By David Thacker, Show & Tell Guest Writer
Gavin Perkins, a lamb producer and major player in today’s club lamb market, recently shared with me what he wants and looks for in his animals today. Here are some tips when picking out your own lamb or when buying your next show lamb prospect.
Breeders that have success in the show ring typically continue to do so. They are the ones who tend to be on the leading edge of genetic traits and trends with quality stock in most cases.
Remember these are MARKET animals. Market animals are designed to put the most and best cuts of meat on your table at home. When looking at young lambs, if you see a deep V cut down the back or a big shoulder and rump … that lamb should be noticed. Look for lambs that excel in mass and depth at a young age.
Lambs should be deeper bodied in their rear flank compared to their fore flank. Lambs should also get wider continuously from the front to back. Also look for lambs to be sucked up in their chest floor.
Lambs need to be able to move free and without fault. Also watch out for sway backs and sickle hock.
Bone And Shag
Yes, it’s a trend, but most believe it’s here to stay and for good reason. A lamb with big bone and shag often comes into mass and skeletal width. A fuzzy headed and legged lamb should grab your eye as well. You will be hard-pressed to find a major winner in the past couple years that didn’t possess this quality.
It’s not all about the money and just because you spend it does not guarantee a blue ribbon. However, you typically get what you pay for. A $2,000 lamb will beat a $400 lamb 99.9 percent of the time.
Look Early, Look Often
In today’s world it pays to start looking as early as January, and several times at the same lamb to see how he is developing. I tend to have a relationship with one or two producers, but if you want to look in ten barns I would say you are no worse off.
If you’re new to the game, find someone with past success and ask for help. Some don’t want to help, but most tend to enjoy sharing their expertise.
Once you have carefully selected your animal, then it begins. The best animal in the world can be ruined by poor feed programs, exercise programs, and also inability to show.
Special thanks to Gavin Perkins, Show & Tell contributor
PERKINS CLUB LAMBS
The opinions of David Thacker and Gavin Brooke are not necessarily those of The F.L. Emmert Company or ShowBloom.