Range sheep production. Page: 2
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FARMERS' BULLETIN 1710
of wool had been obtained and then they were shipped to market.
Production costs were low, and the season's wool clip made a compact,
relatively nonperishable product, well adapted to the long
hauls over poor roads to the shipping points.
In recent years lamb or mutton has taken the place of wool as
the principal source of revenue from range sheep. This change has
been brought about largely by the reduction of free range, the advent
of better transportation, and the increased market demand for lambs.
The range sheepman accordingly markets most of his lambs at from
4 to 6 months of age and retains only the ewe lambs necessary to
maintain his band.
TYPES AND BREEDS OF SHEEP ON WESTERN RANGES
In almost every section of the West various types and breeds of
sheep have been used in an effort to find the kind best adapted to
each particular section. The predominant present type is the finewool
sheep or one which has a foundation of finewool blood. Formerly
the Merino was very largely used, but the larger, smoother,
more productive Rambouillet has rapidly taken its place. Various
other blood lines involving principally the longwool and " down"
breeds have been used, either pure or crossed with the finewool breeds.
The finewool breeds, Rambouillet and Merino, are particularly
adapted to much of the western range. They are hardy and can
withstand short feed and drought. In addition, their strong herding
instinct makes it possible for one man to take care of large numbers
even in rough country. The Rambouillet ewe (fig. 1) is a fairly.
good mother, produces an acceptable feeder lamb, and has a longerstapled
fleece of less shrinkage than the heavily wrinkled type of
Merino. The Rambouillet ewe is generally used as the foundation
for the production of the crossbred, so desirable for the raising of
fat lambs on the high western ranges. As compared with the Rambouillet,
the heavily wrinkled type of Merino is a relatively poor
mother. For these reasons the Rambouillet has rapidly taken the
Merino's place on the range. Some success has been achieved in
breeding Merinos for freedom from heavy skin folds, but the
progress has not been so great as with Rambouillets.
The longwool breeds include the Lincoln, Cotswold, Leicester,
and Romney Marsh. These breeds are undesirable as range animals
because of the difficulty in herding, lack of hardihood on the range,
large coarse lambs, and extremely coarse fleeces. The few longwool
sheep that are raised in the range country are produced on a
small scale under fence, for the production of rams. The rams,
particularly the Cotswold and Lincoln (fig. 2), are used on the
range to cross with the finewool ewes in the production of the
popular crossbred ewe type.
The Hampshire and Suffolk breeds are used in the western range
country for the production of market lambs. The purebred Hamp
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Cooper, J. M. (John Morrison), 1899-. Range sheep production., book, 1940; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9133/m1/4/: accessed December 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.