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Sheep horn growth?

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  • Sheep horn growth?

    I've got a question for you sheep experts out there. Just curious if the bad winters the last couple years effect the growth of rams horns much? And how about on years such as this one where the weather has been mild? Do they experience better growth in these years? Are the biggest rams killed during a succession of mild winters? Or can you expect to see good rams harvested after a few hard winters in a row?

  • #2
    I am no sheep expert, but I can throw in that last winter was far from bad.

    Hearing some of the experts speak about horn growth, they say that nutritional intake plays a part in horn growth.

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    • #3
      not being an expert, I'd guess that bad summers are what really screws things up. At the recent presentation that Brian helped arrange, the speaker mentioned that dry summers are bad for vegetation and thus for the sheep as well.

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      • #4
        No expert either but from what I've gathered, sheep horns pretty much stop growing in the winter regardless of how easy or bad the winter is. This is how the rings develop. I'd have to agree with oakman. Good nutrition the rest of the year means good horn growth....
        Sheep hunting...... the pain goes away, but the stupidity remains...!!!

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        • #5
          here is a bunch of sciency stuff about sheep horn growth. Lots of math, way too early in the AM for that kind of stuff.

          Dont forget about Heimer's old book. There is supposed to be a copy in ARLIS, but I have never made my way there to read it.

          Heimer's book can be found in the libraries of many colleges, one may be near you.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by 4merguide View Post
            No expert either but from what I've gathered, sheep horns pretty much stop growing in the winter regardless of how easy or bad the winter is. This is how the rings develop. I'd have to agree with oakman. Good nutrition the rest of the year means good horn growth....
            True. Horn growth is mainly influence by homone levels, in particular testosterone.

            However, a hard winter can have a definite impact on the ram's horn growth over the following year, or even it's lifetime. A ram coming out of winter in poor physical shape must direct resources to its body as a priority over spending the energy on horn growth. Some rams may never fully recover from a bad winter and exhibit less annual horn growth than if it was able to maintain high physical fitness throughout its life.

            The third year of horn growth is likely the most important for a ram in terms of influencing the future shape and over size of its horns. This is due to the nature of the Circle. Less horn growth in the third year results in tighter curls. Rams experiencing poor horn growth in their fourth summer can actually become "legal" sooner than they might have if they produced greater horn growth in this particular year.

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            • #7
              Maybe somebody sould contact Dr. Hemier or Dr. Lohouis for info they might have about horn growth. Just thinking about a possible source of expert info.
              Wes

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              • #8
                Thanks for the info guys, especially AK Ray. Some very interesting stuff in the attachment you provided. Going on my first Dall sheep hunt this year and I'm hopeful the bad winters lately haven't put too big of a hurt on the sheep numbers or on the quality of rams.

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