River City Ranches #4 - Page 7

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          percent in any given year, would be added to and kept in the                
          Barnes Ranches breeding flock.  Ewes could have a potential                 
          breeding life of 7 to 9 years.  However, as part of their                   
          continuing efforts to improve their breeding flock, the Barnes              
          family periodically evaluated a breeding sheep's quality level              
          and breeding performance and would cull from their breeding flock           
          those sheep they judged to be unproductive or incapable of                  
          producing offspring of sufficient quality.                                  
               With respect to the lambs the Barnes Ranches breeding flock            
          annually produced, the Barnes family generally would sell their             
          surplus and lesser quality lambs (i.e., those that were not good            
          candidates either for addition to the breeding flock, entry in              
          national show competitions, or sale to other breeders)5 after               
          those lambs reached a certain age.  Some of these lambs were sold           
          to teenagers participating in 4-H programs.  However, the vast              
          majority of the lambs were sold to commercial meat packing                  

               5 For instance, a breeder of lower quality sheep might                 
          purchase a few Suffolk rams from the Barnes family in an effort             
          to improve the quality of that breeder's flock.  This breeder's             
          flock operations might be geared solely to producing lambs sold             
          for meat.  Indeed, sometimes a Suffolk ram will be bred with a              
          ewe of another breed, as the resulting hybrid offspring's meat              
          quality can often be higher than that of a nonhybrid offspring of           
          the ewe's breed.                                                            
               6Male lambs not raised for breeding purposes were castrated.           
          These castrated animals are called wethers.                                 

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Last modified: May 25, 2011