks so your time between grazing remains the same.
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