At Baglien Suffolks, form follows function. This has been our bias for many years, and as time passes, our commitment to this approach only grows stronger.
The function of a Suffolk sheep is to deliver a superior product to the plate of the end consumer in a cost-effective way.
Our first priority is therefore carcass merit. We seek high-yielding carcasses, with a skew towards higher-value cuts. We use rib eye ultrasounding, linear measurements, and yield data from our retail meat business to assess our progress. Our measured REAs (rib eye areas) at 135 lb. consistently exceed 3.5 square inches, and yields at the rail, 55%.
To produce good meat sheep profitably, feed and labor inputs must be minimized. To this end, we select hard for twinning, conversion rate on roughage, lambing ease, and structural correctness. A strong health program reduces treatment labor.
Lambing season here is principally December and January, the height of the western Oregon rainy season. Newborn lambs get ten (10) days under cover, and then are turned out with their mothers to open pasture, subject to cold rain and freezing fog. This selects for tough sheep well-adapted to our climate.
Lambs are raised under realistic production conditions. We are firmly opposed to ‘hothousing’ lambs to force higher growth rates. It’s hard on the animals – especially ewe lambs – and doesn’t reflect how genetics will perform under actual commercial conditions.
We are line-breeders, both to assess the merit of our rams when closely bred, and to produce stock that ‘breed on’ consistently.