When I first started raising sheep my financial situation was not very good. I purchased the best I could buy. One sheep you should consider paying the most you can afford is the ram. The ram is half or 50% of your flock genetics. The ewe is half or 50% of her lamb’s genetics. The ram has a bigger influence on the whole of the lamb crop and the sale price of all the lambs. But, do not go into unpayable debt to buy a ram. Start with what you can afford and as your sheep bring in income, save a portion towards buying the next better quality ram.
My first ram was an unregistered White Dorper I named Chester. Chester did well, put lambs on the ground from a mixed assortment of ewes that were not very good in conformation. I was able to set aside the money and purchase a ram lamb, registered Full Blood Dorper, I named Uno. I was going to keep as many of Uno’s daughter to build a flock with registered Full Blood ewes and lambs.
We I purchased Uno, I also concentrated on purchasing ewes that looked like Dorper sheep. I would sell lambs and ewes use the money to buy Dorper looking ewes. I was eventually able to buy my first registered Full Blood Dorper Ewe, Old Dorper.
Old Dorper came already bred to a Full Blood Dorper Ram, Hojak, who had won Grand Champion at the National Dorper Show. The lambs produced from this breeding provided me with my third ram, Dos. ( I do not have pictures of Dos). I purchased two more Full Blood Dorper ewes, Jamie and Big Bertha.
Each time I made a purchase I tried hard to buy a better ewe than the previous ewe I bought. I kept the Full Blood registered ewe lambs, and some of the 50% lambs that would increase the quality of my flock.
The fall of 2021, I sold both Uno and Dos, to purchase my current Full Blood Dorper Ram I named Max. Max is sired by Maximus, Grand Champion Dorper Ram. Maximus is sired by JoJo from Dell Dorpers of Australia, who is an embryo transfer from South Africa. I have increased the quality of my ram and the bloodlines with each purchase.
My first lambs sired by Max will start arriving March 4. Although Max looks awesome, his lambs will prove how awesome he is.
As I worked on improving my rams, I also worked on improving my ewes. All my ewes, with one exception are Dorpers, and most could be registered 50% as I kept the ewe lambs. In the beginning of 2023 half of my ewes will be registered Full Blood Dorper.
Start where you are, learn about the sheep you are raising, and go upwards.
All great things have small beginnings”Peter Senge
Very good advice! Two years ago when I was rebuilding my small flock of now 13 sheep my uncle was so kind to lend me one of his rams for a while. It was very important since at the time I hadn’t any ram and it was an outside breed very close to that of my older sheep. I have now pretty good results with the new lambs.
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