If ever there was a queen of the sheep world, the Katahdin ewe would be THE QUEEN. Awesome mother, typically averages twins. Can produce enough milk for 2-3 lambs with no issue. We currently lamb in pasture with no shelter and no jugs. So very important to select females that will lamb and take care of both lambs without assistance. In accelerated lambing systems she can often lamb 3 times in 2 years.
Being members of NSIP we select rams that will make superior ewes for our operation. We select for parasite resistance and maternal weaning weights and still maintain some weaning weight growth traits. The Katahdin breed is well know for being one of the most parasite resistant sheep in the US, but without regular fecal egg counts and selection you are just guessing. When selecting replacement stock ask for those records. If you are told “I never have to worm my sheep”, that doesn’t mean they are resistant. Maybe that are tolerant and depositing millions of eggs in your field that will eventually turn into a nightmare. How can you select for something that isn’t measured? We have seen lambs in same management group out of the same ram vary from 0 FEC to 10,000+ without visually seeing a difference between the lambs. Without doing the FEC on these lambs we would have kept the prettiest sheep without knowing. That is how we did it for years. But time catches up to the lucky.
For more info on NSIP, click this link to learn more on the traits and what they mean.