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Production (View Our Performance Data)

The flock is managed using a three lambings in two year system or every eight months with lambs being born in late winter , spring and fall. Winter and fall lambs are raised in shelters on the ewes with a creep ration until 60 days of age and then weaned and grown out on a full grain and supplement diet.

In the spring, the lambs are born in the fields and are raised on pasture until approx. 30-35 Kg or 80 days. Grass lambs will always grow slower. Lambs are then brought into the barn and gradually moved onto a full grain and supplement diet to finish them quickly. If a slower rate of gain is desired so that the lambs are ready for a specific market at a more lucrative time of year, then they can be kept out on pasture after weaning and fed grain and concentrate as a supplement to the pasture.

The lamb crop numbers in the fall are less because the ewes were bred out of season and this can effect their prolificacy but the extra lambing session and higher prices for these lambs when marketed offsets any disadvantages and uses the farm facilities more fully.

Replacement ewe lambs are selected with the aid of Record of Performance Data, which along with ewe and lambs indices also contains EPDs - Expected Progeny Differences.

An EPD (Estimated Progeny Difference) is an estimation of the genetic value that an animal will pass on to it's progeny. An EPD uses all performance information on the relatives of the animal as well as the animal's own performance. Animals with the best EPDs for a trait have the highest probability of producing exceptional progeny for that trait. The specific EPDs that we use are those relating to maternal gain, numbers born and numbers weaned.

Ram lambs are selected on the same EPDs as the ewe lambs because the Rideau sheep is a maternal breed meant to be crossed with a terminal sire to produce a meaty carcass. The maternal qualities need to be maintained even in the ram side of the breeding equation so that the extraordinary prolificacy, milking ability and other strong maternal qualities are maintained. If too much of the heavily muscled trait is encouraged in the ewes than the important qualities that make the Rideau unique could suffer. Special care is taken to select ram lambs from only those productive ewes that are 5 years and older to encourage longevity in the breed . Additionally these ewes are required to have lambed at least twice out of season and to have weaned 2.5 to over 3 lambs per year.