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April 6, 2010

I confess, I’ve been keeping an eye on bags lately–bags, as in udders. Before lambing, I’m watching bags (see this post) to try and determine who’s lambing when. Now that lactation is starting to wind down, I’m watching bags for other reasons. A lopsided bag on a ewe can mean she either a) has a single who prefers to drink from only one faucet or b) has damage (usually mastitis) to one side. Bags looking empty with small lambs sends the message “not much milk production *here*,” while empty bags with big lambs screams good milk production. Finally, I’m looking at bags to help determine which lambs will be retained as breeding stock.

Look at that nice, even bag with the teats perfectly placed at the 'corners'

Brooklyn, above, is a good example of a desireable udder, which is one reason why we kept her son from 2009, Bloomberg, as a backup ram. Her lambs are only 5 weeks old in this pic–look how big they are getting! Right now, since we aren’t milking commercially, we really only have anecdotal information about milk production to go on in determining who wins the flock replacement lottery. One thing we can select for, however, is good udder conformation. Picking good udders now will really set the flock up for long-term milking success. Which brings me to this picture:

W*O*W, that's a nice bag!

This bag belongs to the mother of the new flock sire we are buying this weekend in Tennessee, sight unseen. Well, we’ve seen his picture:

Hello, Knoxville!

Of course, we’ll take a good look at him in person before we pull the trigger for good, yet, he’s not the first dairy ram we’ve bought this way. After all, why is the dairy sire so important? To make good dairy ewes (his daughters). What’s the best way to determine what type of daughters he’ll produce? Look at his mama! 🙂

In other words, you don’t get to be the herdsire at Cordero Farms unless your mom has a bodacious set of ta-tas, and an equally outstanding record of milk production, including total pounds of milk and length of lactation. Young Knoxville’s mother helps him qualify on all counts. We are looking forward to meeting them both and bringing him back home to Oklahoma.

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