Buying animals from a sheep breeder is a vulnerable situation that involves a lot of trust between the breeder and the seller. Between paying deposits before seeing the animal, trusting the animal is healthy and hoping it’s exactly what you are expecting, there can be several concerns that pop up.
Any good sheep breeder should be prepared to give you everything you need at the time of the sale. Make sure you leave the sale with the following documents.
These show the sheep is registered with the organization you want them to be a part of. This will also show the lineage of the sheep, so you can make sure there was no inbreeding.
These papers show the sheep will leave the place where they are registered and move to your farm. Both sheperds will need to sign these at the time of the sale.
When you send this paper to your registry, you will receive a new pedigree paper showing your ownership.
Scrapies tags should come from the original sheep owner. All sheep must have these ear tags per federal USDA law. Farm tags are optional and will most likely be included, unless you bought a lamb and made a specific request not to have a farm tag.
There are many things you can vaccinate a sheep against. All sheep need CDT (overeating disease) and tetanus shots. Vaccination happens between 6-8 weeks of age, so make sure you know if these have been given or not.
Medical records should also indicate if the lamb has been on any antibiotics. Older sheep will most likely not have all medical records from their lifetime. However, you will want to know when they have been wormed or treated with antibiotics in the last year.
Always make sure you obtain a sales receipt at the sale for your records. Many registries require these for transfers.
Any reliable sheep breeder should be prepared to give you these documents, but make sure you ask ahead of time to make things run smoother. Other helpful documents for breeders to include for buyers are vaccination schedules, list of the sheep’s current diet, general facts for the breed, and a list of books or resources the seller deems trustworthy.