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Breedingsheep Essentials


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  • 1. Breeding Sheep Essentials Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 2. Topics to Discuss
    • The following topics will be discussed:
    • Selection
    • Facilities and Equipment
    • Nutrition
    • Health
    • Fitting and Showing
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 3. Selection
    • Breeds
    • Choice of wooled breeding sheep (Columbia, Corriedale, Delaine-Merino, and Rambouillet), medium wool breeding sheep (Dorset, Hampshire, Southdown, and Suffolk), or hair breeding sheep (Dorper and Royal White).
    • Major shows that have breeding sheep shows: State Fair of Texas in Dallas, Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show in Fort Worth, San Antonio Livestock Exposition, San Angelo Livestock Show, and Houston Livestock Show.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 4. Selection
    • Breeds
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development Shows Breeds Dallas (junior & open) Columbia, Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Dorset, Hampshire, Rambouillet, Southdown, Suffolk Fort Worth (junior & open) Delaine-Merino, Dorset, Hampshire, Rambouillet, Southdown, Suffolk San Antonio (junior & open) Delaine-Merino, Dorset, Hampshire, Rambouillet, Southdown, Suffolk San Angelo (junior & open) Junior – Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Rambouillet, Ewe Lamb futurity Open – Columbia, Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Rambouillet, Southdown Houston (junior & open) Columbia, Corriedale, Delaine-Merino, Dorper, Dorset, Hampshire, ORB, Rambouillet, Royal White, Southdown, Suffolk
  • 5. Selection cont.
    • Age
    • Divided into classes based on teeth.(rules vary)
    • Some times they are shown according to age on registration papers.
    • Generally three age divisions: Lamb, two-tooth(yearling), four to six-tooth(aged)
    • Sheep with more than six permanent teeth may not exhibit
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 6. Selection cont.
    • Quality Considerations
    • The following considerations should be taken when selecting a sheep:
      • Structural correctness
      • Growth
      • Muscle
      • Breed and sex characteristics
    • Approx. 40-50% of evaluation of wooled breeding sheep is on fleece
    • Little emphasis placed on wool in medium and hair breeding sheep.
    • Wool characteristics to watch: lbs of wool, grade and uniformity of grade, length, density, character, belly wool, wool blindness, hairy britch
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 7. Selection cont.
    • Shearing guidelines
    • Apply primarily to wooled breeding sheep
    • Most shows require Rambouillet, Columbia, and Corriedale sheep to be shorn on or after October 20 th of the calendar year preceding the show.
    • Rambouillet with staple length in excess of 2 inches will be disqualified
    • Delaine-Merino sheep aged(4 to 6 tooth) sheep only must be shorn to the skin on or before March 15, of the calendar year preceding the show.
    • Many shows require medium wool to be slick shorn above the knee and hock joint
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 8. Selection cont.
    • Ownership
    • All sheep must be registered in the Handbook of their Association in the name of the Junior owner on or before November 1, the preceding year.
    • Open shows require ownership in Handbook of Association 30 days prior to the show.
    • State Fair of Texas requires ownership 90 days prior to show
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 9. Facilities and Equipment
    • Minimum space of 500 ft 2 of pen space and 30 ft 2 of shelter space per sheep is recommended
    • Should be well drained.
    • Pen height should be at least 42 inches to discourage jumping and predators
    • Can be hand-fed or self-fed
    • If hand-feeding allow for 1 1/2 linear feet of trough space per sheep
    • If self-feeding allow for 6-8 inches of trough space per sheep
    • Access to clean water most important when feeding.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 10. Nutrition
    • No particular feed that should be fed
    • Sheep must have basic daily nutritional requirements:
      • Water
      • Protein
      • Energy
      • Minerals
      • Vitamins
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 11. Nutrition cont.
    • If raising own lambs important to not only feed brod sheep but also creep feed young lambs
    • Good creep feed contains 16-18% crude protein, proper mineral balance, not too much roughage or fiber, contain antibiotics
    • After buying sheep should be put on growing ration (14-16% protein), proper mineral balance, roughage, and antibiotics if necessary
    • Can either be self-fed or hand-fed
    • Recommended to hand-feed breeding sheep to allow more accurate evaluation and prevention over conditioning
    • Feed should be fresh and consistent
    • Should gain 3-4% of their body weight a day.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 12. Health
    • Keeping breeding sheep healthy is very important!
    • Prevention is the key to a successful health program.
    • Administer vaccination program recommended by local veterinarian
      • Vaccinate for enterotoxemia and soremouth and treated for internal parasites
    • Regular hoof trimming is also necessary
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 13. Health cont.
    • When administering drugs follow all directions on drug labels to Quality Assurance.
    • The use of drugs in manner unintended violates laws set by the Food and Drug Administration
    • Texas livestock shows have strict laws for illegal drug use and will disqualify animals if illegal drugs are used
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 14. Fitting and Showing
    • Fitting breeding sheep is an ART !!
    • Wooled breeding sheep are generally fitted differently than medium wool and hair breeding sheep because they are shown in the wool and are not washed.
    • Necessary equipment to fit wooled breeding sheep:
      • Electric clippers with blades
      • Hand shears
      • Wool cards(2)
      • Hoof trimmers
      • Curry comb
      • Brush
      • Blankets and hoods
    - Bucket - Spray bottle - Wool rag - Soap - Trimming table - Rope halters Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 15. Fitting and Showing cont.
    • Wooled breeding sheep must be fitted completely
    • Medium and haired breeding sheep can be shown in the wooled or slick shorn depending on show rules.
    • If shown in wooled must be shorn 1-2 months before show.
    • If shown slick then must be washed and shorn immediately before the show.
    • Do not use artificial coloring
    • Can be led on halters, but should learn to lead
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 16. Additional questions to address with Exhibitors
    • What are the goals of the 4-H member and family?
    • At what major shows do you wish to exhibit breeding sheep?
    • Do you need assistance in locating and selecting your project?
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 17. Additional Resources for Breeding Sheep Texas Breeding Sheep Guide By Frank Craddock and Ross Stultz Texas 4-H and Youth Development
  • 18. Conclusions
    • All aspects of the selection process should be understood. (breeds, quality, ownership, age, shearing guidelines)
    • Proper facilities should be available.
    • Proper diets and nutritional information about feeding sheep should be identified.
    • Health is one of the most important aspects of raising breeding sheep.
    • All rules should be followed in regards to fitting prior to show.
    Texas 4-H and Youth Development