Sunday, October 24, 2010

Breeding Time At Apple Rose Farm

Today we are placing the various breeding groups in the pastures. After carefully reviewing the genetic history of each ewe she is placed with the ram that is as distant as possible to her genetic line. That means that we do not inbread or line breed. As you probabloy already know both the Cormo Sheep and the California Red Sheep are few in number in the United States. Therefore, it is very important to carefully preserve the blood lines.

This year we are using three California Red stud rams and two Cormo stud rams. It gets complicated when we have to devote 5 pastures to the breeding groups. We still need pastures for our retired ewes and the ewes too your not breed plue more pastures for the stud rams that are not selected for breeding studs this year.

This is a critical time to make sure the ewes actually breed the ram they are with and not some other ram. The problem is that we cannot have any unbred ewes near rams in another pasture. Sometimes the ewes will call to another ram and cause him to break through the fence in his pasture and come crashing through the fence in the ewe's pasture to answer her call. Meanwhile when the two rams get in the same pasture all heck brecks out as the two boys fight over the ewes. Nature tries to take it's course with "natural selection". The stronger of the rams gets to breed and the weaker ram gets killed or driven off. I'll be glad when the ewes are all bred and the boys go back to living with the rams.

When the breeding time of about 6 weeks is over the ewes go back to living with the other ewes and the rams go back to living with their ram group. The gestation time is about 5 months. We expect lambs in March and early April 2011.

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