Producer Spotlight

Producer Spotlight: From our producer’s perspective

ALP is currently looking for a producers to feature in our quarterly N’ewesletters!

ALP introduced a new producer spotlight section this past month in our quarterly N’ewesletters, to let our producers get to know one and other and learn about the vast amount of sheep operations we have here in Alberta.


With that being said, we want to hear from “ewe.” Would you like to write a small (or big) article for us explaining about your business and what you do? Some ideas could include:

  • Your farming operation: for example, number of animals, time in the industry, breeds, system (intensive vs extensive). Boast about what you do best. It doesn’t matter if you have 10 sheep or 10,000.
  • Choose your own personal angle. What are you passionate about within the sheep industry? Why did you join the industry and what interests you about it? Talk about it; it can be anything—innovation, wool, breeding, feed, medication vs holistic, machinery, tips and tricks, whatever tweaks your interest.
  • What are your plans for the future in the sheep industry? Is there something you want to see happen in the industry? Have you got personal goals you want to achieve on your farm?

These articles are all about you and your operations. We want to use them as a way to encourage producer networking, asking questions, and learning from each other about what we all do best—sheep farming. The more we can share as an industry, the stronger we can become!

The deadline to submit intent to write for each N’ewesletter edition is*:

Spring Edition:  February 15th 2023 - Producer selected already by random draw.

Summer Edition: May 20th 2023 

Fall Edition: July 23rd 2023

Winter Edition: November 2nd 2023

Please express your interest to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 403-948-8533.

*If there are multiple submissions for each edition, we will put names into a draw and let the winner know. You can apply for as many editions as you like. Please note, from the submission date above, you will have one month to write and submit your article back to ALP for proofreading and formatting.

Spring N'ewsletter 2024 Producer Spotlight

Chancey, Kash, Jol, Brian, Shaunere, and Rio 

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Hello Everyone!
I am Chancey Lane of Brown Creek Ranch located in the foothills of southern Alberta. My wife Kash and I are second generation recently welcoming the third generation with the arrival of our daughter Rio. We work with my parents Brian and Shaunere.
For over 20 years our operations focus was on cattle we operated a commercial and purebred angus operation. In 2016 we had been doing a lot of research on the benefits of doing rotational grazing and weed control with sheep. After a trial run for the summer months of grazing sheep we decided that it was something the ranch needed. We jumped right in and started with 500 ewes. At this time we had decided to sell the purebred cows and maintain our commercial herd as we are still mainly a cow/calf operation.
In 2018 we decided to grow again by adding a goat herd into the mix. We continue to retain our own females in our cow, sheep and goat herds. We start lambing on the first of February that typically wraps up around mid march and then we will start calving the cows April 1st. We start our goats May 1st. Our numbers are still growing as we see how we are able to rotationally graze, target problem areas with fencing and allow all the different species to compliment each other. With all the animals around here it has been essential that we find efficiencies that bring reduced labor, cost effectiveness and produce a profit. By far our best advancement for cost management and effective feed utilization was the purchase of a mixer wagon and starting to feed silage. We don’t grow any feed so everything is purchased this makes managing the feed supply very important.
We use a series of very elaborate spreadsheets that we built using google sheets, a program I really like because we don’t have cell phone service. I can work offline in my notebook and when I get to an internet connection it updates it on all of my devices. I use an iPad mounted in the tractor to do the daily feeding. Every day we are able to make small changes to all of our rations. The amount of feed used is added into the sheet and is billed out to the appropriate pen or group of animals. At the beginning of the year I develop a feed plan using cow bytes and sheep bytes. Once I am happy with the plan I review it with a nutritionist and they green light everything. Once all the rations are good to go they are added in to be fed to the different animal groups at the appropriate time. The ewes for example have three different rations that we use as a base, a breeding ration which is fed in combination with some grazing, a pregnancy ration that will fluctuate depending on their trimester and a lactating ration. These rations all fluctuate with the weather and how the ewes are intaking the feed.
By tracking our feed usage this way we have been able to track our daily costs and ensure that everyday we are feeding exactly what the ewes need and we are minimizing waste. By intensely tracking our costs and targeting nutrition we have been able to recognize trends that usually give us a ‘Heads up” to when lambing is going to get busy we have found that 4-5 days before we are about to get a big rush of lambs the ewes in that pen start cutting their own feed intake back once this starts to happen we adjust the ration to add more grain as the ewes aren’t taking in as much feed and we need to keep their energy up. We combine this with watching the daily temperatures during our breeding season. If I am looking back at September/October and I see that there was a big temperature drop combined with the ewes starting to back off their feed, we know the rush is coming and can usually pinpoint it to within 3 days. This year we had several days of over 40 ewes lambing and we were able to prepare in advance.
Next we look at how to reduce the labour. Our shearers have said before that we could put on a school for how to cull a herd properly. Basically, if you are going to make it in our sheep herd you have to be efficient, productive and not a pain to work with. We manage the herd very simply this way, we don't use a fancy wand or even tag lambs at birth. When we started in sheep we did have a wand and a program, but I found the training process for everyone to learn to use the wand and the cost of the tags seemed unnecessary.
I realized that if we are going to lamb out 600 ewes and we expect a death loss between 6-8% from birth to weaning it didn’t make sense to tag the lambs that weren’t going to make it and it didn’t make sense to tag a ewe lamb that may live here for 7-8 years and be given many opportunities to snag that tag on a fence or a tree. Once again I made a spreadsheet on my iPad and we applied the selection process. We retain our own females and we eliminate labour by holding ewe lambs over so that they have their first lamb around the time they are turning two. These ewes have had a chance to mature and develop, should be able to raise their lambs on their own and require very little intervention. We apply the same process with the goats. When a ewe lambs she is brought to a jug her udder is felt for lumps or injuries and then judged for aesthetics, her overall condition, age and temperament are assessed. If a ewe has no good reason to act all crazy and requires us to catch her to jug her she will be marked as a cull. Her feet are checked. We don't trim feet here, we select breeds known for good feet. If she needs a trim but is capable of raising lambs she will get trimmed and will be shipped after raising these lambs.
Our ewes are not kept in the jugs for long occasionally lambs that have a slow start from malpresentation or bad weather are given a little longer but typically their stay is less than 12 hours, minimum of 5 hours for a ewe with twins and if things are busy singles skip the jug and will be processed and put into a mixing pen.
Processing consists of assessing the ewe to make sure she fits what we are looking for, she is wormed and if she needs a tag replaced that happens at this time. The lambs' tails are ringed and a matching number to the mom is painted on the side. If the ewe has met all our criteria to continue raising lambs here her female lambs are given a small ear notch this makes them eligible to be replacements. Their information is added to the spreadsheet and they are moved into a mixing pen. This female selection process has served us really well in developing a low maintenance flock; it only ensures that the most eligible ewe is raising our replacements.
Quite often there is an event that happens after they have left the jug that may cause them to not be selected as replacements; the lambs do poor, or one is taken off and bottle fed these ewes receive a big red mark for cull and depending on the circumstances a poor doing ewe lamb won't be selected as a replacement or they are given a second ear notch which designates them as a feeder lamb.
Once we wean our lambs the feeder lambs are sorted into one pen and the replacements into another the females we want to keep are selected and often the remaining ones are sold as breeders. Once there is pasture available the ewe lambs are added back into the flock and they go to pasture. At breeding time the ewe lambs will be sorted off and culled if necessary then moved to a different pen for the winter. The ewes all have their udder felt for lumps or injuries, any poor doers are culled and the rest are sorted into breeding groups and we start the whole process over. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share about our operation and some things we feel we do really well. Hopefully, I was able to provide some strategies for managing a flock.