Southdown Juniors > Activities

There are events for Southdown Youth year-around, all across the country!  Please see the ASBA Calendar for a full list of the current events and how to participate. You can also contact the ASBA Director for your region or an AJSA Ambassador who can connect you with Southdown breeders, youth, associations, and events in your state.

Lambing this Winter

Hi Everyone! Here are some lamb care tips to help you through lambing this winter.

Having a bottle of colostrum on hand when the lamb is born is a good way to get the lamb up and moving faster and helps warm them up faster. Heat lamps are another good way for the first few days to keep the lambs warm. On cold nights check the lambs over to make sure their ears and mouths are warm. It is important to make sure they are nursing. Make sure to strip the momma ewe’s teats to insure the lamb is getting the colostrum. Lamb coats are also useful in very cold weather.

Banding the lamb’s tail is best done between 4 to 7 days old. The older the lamb gets the harder it is to get the band on right and is more painful for the lamb. It also takes longer for the tail to fall off. Make sure to watch the tail for infection if done in warm weather.

Lambs will start nibbling on feed around 2-3 weeks old. Place a creep feeder with grain and hay in a pen and give the lambs access to water. This gives them a head start on feed and helps fill them out faster.

Here is a short list of lamb care supplies you should keep on hand:

  • Colostrum,
  • bottles,
  • heat lamps,
  • iodine to disinfect the navel,
  • scissors to cut the umbilical cord,
  • Nutri Drench for a momma and lambs right after birth

Hope these tips help you with your lambs!
Carrie Rutledge, AJSA Ambassador Vice President.

5 Ways To Be Ready For The All-American

1) Pack the Show Box
This always seems to be a last minute thing for my family; we end up throwing in random, miscellaneous items and forgetting crucial ones. Start making a check list now, so that you know exactly what you need to pack. Don’t forget to pack bedding and feed. You won’t be just a few miles from home, where you can just run back and pick up a feed scoop. Some other handy items to keep in your show box are safety pins (you will need them to wear your exhibitor number), Band-Aids/first aid kit, and a deck of cards for those spare moments when you want to just hang out with some friends.

2) Get your Papers
Make sure to pack your registration papers. Most things you may be able to make a Walmart run for, but unfortunately I don’t think any store carries registration papers. Have your papers organized and ready to find when you go to check in your sheep, it will make the process much smoother. Also, don’t forget to have your veterinarian complete health papers. Remember that it is a law to have health papers when hauling sheep across state lines. The All-American entry book includes all information that your veterinarian will need to fill out the papers.

3) Dust off you Tennis-Shoes
Tennis-shoes and a sheep show? Should be more like show boots, right? That’s the cool thing about All-American, you need them both! After showmanship on Friday, there is the traditional 3-on-3 basketball tournament. This is a great way to get to know some sheep showman from other states. Not very good a b-ball? Don’t worry, neither am I. I still always have a ton of fun playing with other sheep exhibitors in a great activity outside of the show ring.

Callipyge4) Brush up on Skill-a-thon
Identifying breeds, feeds, equipment, and cuts of meat; giving shots and recording medical information; handling sheep properly; correct structure and parts of a sheep are all possible and common topics for the Skill-a-thon at All-American. Test your skills and compete against other exhibitors your age to see where your sheep knowledge stands. Start reviewing now so you can be ready to rock the skill-a-thon!

5) Get Some Sleep and Get Ready for a great time!
The weekend of All-American is jam-packed with a fun and busy schedule. Whether it’s showing, competing in a contest, or hanging out with other exhibitors, there is always something to do. You are going to have a great time. If you ever do get bored, check out the American Junior Southdown Association Scavenger Hunt and also watch for other specific breed activities.

Safe travels and see you there!
Written by: Hannah Taylor, 2016-2017 AJSA Ambassador

Skill-a-thon Practice

Southdown Genetics – Callipyge

The past year the Southdown breed has made a conscious effort to inform their members about the use of the callipyge mutation within the breed and the effect it has on the sheep industry as a whole. Learn more about callipyge below and take the quiz to learn how the mutation is passed on in different mating scenarios.

What is Callipyge?
Callipyge, Greek for “Beautiful Buttocks”, is a mutation that regulates the expression of a certain set of genes which cause animals to have a double muscled appearance. The muscles in the loin, sirloin, and leg are most noticeably affected by this mutation and will appear much larger. Muscles are made of many muscle fibers grouped together. The callipyge mutation causes those muscle fibers to be larger in diameter (hypertrophy) resulting in larger muscle size. The callipyge mutation is not to be confused with the mutation of the myostatin gene, also known for double muscling. The myostatin mutation is an increase in muscle fibers (hyperplasia), not muscle fiber size.

Where did the callipyge mutation come from?
In 1983 a Dorset ram named “Solid Gold” was born. He, and many of his progeny, showed the extreme muscling condition now called callipyge. Today, sheep carrying the callipyge mutation, regardless of breed, are descendants of Solid Gold.

When does a lamb express the callipyge mutation?
A lamb receives half of its genetic makeup from the ram and the other half from the ewe. This means the two sets of genes come together to give us the genotype of the lamb. Let’s use CLPG to represent the callipyge mutation and clpg to represent the normal form of muscling. Lambs will only express callipyge (appear double muscled) when they have CLPG/clpg genotype. The left side of the genotype, coming from the ram, must be CLPG and the right side of the genotype, coming from the ewe, must be clpg. This mutation is an example of polar overdominance. Any other combination of the two genes will result in a normal appearing lamb, however lambs may carry the callipyge mutation and not show double muscling. The only genotype that will result in a lamb not being a carrier nor expressing the callipyge mutation is clpg/clpg.

How does the callipyge mutation spread?
It is a sneaky mutation. Without DNA testing, the only way to know it is within your flock is by having a callipyge lamb. Today we have a commercial genetic test available to determine if a lamb is a carrier of the callipyge mutation or not. Take the quiz to see how mating a carrier vs non carrier passes on the mutation within a flock.

Why is the callipyge mutation a focus today in the sheep industry?
Some producers who are trying to be more competitive in the show lamb industry have started to use the callipyge mutation in their flocks. Lambs in the showring appear to have larger loin eyes and more leg shape without all the exercise.

Even though muscle size is greatly increased, meat quality is negatively affected. Significant decrease in marbling, juiciness, and tenderness has been shown in callipyge lamb compared to normal lamb. Methods to improve tenderness have been explored but are not economically feasible in the industry.

Who is affected by the callipyge mutation?
The consumer. Lamb has had a long tradition of being consistently tender and flavorful. When people have a bad eating experience they are less likely to eat the product again. With the general U.S. population eating less than one pound of lamb per person per year, the sheep industry cannot afford to lose more consumers due to a bad eating experience.

Quiz Time!



Southdown Management – Lambing Supplies

A successful lambing season starts with having the right supplies on hand and knowing when and how to use them. Lamb care within the first weeks of age can be broken down into three steps:

Step 1: Clean & Dry
When a lamb is born it is covered in amniotic fluid. It is very important to make sure the lamb can breathe. Clear the lambs nose and mouth with a towel or use a nasal syringe to suck out any fluid. Get the lamb onto dry, clean bedding and allow the ewe to finish drying the lamb off.

Step 2: Clip, Dip, and Strip
After the ewe has had a chance to clean the lamb off a little, the naval cord needs to be clipped and dipped. Use sterile scissors to clip the naval cord to a length of 1-2 inches. Put iodine solution into a naval cup and dip the cord to disinfect and help dry the cord to prevent infection from entering the body. If a naval cord will not stop bleeding, place a naval clip on the cord to clamp it.

Before a lamb can nurse on the ewe’s udder, strip the wax plug in her teat. Milk the ewe’s teat until a steady stream of colostrum comes out. Sometimes lambs need a little extra help either because the ewe doesn’t have enough milk or the lamb isn’t strong enough to nurse on its own. Within the first few hours a stomach tube and large catheter syringe can be used to quickly feed the lamb. Have milk replacer, a Pritchard teat, and bottle on hand in case the ewe cannot feed her lamb at all.

Step 3: Dock
A lamb’s tail should be docked within the first few weeks of age to have the least amount of stress on the lamb. It is a producer’s preference for how short to dock a lamb’s tail but all sheep should have their tails docked for the animal’s health and welfare. An elastrator with elastrator bands is the most commonly used. This bloodless method is ideal for young lambs within two weeks of age. An electric tail docking iron can be used to cut and cauterize the tail but should only be used on older lambs.

Now that you have reviewed some of the most common pieces of lambing equipment, take the quiz and see how many you can identify. Check and see if you have these things on hand on your own farm. Good luck!

Quiz Time!