Culling Lambs

I am getting ready to wean my spring lambs. During this weaning I will be looking at individual lambs to sort into three groups: registered sheep, commercial sheep, and market or cull sheep.

Before I begin the process I review the Dorper Sheep Breed Standard. Since my plan is to improve my Dorper herd to be a top breed standard flock, I need to refresh my mind on the tiny details of the breed standard. First, I reread the book, sometimes backwards as that helps to concentrate on what is written instead of the brain automatically filling in the information from previous reading. I will also review two videos on Dorper Sheep Breed Standards from an Australian inspector. And I will watch other videos from other ranches and shows. I am wanting my mind to be fresh on what the breed standards are.

Not every lamb that qualifies to be registered gets registration papers. I only want the best of the lamb crop to be registered. I also know that 12 week old lambs have growing and developing before you can truly tell how they will compare to the breed standards. But major flaws are seen at 12 weeks. Ram lambs with horns are not registered. Those same ram lambs may make excellent or good commercial rams.

Lambs without straight legs or enough bone are not registered. Lambs with some slightly flaws in the legs may be used for commercial use. But most I sell as market lambs.

Misplaced black coloring on full-blooded or pureblood lambs are not registered. They are sold for commercial breeding stock if they meet my requirements for breeding stock. Again I am wanting to produce the best quality Dorper sheep according to breed standards.

Choosing not to cull those sheep and registering sheep that have major flaws that can be seen at 12 weeks, only brings the entire flock and the Dorper breed down. The sheep farmer improves his flock for himself and the breed of sheep they are raising by seriously culling and not registering all the lambs that are eligible for registration.

I do not cull every lamb because it is not perfect, I cull the lamb if the flaws are major. Minor flaws every sheep is going to have, as there is not the perfect Dorper Sheep out there. Minor flaws does not mean the sheep is not good or excellent.

I keep back my best ewe lambs for replacement ewes. I purchase the best rams I can afford, and move upward in the quality of my sheep.

There is no perfect sheep that meets all the breed standards of any breed. But striving to develop the perfect sheep improves you flock and the breed.



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