Mary had a little lamb, whose fleece was white as snow. Because he was a champion, he sold for lots of dough. To get a grand champion lamb, you must either pay top dollar or raise the potential champion yourself. At the 2013 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the grand champion market lamb owner received $40,000; the reserve champion received $25,000.
Choosing a Lamb
Decide what type or breed of lamb you want to raise and look for the best specimen of that animal. Your area 4-H Club or FFA adviser can steer you to farms providing first-rate stock for the lamb show market. Find out where previous grand champion winners procured their lambs, and visit those facilities. In addition to private sales, you can also attend auctions and bid on club lambs.
All lamb shows require that entries reach a certain minimum weight and don't exceed a particular maximum. It's not one-weight-fits-all, because different breeds and body types mature at different sizes. When raising a lamb for show, you must feed it so that it ends up at a suitable weight on show day. Lambs weighing more than 5 pounds over the ideal weight are disqualified, making your hard work for naught. Know the lamb's weight on the day you obtain it, then calculate what it should weigh on the day of the show and feed accordingly.
In addition to basic care and feeding, you must exercise your potential grand champion lamb so she develops the right musculature. Figure on daily walks of 1 mile to 2 miles, but don't overdo it in hot weather. Halter-break her and teach her to lead properly as well as to stand correctly for exhibition.
Before show day, you must wash and shear your lamb. Towel- or blow-dry the animal, then put a blanket on her and place her in a clean, well-bedded stall or pen. She must be absolutely immaculate for showing.
If you have the money, the surefire way to obtain a grand champion lamb is by purchasing one at the auction usually held after the championships are awarded. If you want to upgrade your herd with top breeding stock, this is one way to do it. Having a grand champion sheep on your farm or ranch means you can command top dollar for offspring, marketing them to others looking for their own grand champion lamb.
- Oklahoma Farm Report: Grand Champion Lamb and Grand Champion Goat Owned by Same Exhibitor - Sell Back to Back for $25,000 Total
- Iowa State University Extension: Sheep Department
- Texas A&M University: 4-H Show Lamb Guide
- Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo: Junior Market Lamb Show
- Purdue University: Showing Sheep as a 4-H Project
Jane Meggitt has been a writer for more than 20 years. In addition to reporting for a major newspaper chain, she has been published in "Horse News," "Suburban Classic," "Hoof Beats," "Equine Journal" and other publications. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English from New York University and an Associate of Arts from the American Academy of Dramatics Arts, New York City.