Lambing is finally done at Bunker Hill where we lambed all our ewes in two separate periods each 17 days in length. I am still trying to figure out who recommened lambing the two coldest weeks of the year in mid Feburary. It could have been me! Our early lambs have been weaned and weighed with records sent off to Australia to be processed. We had a spread of weights within the 17 day lambing window of 80 pounds from 115 #s to 35 #s. Whoa, that is a lot of difference in lambs that averaged 60 days of age. That is where NSIP comes in, NSIP is able to sort though many of the environmental differences such as sex, birth weight, type of birth, type of rearing, and age of the lamb plus factor in the age effect of the dam to adjust all of the lamb weights. NSIP then looks at the breeding values of all of the lambs relatives to compute an Estimated Breeding Value (EBV) for each lamb. Even long ago when my brain worked at 100% I could not begin to figure all of that out. The power of the NSIP computer is amazing!!! Our initial records should be returned to us in early May and we are always willing to share if you are interested knowing.
News from Bunker Hill Farm
See below for the latest news and updates from Bunker Hill Farm.
The testing is over. Now it is time to toughen our range/comercial ram lambs to the conditions that they may be exposed to next year as they venture out into commercial and range flocks. These are the rams that will fill our Utah Ram Sale consignment with a few spares. The common theme in this group of rams is their ability to grow fast and finish at heavier weights without being overly fat. They have an average Expected Progeny Difference "EPD" of 9 pounds, which means that their lambs should weigh 9 pounds more at 120 days than lambs sired by the average Suffolk ram. They add this extra growth while still being above breed average for loin eye size. We realize not every ram fits into all management and marketing systems and one of the most beneficial attributes to the NSIP (National Sheep Improvement Program) is that we are able to identify and measure traits so that we can predict the correct fit. We encourage you to contact us and discuss your production schemes and determine if we have the terminal sire genetics that might help you achieve your goals.
Every now and then there is a real need to forget the HO-HUM and to step out and try something a little new. That can be said for our personal life (new dance not a new spouse) as well as how we see we should be breeding sheep. We felt it was about time that we tried and explored different genetics in order to produce a better sheep for the commercial sheep industry. In order to calm this later in life affliction we decided to try two completely different genetic options in the Australian's White Suffolk and the recently developed domestic breed Siremax. Don't ask us what we will gain by using these two breeds as we will not know that until we test and analyze their progeny. What we hope to gain is longevity, hardiness, and the ability to perform well on grass while not sacrificing too much growth. Check back with us next spring or summer and we will be able to tell you if this urge to step out has dissipated.