Making a profit raising sheep is the main focus, but maintaining or improving your quality of sheep will maintain or increase the value of your sheep, creating more profit.
Being objective when looking at your flock and selecting replacement ewes is vital. You can not look at a sheep as that sheep is my favorite, and maintain quality. Look objectively at your sheep as if the flock belonged to someone you were wanting to buy sheep from. If money was not a problem – Would you purchase that sheep?
If not, why? What about that sheep do you not like?
I raise sheep for meat. Butchering my own lamb has been helpful in my selection of ewe lambs to retain for breeding lambs. I am looking for ewe lambs that will produce lambs to sell as market or meat lambs. When I look at a ewe lamb during the selection of process, I look at the ewe as a meat carcass. How much meat is on the leg of lamb? How much meat will be on the lamb chops, and what size will the lamb chops be? Looking at the ewe lambs as a carcass and determining the qualities of her carcass she will produce.
Sharon Holman, president of the American Dorper Sheep Breeders’ Society stated ” I raise market lambs with a pedigree and registration papers.” I could not have put my operation in any better words. I raise registered Dorper sheep with an end goal of producing a great carcass at a profit.
The pedigree assists me in knowing the genetics of the sheep I have for breeding. I know what percentage of Dorper genetics are influencing my flock.
It is the same if you are raising sheep for wool. Would you purchase the wool fleece from the sheep you raise? What do you not like about the wool fleece on that individual sheep? Is this ewe a good mother, to raise me more sheep with this wool fleece?
I have looked at pictures of my first sheep a mix of various breeds and the flock I have today. Two totally different flocks in the last five years. My quality has improved. The price I receive for my market lambs has improved, as I get top dollar. And this year, the quality of my sheep was good enough to be breeding stock.
I had very little money to start my sheep flock. But with time and proper management, my flock is something I am proud to show and others are proud to purchase. I am not wealthy but my sheep pay for themselves and pay me also.
Keep working, keep improving, and most of all believe in what you are doing.