Your potential production (wool, lambs and surplus sheep) is largely determined by the flock’s genetics and farm feed supply. Genetic gain is primarily influenced by the: -Rams purchased -Sheep retained in the flock (ewes and wethers) -Bought-in replacement ewes and wethers.
Selection of both ewes and wethers can raise the average productivity . . . → Read More: Identify opportunities to improve key production traits in sheep
Genetic decisions have long-term impacts on your flock. Take a longer term view of the market when planning your flock structure and production targets. Considerations include the opportunities for premiums or adding to the relative value of wool and meat. These considerations need to be part of a 10-year time frame as . . . → Read More: Breeding sheep for key genetic traits
Out-of-season breeding is becoming more popular as producers move to accelerated lambing programs to supply product to the marketplace on a year round basis. Controlled reproduction will synchronize the ewe so that lambing occurs in a restricted timeframe. It will also give an out-of-season heat so that ewe can be bred in the . . . → Read More: Out of season breeding alternatives for sheep
Culling animals is essentially a ‘de-selection’ process, which helps to ensure the economic viability and health of your flock. All of the points you look for when picking breeding stock should be applied on a regular basis to the animals already in your flock. Most producers make culling decisions between weaning and the next . . . → Read More: Maintaining a productive sheep flock – Culling
Sources of Replacement Stock:
Carefully considering where to buy new animals will help ensure your new stock is healthy and will help improve the genetic potential of your flock. It is always best to buy breeding stock from breeders who are known for providing productive, healthily animals.
1. Public auctions:
Buying breeding stock from . . . → Read More: Selecting Breeding Stock
Genetics and the Environment
All characteristics (traits) of an animal that can be seen or measured are referred to as its phenotype. This includes height, weight, growth rate, wool colour, temperament, reproductive ability, disease resistance etc. An animal’s phenotype for each of its traits depends on both genetics and environment. At conception, genetic material . . . → Read More: Sheep breeding and genetics