Questions about buying ewes

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12 years 4 months ago #30415 by Andrew&Lisa
Questions about buying ewes was created by Andrew&Lisa
Hi we are new on the rural scene we have 2 rams & am looking for maybe 6 ewes to breed can anyone please give me some advice on what to look for Age, breed ect plus any idea on what to pay for the ewes.

Thanks

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12 years 4 months ago #410412 by jsmum
Replied by jsmum on topic Questions about buying ewes
I wouldn't rush into buying ewes. I would make a list of all the things I want from sheep- meat, wool, easy care etc. Then you could look at breeds. Most breeders can't see past their own breed so don't ask a breeder. Once you know what is important, then you can ask for advice. Also, how much land do you have?

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12 years 4 months ago #410413 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Questions about buying ewes
Hi there, Ewe's are getting up in price at the moment due to feed and demand on meat, so its good to shop around, be careful if you go to the local saleyards, the old adage of you get what you pay for may not be up to standard, breed's are up to you and what you desire from the flock, ie meat, wool, off-spring, easy handling, self shedders (no shearing reqd also quite good to has as dag free)

Go for young ones, consult a local stud breeder and see if they has any hoggets or 2 tooth's they have to cull (some breeds must have a rigid cull regime in place to remain stub breeders so you may get another's culls, however they might be 'very good culls') .

If you end up buying Hoggets the ram may be interested in them but mating hoggets is still a controversial subject for many, if you do, they will need to be at least 40kg (that is a generalisation as some breeds are light breeds) before they will cycle and get any attention from the ram.

the breed side, find out what is on farms around you, as they can tell you best and low points of the breed, no point getting a breed from dry country and putting it on your farm only to end up fighting eczema for their lives!local farmers should have found out a long time ago what an easy breed is for your area. (see if any are bred for worm resistance (a huge bonus - no dags, no drench, lovely clean sheep)

Price 1 yr ago $80-90, now $140 plus

As I have said, talk to a local, there is many a stud breeder that is happy to tell all about their great wonderful sheep and after weighing up the info you never know, he/she might deliver them the next day!

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 4 months ago #410416 by Andrew&Lisa
hi thanks we are primarily looking for sheep for the meat & also the wool.
We have 10 acres we also have 6 cows & a 6 month old steer.

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12 years 4 months ago #410419 by Anne
Replied by Anne on topic Questions about buying ewes
Have you got lots of winter feed? If you have you might be better off waiting untill later in the season when you can pick up ewes much cheaper. You will also have a better idea of how your feed is lasting through autumn. You do not need to put the rams over the ewes until May - unless you are aiming to produce early lambs for the works.

Are your cows in calf? If they are, come spring or whenever they calve, you are going to have a much higher demand on your feed. If they are of a milk producing breed, they will probably need nurse calves put on them (and raising calves makes more money than raising sheep), and once they are weaned, they will also need good grass (and meal).

If you have too much grass, it might also be worth cutting some for hay or baleage.

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12 years 4 months ago #410425 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Questions about buying ewes
www.sheep101.info/index.html
This is one of my favourite websites to check out sheep. A bit of dreaming there too but its comprehensive
Also the NZ rare breeds website gives details of different breeds
Your farm and its conditions can be quite specific and different from your neighbours eg your land may be wetter etc so what they have may not be suitable for you.
Easy care is important
You may find that many have culled most of their sheep and as the season progresses it will be harder to find good sheep
are there livestock markets you can go and watch and get an idea of prices, altho its not necessarily the best place to buy if you are not experienced
can you take someone knowledgeable with you to look at livestock, that would be a big help

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12 years 4 months ago #410430 by LongRidge
You have far too many cattle to have some sheep too. Don't think about sheep until the cattle have reduced in number to 5 total.

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12 years 4 months ago #410444 by Ronney
Replied by Ronney on topic Questions about buying ewes

LongRidge;406656 wrote: You have far too many cattle to have some sheep too. Don't think about sheep until the cattle have reduced in number to 5 total.


I would concur with this statement but given that you already have two rams I would be suggesting that cattle numbers go back to a maximum of four. If you have 7 cattle beasts, 2 rams and then add ewes to the mix, you are going to be in deep shit come winter - and it won't have much to do with mud :p

Get shot of some of your cattle if you wish to keep sheep, also one of the rams. Two rams are an overkill in your situation. Sorry, but there is no point in talking sheep, breeds etc. with the amount of stock you already have and I'm not about to encourage anybody into overstocking.

Cheers,
Ronnie

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12 years 4 months ago #410446 by griev
Replied by griev on topic Questions about buying ewes
I have to agree with longridge, unless you have awesome growth all year round, I think sheep will put you out past a safe feed zone, so in order to have sheep you will need to reduce your cattle stocking rate.

there should be info on your growth rate for your area, and from that you can work out per/ha your stocking rate.

Let the sun shine on my solar panels[:)]

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12 years 4 months ago #410451 by Mich
Replied by Mich on topic Questions about buying ewes
Most breeders can't see past their own breed so don't ask a breeder. Once you know what is important, then you can ask for advice.

Ouch, jsmum - not sure I agree with you on that. IMHO I would argue that the very people that Andrew & Lisa should be talking to is a good breeder, and wholeheartedly agree with Griev's comments on that subject. Mind you, I'm coming from the view that if you're going to buy sheep (or any animal for that matter), then you want to get the best quality you can afford, and this can frequently be achieved by purchasing a good breeder's culls. While it is possible to pick up good animals from sale yards, etc, you need to be able to differentiate the good from the bad.

In my case, I'm breeding for specific traits and, as any serious breeder knows, getting everything you want in one sheep doesn't happen every time. Sometimes otherwise good stock can be discarded on a small point that for most people would be unimportant, but for me it might be a personal preference for what I don't want to develop in my breeding stock, As a matter of pride, I won't pass on a cull that doesn't meet satisfactory conformation traits, and all the breeders I know (of all types of breeds) are the same.

I agree about getting rid of one of your rams, but before you do this, I would suggest you establish which one has the best overall conformation. This is quite critical for future health and stamina, as a good conformation in both the ram and the ewes means an excellent chance of those traits being passed on to the lambs. As they say, if a sheep can't walk around because of poor feet, and can't eat because of over/undershot jaws, then they're not going to do well for you.

You say you want to breed for both meat and wool - therefore the quality of the fleece on the sheep you buy (and the ram you keep - is it a dual purpose breed?) is important. There are many good dual purpose breeds around. Probably the most popular are Romney, Corriedale and Perendale, but there are also a number of less well known ones like Arapawa that you might want to consider. Ease of shearing is another thing to think about. It is rarely a happy outcome when a shearer that is used to handling mid-strong micron fleeces tries to shear a fine-woolled sheep (Tatjna, this doesn't apply to you :p ).

The site Muri referred to is a good one, and it will also (from memory) lead you to another one that builds on the first one.

If you have a particular breed in mind, feel free to PM me as I have a number of breeder friends (of both white and coloured sheep in a variety of breeds) and I would be happy to give you contact details. I'm sure any one of them would be happy to give you advice about the suitability of the breed to your area, and also advice on what to look for conformation-wise in that breed.

Good luck.
Cheers, Mich.

Good exercise for the heart is to bend down and help someone up. Anon.

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12 years 4 months ago #410462 by Ruth
Replied by Ruth on topic Questions about buying ewes

griev;406638 wrote: ...If you end up buying Hoggets the ram may be interested in them but mating hoggets is still a controversial subject for many, if you do, they will need to be at least 40kg (that is a generalisation as some breeds are light breeds) before they will cycle and get any attention from the ram. ...

More importantly, they need to be at least 40kg (although I'd want them better grown than that, but preferably a year older for a novice farmer) to make it to sufficient size for lambing. That still depends on careful management through the winter, which is nearly always beyond someone without any experience.

Andrew&Lisa;406641 wrote: ...We have 10 acres we also have 6 cows & a 6 month old steer.

Ditto to the other comments on having too many stock to consider adding to them at this point. Presumably your dwelling is on part of that 10 acres? How much actual pasture do you have, and what condition is it in?

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12 years 4 months ago #410468 by Westermans
Hi Andrew&Lisa :) i am in Upper Hutt and will have 3 last year born ewe lambs for sale if you are interested, i will not rip you off or sell you crap, i have no idea what breed they are i only know they are great girls who come to nuts and very well behaved :) if you want them for breeding you will have to give them another year though....where exactly are you in UH :) You are more than welcome to message me if you want any advice on locals ;) I have done this for the past 7 years now, and i am no expert but all i can tell you is my little flock breed great meat and never have foot problems :)
If you want a chat call me, i will PM you my number :) Always good to have advice from your area as well as all the advice from on here..i can tell you who to keep away from :)
Cheer
Dawn

Multitasking is my speciality:-)
www.westermans.co.nz

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12 years 4 months ago #410508 by stephclark
emm.. i too have 10 acres, take out house, drive and garage and i end up with 8 acres of superb grazing, 2 horses, 2 yearling cattles and 2 weaners winter over and i have a couple of nervous weeks over the winter strssing over if the feed will hold..

i agree, i wouldnt want to run as many cattle and sheep as you are intending.. you will run out of feed...

i know it is tempting to load up when you cant see your kids over the grass [;)], but its the winter you have to get thru.. best to get thru 1 or 2 winters and talk to the neighbours to get an idea of what your patch of paradise is like in september :)

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12 years 4 months ago #410510 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Questions about buying ewes
I have 10 1/2acres with 16 sheep and two adult cattle this winter but not again, I am too wet for adults, but 3-4 calves to run through their first winter and sell on before they are mature. And they are lowline angus with lower feed requirements.
Take out 2-3 acres for ponds, lake, house future native grove.
I dont lamb until sept so I have grass for the ewes after lambing. My neighbours lamb in june july and run out of grass around august and are carrying the same number of sheep as I do without the cattle,
So its not ultimate numbers only, its also management

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12 years 4 months ago #410538 by jsmum
Replied by jsmum on topic Questions about buying ewes
Hey Mitch, you misunderstood me. What I mean is look more into different breeds and pick some that are suitable BEFORE you try to source them. Otherwise it is possible the first breeder they talk to will convince them that their breed is the one for them.
There are lots of great websites that tell you the pros and cons of various breeds to do the home work first.

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