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Improved Current Katahdin Rams

Our current registered Katahdin Rams are chosen for producing Katahdin lambs that are hardy, parasite resistant, and that yield higher pounds of lamb born and raised without losing the maternal traits that make the Katahdin breed so strong.  We use detailed, accurate production records and EBVs to make selection and breeding decisions for our Katahdin sheep flock.

Picking out new rams is like going to a Ford dealership and looking through tons of options.  With EBV’s from NSIP you have the ability to select traits you want to improve on to help your current flock.  It is a balancing act trying not to get caught up in single trait selection but rather trying to increase every trait equally.

The most important thing you can do for improvement within your flock is to select the correct ram.  The ram is only half of your lambs genetics, however those replacement ewe lambs from that ram can make lasting impressions in your flock.  The correct ram can make the fastest improvements in your flock.  

Something I see quite often is a breeder will keep swapping rams every year hoping for better lambs, but they never replace the ewes.  Hopefully the ewe lambs from your ram and current ewes are better than there parents if you are successful.  Those ewe lambs from that cross is where you will find the genetic merit from your ram.  So choosing that ram is the most important decision due to those replacement ewe lambs.

Below are the rams we have chosen and a little bit about them and why we chose them for our flock.  We can only hope they make the lasting impression for years to come.

NWT 337 is one of the most proven maternal Katahdin rams in Katahdin breed history. With progeny born in many flocks, and sons and daughters going to many more, this ram has proven himself to have some of the highest prolificacy genetics in the country.  Raised by Hound River Farm, NWT 337 set the standard for many years with continued success as some of the top rams are sires/grandsires of this legend and we are honored to get to use him.  Hoping to gain his maternal presence in our replacement ewes.  Biggest percentage of our ewes are bred to this ram.

CMG 16103, wow.  When I was lucky enough to acquire NWT 337 “Maximus” I got to thinking man he is old and I need to save a son for future breeding.  Then I thought where is the best son of him now and low and behold my friend Lynn Fahrmeier had 16103 and he has proven to be maybe go down as one of the best balanced proven Katahdin rams in NSIP.  He is a top Katahdin ram that over the course of 5 yrs and close to 250 lambs in couple flocks has proven to be a great maternal ram with high accuracies and top 10% in almost every trait!  Notice a trend?  We are working on building maternal traits in our ewe flock!  First lambs to arrive winter 2022.

We don’t name many sheep, but this one is lil Dan.  Purchased from friends at Ewe Lamb Right Farm this ram is nice balanced young Katahdin ram.  Didn’t get a chance to use him last year so looking forward to seeing his offspring in 2021.  Another maternal heavy Katahdin ram to build replacement ewes from.

This Katahdin ram is a looker.  20015 was raised by Meinders Stock Farm.  He has a ton of milk being almost 2! 4.166 Pwwt (Top 10%), -55 PFEC, 17 NLW, and a high 111.29 Hair Index! He is the eye catcher when you walk in the pen. Huge 35.5cm scrotal.  He was a good 20 lbs + heavier than his contemporary group and twin brother.  Can’t wait to see the results of his breedings.

WFF 18041 is a home grown Katahdin ram that we are very proud of.  He is our growth heavy ram that was forage only raised.  Very thick made and muscled and easy on the eyes.  He was on loan this year to Twin Cedars Farm and we look forward to putting him back to work on the maternal ewe lambs we retain from the rams we did used.  Should make a great cross.

The Future Commercial Ewe Project

CCC 1417

This ram is a project I have been thinking of for awhile, but never thought it would come about.  This ram is half Van Rooy and half Katahdin.  The Van Rooy breed is a fat tailed breed from South Africa developed for arid regions for maximum production on natural grazing in very adverse conditions.  Van Rooy breed played big part in the development of the White Dorper and Australian White breeds.  

Seeing some data years ago at a seminar on the maternal strength of the White Dorper compared to black headed Dorper caught my attention, knowing the difference between the two was the Van Rooy. I had a friend post a picture of this ram in Western OR and as soon as I saw that fat tell I knew someone was different.  When she told me his mix, I never hesitated.  Sold!   I am using this ram on a bottom portion of my Katahdin ewes to develop a very nice commercial ewe.

Romo

The Romanov project came about after the Van Rooy ram discovery.  Now I wanted to add some prolificacy to my commercial ewe I was developing.  There really isn’t another choice except to add the known qualities of the Romanov.  Romanovs are a true, pure unimproved sheep breed.  They are not a cross of anything, unlike the majority of sheep breeds today.  They are not a man made breed selected for any traits.  They are as nature made them the way you see them today.  

The Romanov crosses as little as 25% can have big impact on multiple births and out of season lambing.  My goal is to use the Romanov on my least productive Katahdin ewes to create a crossbred ewe to then breed back to my Van Rooy cross ram.  Then I have created my version of the “easy care” sheep from USMARC without using the Dorper breed.  1/4 Romanov, 1/4 Van Rooy, 1/2 Katahdin.  Can’t wait to see the results in coming years.  Stay tuned!

Previous rams

These are the previous rams we have used over the years.  Some we used more than others and some made bigger impacts on our current genetics than others, but each were chosen for a reason.  Looking at them always keeps my grounded in knowing you can’t improve what you don’t measure as they were all beautiful animals.