Registered Katahdin Hair Sheep Breeding Stock
All our sheep are 100% grass fed, we do not feed any grain to our ewes, rams or lambs. We practice rotational grazing on perennial pastures during the spring, summer and fall and feed grass/legume mix hay over the winter. We want efficient sheep that have very good parasite resistance, grow well on forage/grass and can flourish with minimal inputs. We want adult ewes that can produce at least twin lambs and raise them successfully in this system. We expect our ewe lambs to be mature enough to be bred at 7 months old and raise at least one lamb. For 2020 lambing we will be breeding over 140 ewes and ewe lambs for lambing in March and April.
We cull the worst performing 10-15% of our ewes every year and replace them with ewe lambs that should perform better based on their EBVs (Estimated Breeding Value) and performance data. We select the ewe lambs we use for replacements as well as the ewe lambs we offer for sale from the top 50% of our ewe lamb crop. The ram lambs that we retain for breeding or sell as breeding stock is out of the top 10% of our ram lamb crop.
The EBVs calculated by NSIP (National Sheep Improvement Program) based on our performance data and genetic links to other breeders in NSIP provide us with a way to quantify the genetic merit of each animal we are evaluating as potential breeding stock.
Our selection process makes use of all the performance data for growth (birth, weaning and post weaning, yearling and hogget weight), parasite resistance (weaning and post weaning fecal egg counts), maternal traits (scrotal circumference, number of lambs born, lamb survival, mothering and milk production) as well as carcass traits (ultrasound measured loin eye depth and fat cover) that we collect. Documented parasite resistance based on multiple fecal egg counts are very important to us when it comes to selection of parasite resistant breeding stock. This data is made available to potential breeding stock buyers to help them with the decision making process. We are happy to discuss your goals and make suggestions about which traits to emphasize in selection of breeding stock best suited to your farm.