Sheep Fact Sheets

Sheep Selection


BasicsofGoodSheepManagement 211x300 Sheep Selection

As covered in our sheep management video, The Basics of Good Sheep Management, in selecting your new flock you should take into consideration the type of sheep breed that would be most suitable to your environment. The type of sheep that would best suit your management goals and the market, into which you are planning to sell your lamb crop.

If your plans are to produce lighter lambs for the Easter market, then a breed of sheep that will breed earlier in the fall will best suit your management plan. These breeds are usually the Lowland breeds with Dorset’s being the main breed used in a cross for early lambing.

The gestation period is 5 months for a ewe, and so for a January 1st lambing, your ewes will need to start cycling in mid July. There are artificial ways to bring forward your breeding period, though this is expensive and labor intensive. A short description of this process is covered in our Sheep Management Program.

In certain parts of North America, the range type breed such as Columbia and Rambouillet are most successful in converting their management possibilities into market lambs, However, these range ewes are not suitable in more intensive livestock operations, where traditional breeds of sheep such as Suffolks, Dorsets, and Clun Forests are more suitable.

In looking for your sheep breed of choice, visit some of the producers in your areas. Talk to some of your sheep specialists in your province or state.

(Information on raising sheep)

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