So now you and your family have agreed upon the breeder of choice, then what? Through the process of elimination, you should ask many questions about each individual you are interested in. We have found that most people do not ask enough questions, and this is why some sheep purchases turn out to be great disappointments. Here are some examples of things to ask the breeder:
When was the lamb, ewe or ram born?
What shots do you give? What are the lambs vaccinated for? Adults?
Do you have reoccurring problems that you treat for?
Do you have footrot? Soremouth? Club Lamb Fungus? any others?
What kind of a worming program do you have?
Has the individual we are looking at ever been sick?
Do you have any brother or sisters of this sheep retained in your flock?
May I see the sire and dam?
Is the dam a good producer in past lambings for you?
Does the individual we are looking at have a show record? Was it good?
What is your feeding program? Pasture, Dry Lot?
Do you offer any supplements to the feed ration?
Can you tell me the Birthweight of this sheep?
What was the rate of gain in pounds per day?
May I see your sheep records? This is a big and important question! Any breeder worth his or her salt, keep good, accurate records. Breeders that do not give prospective buyers free access to their lambing and ewe production records are to be regarded as questionable. This is a strong statement, but if you are given an excuse why you cannot see their records they either do not keep good records or they do not want you to see something they have written in the records. There is no excuse not to let you look!
I have to say though, we have been asked only once by a young 4-H'er to look at our sheep records in all of our years in business! What a shame. You can learn much about the sheep you are interested in purchasing, by reading the breeders' records.