With the summer drought in my area, people are selling their sheep. They are not just selling lambs or old ewes, selling every sheep they own. The cost of feed for winter has many sheep farmers lowering the number of their flock or just selling all the flock. And yet, I have had three calls this week, from people I do not know, wanting to purchase registered ewes. Is it a good time to buy sheep?
The price of ewes is low without the demand at the sheep auctions in the state of Texas. If a person had the winter feed, now would be a good time to purchase ewes and start a flock. The price of a good ram is still high, but the ewes are low. If I had winter feed, I would be buying a few ewes to add to my flock, due to the price of ewes being low.
As with all markets there are highs and lows. The market lamb price is up to where a sheep farmer can make a profit. The price for ewes is low. Purchasing ewes when the price for them is down, will enable a sheep farmer to pay the purchase price of the ewe from the lambs she produces the first year.
There have been years when ewe prices were so high, that for the ewe to earn her purchase price would take two lambing seasons, provided she lambed twins. During this market, it is not wise to purchase a ewe.
With sheep farmers selling off ewes, when the green grass of spring arrives, the price of a ewe will climb upward. The market may even get to the place five years ago when any ewe cost $300.00 USD and a good ewe was almost $500.00 USD and these were not registered. At these high markets prices, it is not a good time to buy ewes, but a good time to sell ewes.
Markets fluctuate, depending on demand and circumstances. Currently, demand for ewes is not high, the price is low. Buy low, sell high, but you still have to have cash flow in order to care for the sheep, feed and other expenses.
If a person is able to purchase or had the winter feed and care for the sheep, buying ewes that are pregnant or old enough to be bred would be a good decision.
Since I have started feeding the winter hay in July instead of October, I am not purchasing any additional ewes. I am maintaining my ewe flock size until spring. The goal of increasing my ewe flock with each lambing will be slower as I will retain few ewe lambs. The ewe lambs I to retain will be the best lambs of that group, improving the quality of my ewe flock.
Until the green grass of spring starts growing, I am on a maintain what I have strategy.