Origins of Tamarack Sheep

Breed descriptions of:

The Tamarack Prolific Sheep and the Tamarack Sheep

Bell ewe 3167 with triplets

Tamarack Prolific Sheep breed description

( Booroola fecB gene )

The Tamarack Prolific Sheep was created by Janet McNally in 1987 to fulfill the need for a well muscled, easy care sheep that would thrive and be profitable in the farm flock pasture environment of the Midwestern and Eastern US . The Tamarack Prolific began with the introduction of the Booroola B gene for prolificacy into the polled Dorset . The resulting cross was then back crossed for many generations to polled Dorset and Ile de France rams to improve milk, growth, number of lambs weaned, and carcass quality. Selection using estimated breeding values (EBV's) further improved maternal weaning weight (milk), weaning weight, post weaning weight, loin eye muscle depth, and numbers of lambs born and numbers of lambs weaned. Rigorous culling produced a sheep requiring less labor with significantly higher lamb survival.

The Tamarack Prolific ewe not only has the ability to birth and rear large litters of lambs, but will produce a quality market lamb that is killable at a wide range of weights from 30 lbs to 140 pounds. Early lamb growth is high with top individuals gaining more than a pound a day on good grazing for the first 100 days. Ewes weigh 140 to 225 lbs with an average of 165 lbs. . Tamarack Prolific ewes have excellent mothering skills and will wean from 240% to 320% lamb crop on a principally forage based diet. The Tamarack Prolific ewe enjoys a long breeding season and accelerated or out of season lambing is possible.

Tamarack Prolific rams show exceptional fertility and libido, often settling the flock in less than 21 days, yet are docile around their handlers. Rams weigh 180 to 280 with an average of 225 lbs in pasture condition.

Three unique criteria are required to be a Tamarack Prolific Sheep:

1) The animal must have DNA on file with AgResearchnz confirming at least one copy of the Booroola gene.

2) The animal must be enrolled in Lambplan and have recorded as a minimum, 60 and 150 day weights with birth and pedigree information and make this information available for across flock evaluation.

3) The animal must have valid genetic links to the original Tamarack Prolific Flock.

Lamb Plan LogoLambplan is a genetic evaluation tool that calculates estimated breeding values. These two modern services replace the need for a breed registry as dna is the ultimate proof of who an animal is, and Lambplan provides a way to keep track of pedigrees and provides the tools for genetic improvement. These requirements are paramount to assuring the Tamarack Prolific continues to stand out as a profitable sheep for pasture based flocks.

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Tamarack Sheep breed description

( Non-Booroola )

The Tamarack Sheep was created by Janet McNally in 1987 to fulfill the need for a well muscled, easy care sheep that would thrive and be profitable in the farm flock pasture environment of the Midwestern and Eastern US . The Tamarack is an offshoot of the Tamarack Prolific breeding program, where the Booroola gene was introduced into Polled Dorset ewes. The resulting cross was then back crossed for many generations to polled Dorset and Ile de France rams to improve milk, growth, number of lambs weaned, and carcass quality. The sheep not inheriting the Booroola gene became fixed in type and were selected along the same high standards for performance using estimated breeding values (EBV's) to further improve maternal weaning weight (milk), weaning weight, post weaning weight, loin eye muscle depth, and numbers of lambs born and numbers of lambs weaned. Tamarack sheep do not have the Booroola B gene. Rigorous culling produced a sheep requiring less labor with higher lamb survival. The Tamarack sheep has found favor where grazing conditions are harsher and where lamb crops exceeding 210% are not desirable.

The Tamarack ewe is a moderately prolific ewe and outstanding mother, that will produce a quality market lamb that is killable at a wide range of weights from 30 lbs to 140 pounds. Early lamb growth is high with top individuals gaining more than a pound a day on good grazing for the first 100 days. Ewes weigh 140 to 225 lbs with an average of 165 lbs, Tamarack ewes will wean from 160% to 190% lamb crop on a quality forage based diet. The Tamarack sheep enjoys a long breeding season and accelerated or out of season lambing is possible.

Tamarack rams show exceptional fertility and libido, often settling the flock in less than 21 days, yet are docile around their handlers. Tamarack rams weigh 180 to 280 lbs with an average of 225 lbs in pasture condition.

Two unique criteria are required to be a Tamarack Sheep:

1 ) The animal must be enrolled in Lambplan and have recorded as a minimum, 60 and 150 day weights with birth and pedigree information and make this information available for across flock evaluation.

2) The animal must have valid genetic links to the original Tamarack Sheep Flock.

Lamb Plan Logo

Lambplan is a genetic evaluation tool that calculates estimated breeding values.  Lambplan provides a way to keep track of pedigrees and provides the tools for genetic improvement, thus replacing the need for a breed registry. These requirements are paramount to assuring the Tamarack Sheep continues to stand out as a profitable sheep for pasture based flocks.

 

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IDF triplet ram lamb 2003 Lambs

 

Above left- a 4 mo old Tamarack Prolific prospect ram lamb reared as a triplet on pasture.

Above right- Tamarack Prolific and Tamarack lambs pasture reared and finished on turnips.

 

No other prolific breed in the U. S. offers a high quality lamb carcass combined with the easy care attributes found in the Tamarack Prolific Sheep.

Tamarack loin chop

Above is an example of the loin eye size from a Tamarack Ile de France ram X Booroola Dorset ewe. The loin eye measured 4.4 square inches...roughly double the size of the average loin eye in the US sheep industry today.

For more information or questions, please contact:

janet@tamaracksheep.com

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