News from Bunker Hill Farm

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Lambing is finally over and the early lambs are weaned and weighed. We lambed in two shortened contemporary periods this year with the mature ewe flock lambing in an 18 day window. Following a three week break we lambed ewe lambs and a few late lambing mature ewes all in 16 days. The point of these shortened lambing periods is to add more accuracy to our records by reducing the days between the oldest and youngest lambs in each contemporary group and we lessen the impact of weather and management differences. Higher accuracies equate to us be able to make better selection decisions and for our buyers added insurance that our sheep perform as advertised.

With weaning weights now taken we will submit preliminary data to NSIP and have EBVs back by the first week of May on the early set of lambs. If you are interested in any of these early results drop us an e-mail and we would be happy to share.
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ewes fall 2013
BROOD EWES SURVIVING ON LATE FALL PASTURE
For us at Bunker Hill Farm the end of the breeding season also means we have closed the book on the success or failure of our 2014 lamb crop. For those of us who grew up showing sheep getting the ewes bred was just the beginning of a long process which finally ended in the showring. As 4-H'ers we were all told that we could make our lambs better though good husbandry practices. However, this is simply not the case for true seedstock producers whose main focus should be improving sheep genetically. Most of our management going forward is centered on our ability to predict the genetic potential of each of our lambs (ie: accurate records and the use of EBVs). Not only does being able to judge an animals breeding potential allow us to make faster improvement in our flock but also allows our custermers the ability to buy sheep with confidence that they will perform as advertised. Case in point, several years ago we had two pretty good ram lambs with the thought we would keep one to breed with and consign the other to the Midwest Stud Ram Sale. Two years later the ram we had kept for ourselves had sired nothing but dogs and the ram we had sold ending up being the real deal. Even though we had a happy buyer we had wasted two years of genetic progress in our flock by not being able to properly predict the true genetic value of the two young rams. Lesson learned, do a better job of evaluateing our lamb crop which is the whole point of the National Sheep Improvement Program(NSIP).
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2793 resize
BUNKER HILL 2793
This is a repeat of the blog post last November about our featured NSIP stud pictured after just coming out from breeding ewes.


It is always the challenge of a seedstock producer to find that next great stud ram. Often a breeder has to go to a flock outside of his own to find the right stud and sometimes he is fortunate to find that next stud within his own breeding program. We feel we might have found our next stud right here at home in Bunker Hill 2793. BH 2793 is not your typical Suffolk ram, being exceptionally full ribbed and wide bodied he does not fit the mold of the ram that would win a major show. We bred a dozen select ewes to BH2793 and will know by analizing his progeny if he measures up to the potential we see in him as a superior stud.
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Bunker Hill 2812
The 2013 Utah Ram Sale is now history. The 2013 sale prices were strong and steady on the over 600 head of range rams. There were also a couple of dozen stud rams, mainly Suffolk and Rambouillet which were also well received. We consigned 11 head of rams to the sale; a pen of 5 yearlings, a pen of 5 lambs plus a stud ram lamb.
It was the first year we have sold ram lambs and they were popular selling at $600. The most pleasing part of the sale for us was the sale of our stud ram lamb- Bunker Hill 2812 (pictured above), which sold for $2600. to Lee and Matt Jarvis of Utah. The Jarvis's are the largest producer of range rams in the west and we are anxious to see how our genetics perform in their flocks. The stage is already set for next year's sale as we delivered over 30 ram lambs to Tom Boyer of Coalville,Utah some of which will find their way into the 2014 ram sale with the balance being sold private treaty.
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