Now that I have a few lambings under my belt, it seems to me that having to pull lambs is almost entirely contributable to the rams.
The first year I bred sheep, I used a purebred show style dorset and pulled no lambs. The second year I used a texel finn and pulled no lambs, not even any ewe lamb lambs- he produced a startlingly uniform flock, perfect. I kept him as my ewe lamb ram for 2 more years and let him breed a few other small ewes- never pulled a lamb of his in the 3 years I had him. Year 3, I started using a Finn/dorset on my ewes. I didn't write down if I had to pull any lambs the first year but I don't think so because it is only in the last 2 years that lambs have needed to be pulled on my place excepting one breech sired by a one testicle ram lamb sired by the texel. The last 2 lambings were particularly dreadful with a lot of dystocia including one completely backward facing lamb with legs trapped downward by another lamb. Because I had sold the texel, I used this Finn/dorset on my ewe lambs. Before I had always been sensitive that ewe lambs need an appropriate ram but since no one has ever even mentioned this in the 6 years I have been paying attention, I just went for it with this ram. Every single one of his lambs in ewe lambs had to be pulled. Every single one of them caught at the shoulders, in 2 cases, there was a leg turned back because of the shoulders issue. Oh. Excepting the ewe lamb that had twins. There was always a head and feet or foot there. Actually, I helped a few ewes too who were having off years- 3 of them had singles which has never happened before and I did just pull those lambs the rest of the way. A 16 pounder and a 13 pounder out of a ewe with the smallest vagina in my flock. I didn't flush.
But anyway, if that texel did not become obsessed with me and mean, I would have kept him forever since I don't keep from my ewe lambs. I didn't even have to pay attention to lambing ewe lambs when he was the sire. Now how do I find another perfect ewe lamb ram? His genetics were so strong that not even the black of a suffolk cross or the speckles of a finn cross could penetrate his progeny. I guess he also had perfect shoulders although I forgot to notice. He produced perfect heads, exactly the same. How can you tell which rams can exert a perfect powerful influence over any ewe he breeds especially in a very mixed flock like my own?
The other problem is that I do prefer those lambs that have the prominent shoulders, those stocky critters and I do have some but- forget it. I think with the types of ewes I employ that I had best pick a middle ground in this area. I get some extra finny gazelles too in my lambs which I don't keep but generally we lean toward sleeker and not stocky here. But anyway, his lambs do not grow fast for all the extra muscling so he was gorgeous but a total bust in my opinion. Now I have no rams.
If I buy a ram of a certain breed, worse a ram lamb of a certain breed, then of course, the data will show that they do well on their breed of sheep but that doesn't mean that I won't be pulling that ram's lambs. Their data will show a very uniform flock, a "dominance" genetically because they were using uniform ewes thus they have proved nothing to me. Does anybody sell 5 year old ewe lamb rams where they pulled none and lambed by one year? Does anybody else keep special rams for ewe lambs? I do want to flesh my lambs out but how can I do that without buying the shoulders/hulk? Go back to texel crosses? There can't be many people producing finn/texels. I was going to go polypay but I am not sure that will flesh anything out and it may just give me taller sheep to feed. Maybe straight texels? The texel in my flock was a total oopsie. People brought me the wrong ram. It is strange to think I could be a breeder of texels. I know it is terribly pathetic of me not to have decided where I want to go with my sheep in 6 years. I can't account for it.
I put a hulking like 300 pound dorset on my ewes for the Fall, if they bred. I might need the texel to make them reasonable sized again.
Anyway, has anyone had the perfect ewe lamb ram?
How about the perfect ram where they didn't have dystocia or had to pull more than the occasional goofed up trip. At least a third of my flock triplets every time. Of course, that could be part of my problem, waiting for mostly trips to be fat lambs! Long wait. Sorry so long.
SE South Dakota