Sheep projects in motion at K-D Livestock’s Lamb Sale

CW-MR-3-KD Livestock2by Stacey Hopkins

Kirby Dygert of K-D Livestock hosted a Club Lamb board sale at her farm in Elma, NY on April 13. Lambs born in the February and March were just the right size and age for the 4-H’ers and young showmen and show ladies for their upcoming shows and fairs this year.

The Hampshire-Suffolk lambs included a total of 20 wethers, ewes, and one ram. The board sale concept was new to some of the kids who were used to a live auction. At this board sale they were able to write their bids on a board for the lamb of their choice, bidding silently in $25 increments. The board sale was open to the public, but all participants seemed to be in search of a lamb for their county fairs and 4-H auctions. These lambs were bred for ideal market qualities such as length, width of loin, muscle, structural correctness, and other assets that the judge will be looking for in a good quality lamb.

Parents and friends assisted kids with advice and guidance during the viewing process before the board sale began. The pressure is on when deciding which lambs to bid on, how much to spend, and a backup plan when you don’t get the winning bid for the lamb you wanted. The young showmen ranged in all ages, but they weren’t shy about showing their knowledge and expectations during the selection process.

Most, if not all, of the kids belong to local 4-H sheep programs and clubs. In order to stay competitive in the show ring, it is ideal to purchase a market lamb with good genetics and growth potential like the ones bred and raised at K-D Livestock farms.

Kirby Dygert is a 21 year old show-woman herself; she grew up showing horses, sheep, and beef cattle. She will be graduating from Morrisville College this May with a Bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business. Now that Kirby is out of 4-H she is happy to give back and help the kids with their 4-H projects, when she isn’t busy working at the Erie County Fair Agricultural Society in the Competitive Exhibits Department. She said, “I gladly will help any of the kids with their lambs if they need a hand. I am always happy to go to their farms and work with them or help with sheering, lamb diet recommendations, or whatever they need.” Kirby also plans on continuing to show in beef and horse open shows.

Kirby made mention of her gratitude towards all of her friends and family who helped her with the sale and its preparation, including her parents Duke and Barb Dygert. Kirby’s father grew up showing Dorset sheep as a kid and that is how she got into this industry and took a strong interest in showing and raising lambs early on, although it is clear she has a strong love for all of her farm animals of many species.

One of Kirby’s friends, Shelby Kelkenberg, was also able to bring two of her lambs to consign at the sale. Shelby and Kirby both hope to expand their herds and flocks and keep farming in their families. Kirby plans on doing another lamb sale next year, but anticipates on having even more lambs and doing a live auction with live bidding. The board sale was successful and all 20 lambs were sold and went home with enthused showmen with some big plans as the 2014 show season approaches.

As Kirby says, “If you take care of your lamb, feed it well, and exercise it, it will pay off and do well for you. I have had lambs where I wasn’t sure about their potential when they were young and they ended up winning classes and shows.”Needless to say there could be a couple of grand champion lambs that went home from the sale that day. Kirby reminds the kids that as long as the lamb is structurally correct, anything could happen.

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