Genetics of the ram and ewe.
I have heard it said on many occasions that Lone Star Farm is well known for our quality rams. The reason we have been able to reach that pinnacle in our breeding program is our practice of culling our rams to the "ideal" of the breed standard since the year 1996. The Lord has guided our path in the reproduction of this fine animal as we have done everything we can to follow His example of excellence. If a ram had a horn bud or scur, he was culled. If a ram had a white-tipped tail, or other white markings, he was culled. If a ram had wool over his shoulders, he was culled. If a ram had poor conformation, he was culled. If a ram wasn't hardy, he was culled. If a ram didn't have classic markings, he was culled. We have never had a ram, or ewe for that matter, that has had wattles. We only keep the best and we only sell our best for breeding stock. We've never sold a ram for breeding stock that we wouldn't have used as a sire for our own flock. Our thinking is this: if it's not good enough for us to breed, it's not good enough to sell as breeding stock to some unsuspecting person trying to get started with a good quality flock. We have never sold a Barbados Blackbelly sheep at an auction to get rid of our unwanted culls. Culls are always butchered or sold as meat sheep without registration certificates, so that their genetics will not be passed on to the next generation. It would be counter-productive for our reputation as breeders of quality animals to sell less than our very best. We have sold sheep as far east as the coast of Georgia, as far north as Minnesota, as far west as Washington and as far south as Puerto Rico. We have also sold sheep to the Little Rock Arkansas Zoo after having to pass very stringent health tests to be qualified. We are pleased with the reputation the Lord has allowed us to build for selling exceptional rams, as we have prayerfully sought His direction in all our efforts of breeding our flock, and then passing that quality on to our buyers.
Enough about rams. Let's talk about ewes. We celebrate the vast diversity of our flock of ewes having a (COI) Co-efficiency Of Inbreeding of a mere 7.2%, which is an average of fifty-three breeding ewes. Of course, each individual ewe's COI is taken into consideration at breeding time. COI is a percentage of probability that a ram and ewe share a common ancestor. COI determines the relatedness between two sheep. We have chosen our ewes carefully through the years, although we have not been as strict with their criteria as we have been with the rams, until the last ten years or so. What we have concentrated on is keeping that diversity alive and not "throwing out the baby with the bath water" due to a trait that would lead us to cull an animal. We have kept the diversity of bloodlines in our ewes, so that we can sell ewes along with one of our rams that has been chosen specifically to give you the diversity you will need in your flock. It can be one stop shopping for you here at Lone Star Farm. Our rams have a co-efficiency average of 9.88%. That is the average COI of a total of twenty-three rams. Again, every animal is considered for breeding according to each one's individual COI percentage. What we have tried to accomplish in our ewes is enough diversity that when they are bred to one of our rams, who has been line bred for particular traits, the ram will consistently reproduce his traits no matter to which ewe he has been bred. We have never bred a ewe, or ram, with wattles. We have focused on conformation, breeding good coats, hardiness, even temperaments, and good mothers with lots of milk for their lambs. We have occasionally bred a ewe with a white-tipped tail because when we started in this breed, perfect ewes were hard to find. However, when and if they produced an animal with a white-tipped tail, it was culled. The photo at the top of this page is a ram that was culled due to his white-tipped tail. He serves as an example of the strict standards we adhere to in our breeding program. He was a quality animal, but we had to draw the line somewhere and we chose culling over breeding him, or selling him to someone as a breeding quality animal. Sometimes the right thing, the most beneficial thing, is hard to do.
Lone Star Farm | Barbados Blackbelly Sheep