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Late Spring Lambs

Posted 11/26/2014 5:00am by Eugene Wyatt.
Late Spring Lambs 

These lambs were born in April of last year. Their dams are purebred Saxon Merino-the only ewes we keep from year to year on the farm; we have two breeding groups: to half of the ewes we breed purebred Saxon Merino rams that produce a purebred Saxon Merino Lamb for it's wool characteristics and to the other half of the ewes we breed purebred Corriedale rams that produce a larger, purebred Cormo lamb for it's carcass characteristics. 
 
The Cormo lamb weighs as much as 50% more than the Saxon Merino lamb but its wool has an Average Fiber Diameter (AFD) that is 5-6 microns coarser than the Saxon Merino lamb. You can't have your cake and eat it too-body size and wool fineness are negatively correlated-in other words, you can't have a big sheep who has fine wool.
 
So we have two flocks of sheep, with two distinct breeding directions, one for wool and one for lamb and consequently we have the best of both worlds.
 
Not all purebred lambs express the same genetic characteristics; the Saxon Merino lambs have an AFD micron range-there are coarser and finer wooled progeny-and the Cormo lambs have a size difference-there are bigger and smaller offspring. Sheep require care, a shepherd's love and selection.