LAMBING RECORDS FOR RAISING PERFORMANCE RECORDED SHEEP:
Record keeping for raising PERFORMANCE RECORDED sheep is not difficult.
The American Coopworth Registry presently allows all pedigreed Coopworth sheep to be registered, but for those who choose Performance Designation, only 70% of any ewe lamb crop and 30% of any ram lamb crop can be retained or sold as Performance Designated registered breeding stock.
The selection decisions are tough ones. Some sheep APPEAR more desirable, more productive, and more profitable than others. And, in fact, the ugliest, scrawniest ewes are often the best producers! (I can't help here, but be reminded of a song some time back that suggests you "get an ugly girl to marry you!") Computer generated mathematical analysis of performance data (i.e., birth rank, birth weight, weaning weight, wool weight, staple length, etc.) eases the decision making process. It is possible as a participant in computer based programs that calculate Estimated Breeding Value , EBV's, or Expected Progeny Differentials, EPD's. to obtain reports or summaries which list for any given year, the lambs born, the ewes bred, and the rams which sired those lambs, for any number of genetic traits, from most productive to least!
EBV's and EPD's can be calculated for within flock or across flock comparisons (if there are enough genetic links among flocks for which participating members have traded or bought rams or ewes from one another). The database utilizes weighted averages and estimated 'profitability' criteria to provide the means for comparisons of sheep within and between flocks of differing sizes, ages, environments, and management conditions. Predictions that define TOP PERFORMING LAMBS on the basis of the performance of their dams, their sires, and ALL ancestors within an individual flock or among all participating flocks are far more realistic than calculations which simply list lambs on the basis of ADG (average daily gain) or WW (weaning weight). BVE's and EPD's are tools! Visual assessment, soundness, wool-character "inspections", and that ever present "gut feeling" should NOT to be overlooked when making the final selection of those ewes, rams, and lambs for retained or replacement breeding stock. Nevertheless, trust computer evaluations to tell you just how well OR how poor a particular individual is truly performing!
WHAT IS NEEDED WITH REGARDS TO RECORD KEEPING:
Define the traits that are important in your flock-those traits which you wish to improve, those which bring you the most profit.
This pretty well covers the gamete of traits to consider in establishing goals for selection within your flock. Selecting to record for computer analysis more than one or two traits at any one time can confound your results statistically and make gains slow to notice. However, keeping records that assess soundness, management, and wool-character for all sheep within your flock will only make you a better shepherd and a more observant judge.
Jim and Martha McGrath
HC 72 Box 14D
Franklin, WV, 26807