To be able to get value for the cost spent on acquiring these animals, certain factors need to be kept in mind during the purchase process. One can make a purchase from various places. Some of the most common sources are breeders, production sales, performance-tested sales, sale barns, and reduction or dispersal sales. Most sellers usually prefer to use auctions to sell their flocks.
One of the most important factors to consider when making a purchase is the health of the animal. A breeder who is just getting started should start with a healthy flock to avoid failure in the long term. A healthy animal will look bright and very alert. It stays with the rest of the flock. Bad health can be noticed by pink eyes, presence of abscesses, sore mouth lesions, limping, respiratory symptoms, and poor body condition.
One should check the mouth to ensure that the bottom and top jaws are aligned with each other. The incisor teeth should also be flush with the upper pad of the jaw. Undershot or overshot jaws is an inherited defect that is likely to be passed down to the next generation. Undershot jaws make it difficult for the animal to graze short pasture. As such, animals with such jaws should always be avoided.
Diet and location are the two factors that determine condition of teeth. Teeth tend to grind away faster if the diet the animals eats is very rough and course. Feed is ground by molars, which makes them more important than incisors. Condition of molars can be checked on the outside of the jaws. Bad breath is also a major indicator of molars that have a problem.
The positioning of legs and feet is worth checking too. The best positioning is one in which legs are slightly far from the hocks and knees and are squarely positioned with respect to the rest of the body. The pasterns need to be angled slightly and not straight in position. Birthing often presents trouble in animals that have leg and feet problems. The hooves should be checked to ensure they do not have any cracks, extreme splay, excessiveness, or abnormalities.
One should make comparisons between various breeders or sellers before settling on a specific one. If possible, one should visit the establishments of the breeder to evaluate it and air any concerns. It would be a tragic mistake to make a purchase without first inspecting the animal. The features of the animal should match the ones advertised by the seller.
One should confirm to ensure that the sheep bears the necessary registration. These animals are required by the law in the US to be registered. This ensures conformation to breed requirements. Buying one that is registered already saves one money and time of having to do so.
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