Joanne, it is refreshing to hear from a breeder with a well-defined breeding plan.

Depending on what you are feeding in lieu of pasture now, you probably don't need to feed grain. BB sheep do well on most grass hay. So unless your available hay is seriously low in protein, I recommend only giving grain to ewes that are lactating or gestating.

I have not found initial birth weight to be a good indicator of overall growth rate or performance. Parents' genetics is a better indicator of overall growth rate, assuming a nutritionally adequate diet.

I breed for lambing in April and November and haven't seen much difference in performance between the two groups. Other breeders have, however, so other factors may contribute to seasonal lambing differences, such as geography and diet. I'm in Colorado; breeders reporting seasonal lambing differences are generally from the East Coast.

My 90-lb ram lambs dress out to 45-55 lb of packaged meat, depending on how the customer has asked it to be cut. But in general, you can expect a 50% yield percentage, which is par for the sheep/goat market averages. It just takes longer to get a BB sheep to slaughter weight, and that reduces your profit depending on how much you have had to supplement their diet during the 9 month growth time. So if you can schedule your lambing to take advantage of 8-9 months of pasture, you'll have a greater profit.

I sell my slaughter lambs for $3.50/lb LIVE weight and have a line of customers always willing to buy. I provide on-farm slaughter facilities, and the customer pays someone else for slaughter/dressing/packaging. That $3.50/lb live weight is all mine. Getting that premium price required developing a market that appreciated all-natural, grass-fed, chemical-free meat. My customers are primarily health-care professionals and people who shop at higher-end health-food stores. It took awhile to build that market, but it has paid off.


At 07:27 PM 12/26/2014, you wrote:
At those live weights, what weights do your lambs dress out on a graze only

Carol Elkins
Critterhaven--Registered Barbados Blackbelly Hair Sheep
(no shear, no dock, no fuss)
Pueblo, Colorado

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