Garlic & Snow
Today Dominique and I took the clean-up rams out of the two breeding groups and combined the ewes. Clean-up rams (I use two or three per ewe group) are put in the breeding groups after the main breeding rams have been with their ewes for two ovulation cycles, 36 days. Clean-up rams will breed ewes the breeding rams didn't settle; they guard against a possible infertility of the breeding ram. The dates the breeding and clean-up rams go in and out of the breeding group are calendared. I want to know when lambs are due and who the sires are.
Lambing will begin on the 31st of March, 2008 (the rams went in 5 months earlier) and continue through the 27th of May, 2008, 5 months from today which is the duration of a ewe's gestation. Most of the lambs will be born in the first three weeks of April and will have been sired by one of the two breeding rams I used this year (#241 from the Sierra Park line or #378 from the Bullamalita line). Any lamb born after May 4, 2008 will have been sired by the clean-up rams and be considered a 'syndicate lamb' as I won't know for sure which of the clean-up rams sired it. The clean-up rams come from the same sire line (Sierra Park or Bullamalita) as the main breeding ram; even though I won't know the exact sire of a late lamb I will know the genetic line that sired the lamb. That information will determine the breeding of that lamb when it becomes a sheep and is fertile 18 months later. Good record-keeping prevents inbreeding and enhances hybrid vigor in offspring, which means seeing a big healthy lamb at its dam's teat in the Spring..