You know what that means?... New lambs! I bought five ewe lambs from my friend. Same farm 184 & 185 are from (half border cheviot, half shetland). These ewe lambs were sired by a half brother to 184 & 185 bred back to shetland ewes, so these are 1/4 border cheviot 3/4 shetland. They've been here nearing a month now and seem to be doing well. The day they got here I weighed them. I was going to weigh my lambs next.. the first one I did the case of the scale popped apart.. Oops. It's supposed to go up to 50# but I guess that really means 40# and with no movement, let alone a kicking 40+lb lamb... Ooooops..
I did get the new ewes weights though so when I get to weigh them again I'll be able to get avg. daily gains for them and 87.
225- 41# moorit, small white spot, we shall see if she carries spotting.
228- 37# moorit, light katmoget, so her wool is a creamy color and her face markings are much lighter.
229- 42.5# white.
230- 37.5# black, odd grey patch on her right front leg so we shall see if she changes color at all and what she might carry pattern wise.
231- 41.5# white.
Did you scroll back and count? I had to recount.. This brings me to 8 proven ewes and 12 ewe lambs.. 20 ewes! I juggled pros and cons for a full day before settling on buying the new ewe lambs. The final decision came down to growing the flock and culling hard. But you ask, how the heck do you grow the flock and cull hard?
If I have 10 ewes I really want to keep all the ewe lambs and all the ewes. If I have 20 ewes I'm already on the way to a larger flock more quickly. I have more ewes so it's easier to say, hey self!
, I have a bigger flock and get rid of the worst 2 or 3 producing ewes every year.. I am making room for keeping more ewe lambs from the rest of the ewes who are doing better. This increases the flock size and keeps daughters only from ewes that are doing the best. Commercial farms it's a 'rule of thumb' to cull the bottom 15% of the flock each year and breed the top 30% ewes to your choice ram for replacement ewes selection. Just like you wouldn't coddle one plant through a year and keep seed from it. No, you plant a bunch and keep seed from the plants doing the best. Same idea here.
The math goes along the lines of...
-2020 cull down to 8 proven ewes, 12 ewe lambs.
-2021 est 22 lambs born. Cull 2 worst ewes. (125% lambing rate of proven ewes)
18 proven ewes, 8 ewe lambs.
-2022 est 33 lambs born. Cull 4 worst ewes. (140%)
22 proven, 10 ewe lambs.
-2023 est 43 lambs born. Cull 4 worst ewes (150%)
28 proven, 10 ewe lambs.
-2024 est 52 lambs born. Cull 4 worst ewes (150%)
34 ewes, 14 ewe lambs.
-2025 est 72 lambs born. Cull 8 worst ewes (160% proven. 125% first timers)
40 ewes, 20 ewe lambs.
-2026 est 88 lambs born. Cull 8 worst ewes (160%, 125%)
Of course this is all variables. I might end up that this spring all the ewes do great but 2 to cull. Might have several with issues that are known to repeat and there is 6 to cull. Leaving me with either 18 or 12 proven ewes that fall. Maybe one year is a ram year and keeping the best ewe lambs means only 4. Maybe it's a ewe year and they are pretty much all doing great and I keep 10. Maybe my lambing rates aren't as good? Maybe my lambing rates increase faster? You never know until it's all finished and you have all the numbers in. That's why I like to doodle out lots of possibilities. When things change I will already have thought about a lot of different options.
84 and her mom, Midget. 84 is 1/4 mini cheviot. She looks the most like Chonk, the new full mini cheviot ram.