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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If I want to have a completely closed flock how many bucks will I need to maintain genetic diversity? I was thinking I should have 3 unrelated herds within my farm to keep diversity and not worry about inbreeding rates.. Is this only possible with a.i?
 

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Fair-Haven
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If you are going to do this, then you need to know the genetics of each animal and hand breed to the selected buck. Depending on the number of does in your herd, you may or may not need 3 depending on the age of the bucks and the number of does you plan to freshen. DO choose the best bucks available to you. They are half of your herd genetics.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
i have 3 unrelated herds of sheep. I have 350 head of sheep. two of my herds are just 25 members. each family is made up with ewes that were born in that family. the bucks come from another family. this way i can keep the best milk and lamb number production from all the herds and not worry about inbreeding.
How long have you maintained this type of breeding system?

3 males would keep you going for a good many years.
Thank you!

If you are going to do this, then you need to know the genetics of each animal and hand breed to the selected buck. Depending on the number of does in your herd, you may or may not need 3 depending on the age of the bucks and the number of does you plan to freshen. DO choose the best bucks available to you. They are half of your herd genetics.
Thanks! ( and I'll definitely choose quality bucks for my herd!)
 

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Capriculturalist and Goat Slave
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Also keep in mind, are you keeping does? If you are not growing your herd...no need for that many...1 will do. If you might keep some the first year and that's it...2 would be good. I agree it depends on how many does you have and your goals. Always buy the best buck you can afford.

We have 7 does currently (counting the 2 we kept this year), bringing in another this spring, and 3 bucks. I won't have more than 3 bucks. Also mine are not completely unrelated. I have the son of one of my best does and now have lept a daughter from my main buck. I do intend to line breed a bit and have long drawn out plans lol. I also have 2 breeds. So really, it depends on your goals. We will remain closed after this year with the intent of breeding my own buck in the next year or two and letting go of one of the current ones. But, once I get to a point I won't really be keeping kids often, we will drop to two bucks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Also keep in mind, are you keeping does? If you are not growing your herd...no need for that many...1 will do. If you might keep some the first year and that's it...2 would be good. I agree it depends on how many does you have and your goals. Always buy the best buck you can afford.

We have 7 does currently (counting the 2 we kept this year), bringing in another this spring, and 3 bucks. I won't have more than 3 bucks. Also mine are not completely unrelated. I have the son of one of my best does and now have lept a daughter from my main buck. I do intend to line breed a bit and have long drawn out plans lol. I also have 2 breeds. So really, it depends on your goals. We will remain closed after this year with the intent of breeding my own buck in the next year or two and letting go of one of the current ones. But, once I get to a point I won't really be keeping kids often, we will drop to two bucks.
Although I'll keep most of my does, I'll still be regularly replacing certain does because I'm breeding for a certain type of goat, so whenever my senior does are getting near retirement, or if any yearlings outperform them, they'll be replaced. Which is why I was thinking I'll need quite a few unrelated bucks or herds on my farm to maintain herd to maintain genetic diversity.
 

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I'm watching you
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My daughter and I mapped this out once.
You need a couple does unrelated to your others as well.

Buck 1 over entire herd. Save a few choice doelings.

Buck 1 stays with adults

Buck 2 goes in with yearlings

Buck 3 goes with yearlings kids

Herd1 doelings go to herd2
Herd2 doelings go to herd3
Herd3 doelings go to herd1
^this buck is their great grandfather too far back to cause problems.
Now just keep up the pattern. Cycling them through and back to great grandfather.

Now, say your originals are getting old. Choose an older doe that is fairly unrelated to the other old does for each buck and spend a couple years breeding for nice bucklings, 1 out of each buck. These take their sire's place. Cull your oldsters and continue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My daughter and I mapped this out once.
You need a couple does unrelated to your others as well.

Buck 1 over entire herd. Save a few choice doelings.

Buck 1 stays with adults

Buck 2 goes in with yearlings

Buck 3 goes with yearlings kids

Herd1 doelings go to herd2
Herd2 doelings go to herd3
Herd3 doelings go to herd1
^this buck is their great grandfather too far back to cause problems.
Now just keep up the pattern. Cycling them through and back to great grandfather.

Now, say your originals are getting old. Choose an older doe that is fairly unrelated to the other old does for each buck and spend a couple years breeding for nice bucklings, 1 out of each buck. These take their sire's place. Cull your oldsters and continue.
Thank you!!
 

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Now,you're going to reach a point where all of your kids turn out exactly the same pretty much.
This is the point where you bring 3 new bucks in doing a full 90 day quarantine and complete testing panel.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Now,you're going to reach a point where all of your kids turn out exactly the same pretty much.
This is the point where you bring 3 new bucks in doing a full 90 day quarantine and complete testing panel.
So, when I bring in 3 new bucks that means I'll get rid of all the current males in the herd, bucklings and sires?
 

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No, you would cycle them 2 generations (use for 2 years) to refresh your doe herds, then go back to your original bloodlines. Getting rid of the outside bucks. Unless you don't like what you're breeding.
 

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At this point it gets a little more difficult though because say you've given the 4th buck the 12th generation. You still need to make sure that their kids get put back into the cycle properly so that they are always with the buck the farthest back in their pedigree.
 

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How long have you maintained this type of breeding system?
I closed my herd 12 years ago i added the the first family (yellow tags) 8 years ago. and the purple tags were added 4 years ago. I really have seen an improvement in my herd since i added the purple tags. the Wisconsin dairy ewes really are good ewes. Too bad that UW canceled there dairy program.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I closed my herd 12 years ago i added the the first family (yellow tags) 8 years ago. and the purple tags were added 4 years ago. I really have seen an improvement in my herd since i added the purple tags. the Wisconsin dairy ewes really are good ewes. Too bad that UW canceled there dairy program.
Wow.. 12 years.. and I plan on getting sheep (dairy and meat) too! Do you find it difficult managing all those sheep?
 

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Would you change the system outlined above?
The system is working good but i have found my yellow family has an unexpected genetic flaw. See
"my pneumonia pandemic" in time it will work out.

Wow.. 12 years.. and I plan on getting sheep (dairy and meat) too! Do you find it difficult managing all those sheep?
I am finding that the Dairy sheep are a very good meet breed too. dairy sheep are more prolific than meet breeds and the bottom line is i sell more lamb from the dairy herds.
dont over think the system. I breed in December i am feeding hay so i just separate the families then add the bucks wait 40 days and rejoin the herd. they lamb together and i just look at the tag and go to that family's records and add data.
It is during lambing that the decisions got to be made.
here are some of the things i look for.
Is the ewe easy to work
I tag only twin or triplet lambs with the family colors. one exception is a single ewe lamb from a yearling ewe gets tagged.
while tagging i look for black spots on there face and/or legs. I don't tag them if they have spots.
Ram lambs not only have to pass all the above requirements they also have to have an exceptional mother. the rams got to have good vitality and the size of the ram lamb is a factor. i want him stocky but not huge.
Last fall i had 20 ram lambs i tagged. of the 20 i kept 2 for breeding.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
The system is working good but i have found my yellow family has an unexpected genetic flaw. See
"my pneumonia pandemic" in time it will work out.

I am finding that the Dairy sheep are a very good meet breed too. dairy sheep are more prolific than meet breeds and the bottom line is i sell more lamb from the dairy herds.
dont over think the system. I breed in December i am feeding hay so i just separate the families then add the bucks wait 40 days and rejoin the herd. they lamb together and i just look at the tag and go to that family's records and add data.
It is during lambing that the decisions got to be made.
here are some of the things i look for.
Is the ewe easy to work
I tag only twin or triplet lambs with the family colors. one exception is a single ewe lamb from a yearling ewe gets tagged.
while tagging i look for black spots on there face and/or legs. I don't tag them if they have spots.
Ram lambs not only have to pass all the above requirements they also have to have an exceptional mother. the rams got to have good vitality and the size of the ram lamb is a factor. i want him stocky but not huge.
Last fall i had 20 ram lambs i tagged. of the 20 i kept 2 for breeding.
Are you working with a specific breed, or do you raise composites?
 
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