When I do my morning and evening feeding or anytime I am working with the sheep I do evaluations on their condition and health. Being aware of how a sheep is doing is the key to spotting a sick sheep or a lame sheep.
Then there are times I look at the sheep for a different type of evaluation – an evaluation on their genetics. I raise Dorper sheep. My flock is a split of registered sheep and commercial sheep. My goal as a sheep breeder is to produce Type 5 Doper sheep.
Dorper sheep are classified using conformation, size, color pattern, hair covering, and fat distribution with a point system determining if the animal is a Type 5 or 4 that is used for breeding registered sheep, Type 3 for use in raising commercial lambs, and anything below is a cull.
I study the breed standard for Dorper sheep. I have a facebook group I joined that discussed what the breed standards are using photos and videos of sheep of those who are in the group. The members of this group are helpful for us starting to raise Dorpers and wanting to achieve the goal of raise Dorper sheep to the breed standard.
Two pairs of eyes are better than one. Recently my husband has started following me through the sheep as I am evaluating the sheep. I have discussed the sheep with my husband on many occasions. He has taken an interest in the process of typing the sheep according to the standards. What I had thought was boring him with my repetitive statements, he was learning and processing.
My husband does not get emotionally attached to the sheep. I have my favorites. Having emotional ties to the sheep can cause you to not really see the sheep for what it is. Having his eyes to look at the sheep without bias is helpful in selecting and culling the necessary sheep in the process of improving our genetics and reaching the goal of raising only Type 5 and Type 4 Dorper sheep.
I enjoy these times of evaluating sheep together.