10 Reasons to Raise Southdown Sheep by Carrie Rutledge

southdownpic10. They are good mothers. Southdown ewes have good instincts when it comes to caring for their lambs, getting them up and cleaned off and nursing soon after birth.

9. Easy Keepers. Southdowns can maintain body condition on little grain, with hay and pasture.

8. Well tempered. This breed is laid back and sweet tempered, that are easy to work with in and out of the show ring or to handle with lambs by their side.

7. Looks. The sweet kind eyes and pale gray muzzle is a classy and appealing look to the eye of any showman. When fitted for show the Southdown breed is easy to identify in and out of the ring with their pretty fitted faces and legs.

6. Meat. Southdown sheep have lean sweet meat. It is delicious as roasts and ground meat.

5. Moderate size. The southdowns are just the right size. Young showmen love the southdown size and gentle nature.

4. Flocking instincts. The southdowns do well on pasture as their flocking instincts are strong.

3. Hardy Rams. Most southdown rams are aggressive breeders. They protect the flock. Rams grow fast from birth and put weight on fast.

2. Southdowns are one of the largest breeds raised and shown in the USA which makes it easy to find breeders near you. Southdown junior exhibitors have many mentors to help them show our favorite breed.

And the number one reason to raise this great breed: The Junior shows. The kids in the Southdown Junior Association become lifelong friends. The shows are well put together and the people who oversee them are so helpful and always have a smile on their faces. Growing up showing with this breed has helped open up many doors to meeting new people and learning new ways of showing from all over the country.

Katelyn Poitras Spotlight

Being a 14 year old involved in dairy cattle and sheep at home and going to school everyday can be exhausting. However, no matter how tired and frustrated we may get, being able to come home to animals is one of the best feelings in the world. My name is Katelyn Poitras and I am a 14 year old Southdown Junior from Massachusetts.

My first Southdown was awarded to me when I was seven.I had written and submitted an essay for the Southdown Youth Scholarship Award. In 2011, at the Northeast Youth Sheep Show, suspense was getting built up inside me as I waited for them to announce the winner. Then just like that, my name was announced over the loudspeaker for the whole barn to hear! I was so excited for my very own Southdown, I had shown sheep since I was 4 but I wanted my own breed so I could be different from my cousins. The ewe was donated from the Thayer Family, Splendorview 1301 and I went to shows all summer together. Who knew that in just 7 years Splendorview 1301 would have a ewe lamb that was second place at NEYSS, another one who was 4th open and 1st junior at The Big E and 8th in the National Southdown Show in Louisville, KY? I certainly did not.  

My favorite part of raising and showing sheep would probably have to be the people you meet along the way. The people I have met in my seven years of showing Southdowns are truly amazing people. I have met so many people from across the country who share the same passion I share, owning, raising, and breeding Southdown sheep. However, raising sheep isn’t all sunshine. I have had first hand experience that animals can go from being perfectly healthy and in good body condition one day to a few days later they aren’t eating and have lost a lot of weight. It’s always hard seeing the animals you have worked so hard for just get sick and there is nothing you can do. The best thing to do is to move past it and start working towards the next ‘big challenge’.

My most favorite moment when raising my little flock of now six Southdown sheep would definitely have to be when I was waiting in the airport on my way home from Louisville watching the National Southdown Show Live stream. I had sold one of my ewes at the Big E this year and she now lives in South Dakota. She was 11th in the junior show and 8th in the National Southdown open Show! I was so excited for her new owners! She is a bred and owned ewe out of Splendorview 1301 and I am very happy that I had the opportunity to sell her to such great people!

I’m very excited to be writing for something that I am so passionate about!

Carrie Rutledge Spotlight

Hello my name is Carrie Rutledge, and I am 20 years old. I was home schooled and graduated in 2015. I live on a small farm in York County, Pa., where I raise a flock of Southdown sheep. When I was around 11 a friend of mine asked me to help him with his Southdown ewes and lambs. I fell in love with the breed, so when I was 13 I bought my first two ewes and started showing that year. Now seven years later I breed, raise and show my lambs under my family farm name, Miniature Blessings Farm (MBF Southdowns). I’m proud of the bloodlines in my flock. My mother and I spent hours going over rams and ewes trying to find the best pairings to get the best lambs we can out of the breeding.

I love traveling and showing around my state and country seeing old friends and meeting new ones and seeing all the Southdowns there. I enjoy seeing the new lambs when they hit the ground and hoping that the breeding and bloodlines will turn that lamb into a great show sheep and breeding animal. My goal each year with my bred and owned lambs is to place better than the year before. I also want to be a role model for the younger showmen. I want to be that person that when they watch from the sidelines they see what a good sportsman looks like and be that person they know they count on to be their cheer leader in and out of the ring and help them in any way I can.

As anyone that raises livestock knows, that hardest part of raising sheep is losing a lamb, either at birth or after you put many hours of work into training, feeding, showing and all the high hopes for the breeding of that lamb. It never gets easier when you lose one. I always wonder if there was something more I could have done to save that little life even thought I know I did all that I could.

My proudest moment with my Southdowns has to be showing my favorite ewe MBF 002. Most of my showmanship championships and top five showmanship wins happened with this ewe, as well as winning Grand Overall Champion Junior Ewe at my county fair in 2017. This little bred and owned ewe pushed me to be the showman I am in and out of the ring. From the time she was born everyone said she was born to be in the ring and she sure proved that. Now I show her half sister who is following in her hoof prints.

Another great moment in the ring was with my show ram this year Smith 18-13, he placed 9th at All American and has been top five or better at every other show he has been to, and was also named the Grand Champion Southdown Ram 2018 at my county fair.

Well there is a little bit about me and my Southdowns, until next time!



2018 North American International Livestock Exposition Junior Show Results

Southdowns were represented well at the 2018 North American International Livestock Exposition (NAILE) in Louisville, Kentucky, November 10-14, 2018.

Junior members exhibited in the showring, participated in the skillathon, received scholarships and were highlighted through the futurity. View 2018 futurity results here.

In the junior show, JaLeigh Oldenburg, Mulhall, Oklahoma, took home champion ram honors with Oldenburg 8076. Preston Forsee, Owenton, Kentucky, received reserve champion honors with Fame Forsee R18-30. Champion ewe went to Madelyn, Caroline and Silas Groth, Lexington, Kentucky, with Groth KY7511-1805, who was first champion junior ewe. JaLeigh Oldenburg, won reserve champion ewe with Oldenburg 8082, who first won reserve champion junior ewe.

Additional results in the junior show:
Senior Ram Lamb, Preston Forsee, War Eagle Forsee R17-299
January Ram Lamb, Preston Forsee, Fame Forsee R18-30
February Ram Lamb, JaLeigh Oldenburg, Oldenburg 8006
March and After Ram Lamb, JaLeigh Oldenburg, Oldenburg 8076

Senior Champion Ewe, Aliva Porter, Ashkum, Illinois, Bowman 1743
Reserve Champion Ewe, JaLeigh Oldenburg, Oldenburg 8076

Futurity Standings

*These points are accurate as of September 1, 2018.

As the summer show season winds down, Junior Futurity points continue to change. Points have been sent in on a total of 61 animals being shown in the four futurity categories. Points will continue to change as the fall shows gear up. Another update will be posted in October with the final points being calculated at the North American International Livestock Exposition in November. The current standings are now posted for review. Download the file here