Friday, March 9, 2012

A Brown-Eyed Handsome...Ram

This past week marked the first time we “worked” the lambs. That means we actually ran them over the livestock scale, administered some de-wormer, and got an up-close-and-personal, hands-on examination. We finally got to check out the change our new ram’s genetics made in the flock….and… we were impressed.

(for the record...this is how NOT to weigh lambs! One at a time, guys, one at a time!)

The ram is half the sheep flock, no matter how many ewes he may service. That means that the choice of ram is crucial to the success of the flock. When we got Waylon back in April, you may remember that I began obsessing about our choice. I began to second-guess everything. (I hate when I do that!) The genetic make-up of the lamb crop was a given with our old ram. We could predict what sort of lambs we would get from “Dude”. They were nice lambs, quickly growing to a marketable size with a good carcass size.

However, it was time to change, and “Waylon” was chosen for his size and length. His virility was never, ever in question, but as this was his first breeding season, a successful lambchop crop remains to prove the wisdom of our choice.

When the lambs are first born, it is possible to guess as to their eventual growth and progress. But, that is just a guess. Newborn lambs are long and thin with seemingly too much leg and not enough heft. Given the proper growing environments, those lambs will quickly blossom into “growing machines” that can gain a pound a day or more for the first several months of their lives.

When we worked the lambs, we were more than a little pleased to find that their weight gains were right on track. The ram lambs are particularly long and straight, making for some AWESOME chops when it comes to processing time. The hams…the lamb butts, as well as the shoulders…are large and muscular. These cuts give us roasts and awesome sausage.

At the 3 to 6 week mark, we are seeing some great gains, and real good growth. So, despite my initial misgivings, it looks like Waylon is every bit as awesome as Dude.

…that’s just what the flock needed…

…a brown eyed, handsome ram.

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