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About Lambshire Polypays

Over the years...
We got our first sheep in 1986 and quickly became interested in accelerated lambing. We soon settled on the STAR system, which gives the ewes a chance to lamb 5 times in 3 years. We used the STAR system for about 15 years; with this system you have 5 lambing periods a year, so it is fairly labor intensive. The STAR system is an effective way to identify ewes that can breed back shortly after weaning. We now lamb 3X a year, so the ewes are exposed to lamb every 8 months. If a ewe breeds back at every opportunity she will lamb 3X in two years. Since there are fixed costs for maintaining ewes, we find it more profitable and a better use of resources to use an accelerated lambing system. Having 3 lamb crops a year instead of one also helps spread out the work at lambing time and keeps some income coming in most of the year.

Polypays are a very good choice for accelerated lambing since they are good out of season lambers. It is possible to get twins and triplets every 8 months and some ewes can average over 3 lambs a year weaned for their lifetime.

Why NSIP?
Over the years we had success selecting for ewes that accelerate and wean a lot of lambs, but we felt the growth of our lambs could be better, so we enrolled in the National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP) to help develop more balanced ewes that would produce fast growing twins and triplets. Data submitted to NSIP includes birth weights, 60 day weaning weights and post weaning weights, in our case we weigh the lambs at 90 days but many use 120 days. We often market lambs before 120 days so we weigh at 90 days instead. The NSIP software keeps track of all of the genetic links between animals within and between flocks and uses the performance of related animals to help predict the performance of their offspring. The data is presented as an Expected Progeny Difference (EPD). This extended data base improves the decision making of the shepherd greatly and allows much faster progress to be made on traits important to profitability, such as Weaning Weight, Post Weaning Weight, Number Born, Maternal Milk, Milk and Growth and Pounds of Lamb Weaned.

We now base our selection on Pounds of Lamb Weaned, a composite EPD that will help the shepherd identify the genetics that will lead to more lambs born, with better milk production and good growth as well. Pounds of Lamb Weaned is sometimes referred to as the “Holly Grail” of lamb production. In 2010 Lambshire Polypays is joining forces with four other producers across four states to form a ram sharing group (Mt. Rushmore Consortium) that will allow us to make much quicker progress in identifying the best genetics to improve Pounds of Lamb Weaned. We will have 15 sire lines and use a continuous improvement approach to improving these sire lines by replacing a ram with a son that has a better epd for Pounds of Lamb Weaned as soon as he is identified. Our goal, besides improving our own flocks production, is to provide the best possible genetics to other shepherds in the commercial or registered Polypay business.

 

For more information or for current pricing and availability, contact us at 330-749-9053 info@lambshirepolypays.com

Other Resources:

National Sheep Improvement Program (NSIP)

American Polypays Sheep Association

West Cyclone Farm

Elm Creek Polypay

 

 

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