Texas FFA News  
Brock FFA Member Utilizes Advanced Methods to Grow Sheep Flock Operation    
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 | Author: Texas FFA News

Brock FFA member, Conner Cowdrey, is utilizing advanced methods to grow his sheep production Supervised Agricultural Experience (SAE) project.

“Currently, the flock consists of 103 head of Dorper ewes and 15 Dorper rams,” said Cowdrey. “After researching, I knew that Dorpers would be a good fit for the 75 acres that I rent from my father with the grazing and water options.”

He states that he established the breeding flock seven years ago to produce lambs and, in turn, be able to sell them to earn an income.

“It is important to pair ewes with a ram that will yield the progeny which is desired,” said Cowdrey. “An important task is reviewing my rams and ewes and their previous offspring to help me make my mating decisions.” 

The high school graduate had utilized his agricultural science education experience to research and establish the best methods to enhance his operation. 

“A ewe that is born a twin is genetically predisposed to have twins, so I have kept more twin replacement ewes in my flock,” said Cowdrey. “This effort has resulted in an increase from four multiple births to 31 multiple births over the last five years.”

Animal welfare is the number one priority in his operation; the FFA member explains how he ensures his sheep are treated well. 

“If maintaining a safe and habitable environment for my sheep is not attainable, then I do not need to be in the business,” said Cowdrey. “I have three barns for shelter, clean water, quality feed, appropriate vaccinations and deworming, and healthy breeding and birthing practices are all part of ensuring that my flock is healthy and protected at all times.”

While attending Texas Tech University, Cowdrey has developed new ways of maintaining his flock from afar. 

“One thing I have done to manage my time is to use a daily planner to keep track of the dates when my sheep need vaccinating, deworming, weaning, and breeding,” said Cowdrey. “Using the online system, HerdBoss, assists in keeping track of breedings, births, deaths, and sales of my flock.”

He believes that his flock has allowed him to gain an understanding and appreciation for animals and agriculture that he would not have learned otherwise.

Cowdrey’s successful SAE project was recognized as a National Proficiency winner in Sheep Production at the 2022 National FFA Convention.

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