Joanne, it is refreshing to hear from a breeder with a well-defined
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
Critterhaven--Registered Barbados Blackbelly Hair Sheep
(no shear, no dock, no fuss)
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