Who we are

Ramsay Farms is situated in the northeastern part of Ottertail County, near Perham, Minnesota. This family farm of 320 acres has been in the Ramsay family for five generations, dating back to 1892. Today our farm prides itself on our Simmental cattle, Shetland Sheep and BlueFaced Leicester sheep. We strive to breed animals that closest match the breed standards given to them, and mindful of production, health and longevity in our animals as well.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Simmental




I spent a good half hour 'chillin' with the cattle. Since they are out on pasture, I don't get to see them up close every day. It was an extremely windy day at the farm , and the mosquitoes and flies were getting the ladies fired up. So much that they grouped together and then took to the water to try and lose them. 

We are down to the bare bones here. My dad has the two black Simmental, and the rest (count 6) are mine, plus the bull. We are finally going to go back to purebred breeding, after five years of crossing. The Red Angus x Simmental is still a hot commodity, but I wanted to breed up the herd again, now that its down to three mother/daughter pairs.



You certainly couldn't complain about the scenery! We also have a bald eagle nest in this pasture. its the second year they've used it for their nesting grounds. for as ferocious a hunter, they sure seem to keep away from us humans and mind their own business.

Friday, June 13, 2014

lambs.....

Well we hadn't planned on any lambs in 2014. And that worked pretty well. No adult ewes were bred. Then, sometime in January, our biggest and fiesty-est (is that a word?) ram lamb busted through two panels and a plywood gate to get in with the then, ewe lambs.

At shearing, we found 5 yearling ewes to be indeed pregnant. He was only in with them for a few hours and clearly was a busy guy.

Today two of those ewes lambed, producing singles, one is a fawn katmoget ewe lamb and the other is highly spotted ram lamb. photos when time permits!

A special thank you to my mentor and friend for helping with this task!

Monday, March 17, 2014

2014 micron results for all ages of rams

I've chosen not to post my 'all flock' results the past few years for several reasons.

1. I  feel that my numbers dont' change very much from year to year on a specific sheep.
2. I feel that this information is private and is used to better my own flock and goals.
3. By NOT posting, I do not get unwanted soliciting for animals that are not for sale. When and if an animal is available and the buyer is genuinely interested, I would offer those numbers to them on that specific animal.
4. I have tested over 100 sheep the last 6 years and taking the time to post all that info on so many sheep is time consuming and not needed when most are not for sale!

But just to let everyone know that I AM on the right track, please enjoy these numbers below:

Average ram micron results (lambs and adults)
AFD 20.5, SD 4.6, CV 22.8, CEM 8.9, CF 96.8, SF 20.3

WS1123 - Three year old, black, light badgerrface horned ram. Bred by Jim and Brandy Chastain. (*Grade 1)
AFD 19.9/ SD 4.8/ CV 23.9/ CEM 9.4/ CF 96.8 /SF 19.8

WhitePine City High - three year old, (Heatheram Lightning x FirthofFifth Koosi AI) gray katmoget horned ram (*Grade 1)
AFD 23.6/ SD 4.5/ CV 19.0/ CEM 7.7/ CF 94.5/ SF 22.6

WS1222 - two year old, moorit horned ram bred by the Chastains. (*Grade 2 due to CV)
AFD 21.8/ SD 5.6/ CV 25.8/ CEM 10.7/ CF 92.1/ SF 22.2

RTF Robb - two year old white horned ram - WhitePine Barnabas x WhitePine Rush (*Grade 1)
AFD 21.3/ SD 4.8/ CV 22.4/ CEM 9.5/ CF 95.2/ SF 21.0

WhitePine Carver - two year old moorit smirslet socket horned ram - WhitePine Barnabas x ShelteringPines Cabotine (* Grade 1)
AFD 21.0/ SD 4.6/ CV 22.1/ CEM 8.9/ CF 97.1/ SF 20.6

The above 5 rams did not come back as any surprises, except for a higher CV on the 1222 ram. Since these are second or third fleece tests, these rams can be officially recorded in the FFSSA database and not just provisional any longer. Its important to have mature rams tested every year to verify their quality of fleece and that they are not super fine ram lambs and are used for breeding and sold off before we know their mature fleece and if it will hold or not. You cannot base your entire breeding program on using ram lambs if you don't know how their parents tested or how they will test themselves at 2 or 3 fleece.

The next 8 ram lambs were also tested (I guess now yearlings). These are first fleece results and will be marked as provisional in the FFSSA database. This just gives me an idea of how they will continue to mature. None are surprises given their parents micron results in years past. While there is always room for improvement, and room for more knowledge, I was happy that I had a ballpark idea of how they would come back.

WP1312 Shaela yearling horned ram. Sheltering Pines Jardin de Spensau x WhitePine Nina Sky AI.
AFD 21.6/ SD4.6/ CV 21.1/ CEM 8/ CF97.5/ SF 97.5 (*provisional Grade 1)

WP1315 white yearling horned ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x UnderTheSon Souchong.
AFD 20.7/ SD 4.6/ CV 22.3/ CEM 8.5/ CF 97.4/ SF 20.4 (*Provisional Grade 1)

WP1316 gray katmoget smirslet socket horned yearling ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x ShelteringPines Nirvana.
AFD 20.5/ SD 5.1/ CV 24.8/ CEM 9.9/ CF 95.9/ SF 20.7 (*provisional Grade 2)

WP1328 - fawn horned ram - ShelterPines Camden x WhitePine Shakira AI
AFD 18.7/ SD 4.1/ CV 21.9/ CEM 8.4/ CF 99.1/ SF 18.3 (*provisional Grade 1)

WP1334 - horned gray katmoget smirslet - Wintertime Jazz AI x WhitePine Beyoncé
AFD 19.3/ SD 3.2/ CV 16.8/ CEM 6.1/ SF 99.6/ SF 18.1 (*provisional Grade 1)

WP1346 black horned yearling ram - Wintertime Jazz AI x UnderTheSon Cassandra
AFD 18.9/ SD 5.1/ CV 27.1/ CEM 10.1/ CF 98.2/ SF 19.5 (*provisional grade 3 due to CV. I expect the CV to drop in next years sample. interesting his less than 15micron was the highest at 21.2)

WP1356 - mioget horned yearling ram - WS1222 x WhitePine Auburn AI
AFD18.8/ SD 4.3/ CV 22.9/ CEM 8.1/ 98.8/ SF 18.6 (*provisional grade 1)

WP1364 - horned moorit smirslet socket yearling ram - ShelteringPines Camden x BlackForest Tersk
AFD 20.0/ SD 5.2/ CV 25.8/ CEM 10.1/ CF 96.8/ SF 20.3 (*provisional Grade 2 due to CV. I again think this will drop down to an acceptable Grade 2 in next year's test)








 

Friday, January 31, 2014

Shetland Islands Day 1

On our first day of being on Shetland, we met two very important people, in the history of the Shetland Sheep breed.

The first stop, was with Hamish Hunter. He is a 3rd generation Shetland Sheep shepherd and runs the flocks of Vementry. These flocks are older than the SFBT (Shetland Flock Book Trust) and older than the 1927 standard.

The moorit flock is well over 100 years old, and the white is nearly as old. An interesting tidbid is the estate is called Vementry, in part, to the island named that is part of the estate. On this island, there are no buildings or people or electricity or roads. Just the entire white ewe flock of Shetlands. This is where the entire purebreeding of the white Shetlands is done. Hamish takes the white rams across the bay in a small fishing boat during the breeding season and collects them again with dogs after its complete. The only time the ewes are taken from the island is when they are injured, will be used for cross breeding, or sold. We were lucky enough to see the white rams and ram lambs and the photos we took I hope help show just how typey and breed standard this flock of sheep are, being maintained for well over a century.

The moorits are kept closer to the homestead and we were able to see the entire ewe flock, the adult rams and ram lambs. There were several beautifully fleeced sheep in this group of ram lambs, but Hamish wouldn't sell the ones Kate and Phillip wanted :) Hamish did have several available for the Annual Ram Sale in Lerwick, however.

The ewes used for crossbreeding are also kept on the Shetland 'Mainland'. this is to make sure that none of the white ewes are crossed by accident. Since only rams are inspected and passed for the flockbook knowing which white ram bred which white ewe isn't necessary. When Hamish told me they run 660 pure Shetland ewes, my mouth dropped. You will see that with the crofts as we go, most are run by men (or families) and are in the hundreds. They retained 44 white ewe lambs this year (so basically the cream of the cream of the crop).

Shearlings are around 45-50 kg, adult rams 50-60kg. only fed grass or haylage (different name that what we use in the States).

Hamish and his family typically roo all the rams, and keep 3 fleeces to enter in to the Annual fleece show, held the night before the Ram Sale. They have traditionally won the Champion Group of 3 White fleeces than not, in the past 25 years. They had some really really nice fine fleeces entered at the show, and we were able to see them beforehand when we had tea and biscuits up at their house after looking at the animals on foot.

Hamish and his family are top notch people. Very knowledgeable, extremely friendly and catering hosts, open to all sorts of questions and we were able to take photos of anything and everything AND take fleece samples :)

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The second stop on our journey around Shetland was with Jim Nicholson. For those of you not familiar with Jim, he has been the Secretary of the SFBT for the past 19 years. His father and uncle had crofts as well. Some of his genetics still go back to those flocks, so also back since before the 1927 standard and the SFBT creation. Jim still keeps around 280 ewes, 140 of them Shetland, with the balance NCC x Shetland ewes that are then taken to a suffolk ram for market lambs. He maybe has 20 colored Shetlands with the rest whites.

Jim has found his shetland-cheviot crosses to lamb at 140%, his suffolk x NCC/Shetland 170%.

Jim was extremely helpful in telling us about the SFBT and its beginnings and some information and history on the association, the crofters on the islands and more. I will be blogging about that in a separate post.













Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Pedigree transfers

If anyone has purchased sheep from me, other than Michelle, Rayna or Joe, and hasn't received their paperwork from me, can you please let me know? I will be not renewing my NASSA membership for 2014 and would like to get all transfers done prior to the grace period ending.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Moving ahead

Our current flock moving in to fall is a bit different than it was these past few years. Due to work commitments, drought, flood, lack of hay, I had to make a hard decision to sell most of my Mule flock. Last year I culled half of my purebred Shetlands so this year, so far, they have made most of the cuts. I still have 4 ewes available in this round of sorting.

I kept back four English Blue patterned Shetland Mules, and one Black Badgerface Shetland Mule, all yearlings. I also kept back a Cormo cross I got from Stephen Rouse, and three white BlueFaced Leicester ewes. In addition to these nine 'non Shetland' ewes, I have an old 11 year old Justalit'l Chloe who soldiers on, albeit looking exhausted. Another cold/hard winter may prove too much for her, but she is still adamant about finding that last blade of grass and being the first in for hay.

In addition to those 10 ewes, I have kept back 5 rams,and 8 ram lambs. All purebred Shetland.

Whistlestop 1123 is a black light badgerface with full horns. He was used heavily last fall and I was happy with his lambs this year. He's mostly Island genetics with some Orion thrown in, very crimpy and fine. I'm glad he's in my flock.

Whistlestop 1222 is a solid moorit yearling with full horns. He was used on just a few ewes and I'm very happy with his lambs. If i decide to breed this fall, he will be used heavily. He is also Island genetics with some Orion.

WhitePine City High AI is a gray katmoget ram who is F1 Lightning and fully horned. I believe he is shaela or emsket so if I breed this fall I'd like to use him on the modified girls. His dam is FirthofFifth Koosi who is a F1 Jericho and we all know how much I love that line.

RTF Robb is a white yearling fully horned ram, with my breeding (he should be WhitePine registered but that's another story). He is WhitePine Barnabas AI (Orion/Timothy) x WhitePine Rush (Orion/Rachildas) and was used on a few ewes last fall. I also really like this guy and hope to utilize him in the future.

WhitePine Carver is a yearling moorit smirslet sokket fully horned ram. He is also out of WhitePine Barnabas AI, and ShelteringPines Cabotine, a mioget krunet sokket. His fleece is amazing. Now if I could just figure out how to keep him inside the fence.

The 8 ram lambs I am either going to try and use this fall, if I breed, offer for sale, or keep for further evalatuions for myself. If they don't sell I can always eat them :)

WP1312 Shaela horned ram. ShelteringPines Jardin x WhitePine Nina Sky AI. The modified suprised me but I am pleased. I showed him in Jefferson and he has an extremely fine and soft fleece. Lots of crimp. Goes to show that the dog coats sometimes turn out ;)

WP1315 white horned ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x UnderTheSon Souchong. he carries horned ewe gene and is a brick house. Also a Jazz baby so he's staying for now.

WP1316 smirslet sokket gray katmoget, horned ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x ShelteringPines Nirvana. Also carries horned ewe genetics. I really want to use him.

WP1334 gray katmoget horned ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x WhitePine Beyonce (double F2 Orion). He does not disappoint. I hope to use him too.

WP1328 moorit horned ram. ShelteringPines Telsay Camden x WhitePine Shakira AI (Orion). Lots to like about him.

WP1346 black horned ram. Wintertime Jazz AI x UnderTheSon Cassandra. I'm really impressed with this ram also.

WP1364 moorit smirslet horned ram. ShelteringPines TelSay Camden x FirthofFifth Tersk (F2 Orion). He really surprised me but I really gotta say even though both parents were gulmoget and he isn't, his fleece is so far incredible. If Corinne doesn't want him I'm sure I'll keep him.

WP1356 moorit horned ram. Whistlestop 1222 x WhitePine Auburn AI (orion x ashanti). This ram is pretty awesome too! He's linebred on Orion, one of my favorite lines to work with. Auburn is my lowest AFD/SD/CV/CEM on the place so this one may be one to watch.

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On top of these rams and ewes above I have 45 Shetland ewes. I'd love to breed some of them this fall, but until I find a caretaker for the house and farm, i'm at the mercy of my dad, who isn't wild about the idea of breeding. To my detection, all are Grade1 or Grade 2 ewes, great bites, proper tails and ear sets, fine bone and nimble, alert expressions and of course, hardy, good moms, and good grazers.

If I need to take a year off of breeding, then it is, what it is. If I need to breed only 10 ewes, I will never be able to figure out which ones to breed! Maybe someone can come for a farm visit and help me choose :)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Small update

Finally had a chance to evaluate the lambs. For those that read this blog; thank you! I put a lot of time and effort in to my flock of sheep and I know that it shows. I breed for myself, and to try and make sheep that best conform to the 1927 Standard. that being said, I do move out animals that I have a lot of the same bloodline, or pattern or color. Not because I wouldn't keep them, but because I just have a lot of sheep.

I've taken a position in Fargo, ND, about 75 miles each way to help make a more budgeted income for a few years. That being said I need to cut way back on my flock until time permits.

I am not going to go on and on about how great my sheep are, or take 100 photos of each sheep, but I will tell you that I am very proud of my flock and how far they've come in just 7 years of lambing. I will retain all my yearling ewes and ewe lambs, and 25 adult Shetland ewes. I will also keep a few BFL, Cormo crosses and a few Shetland Mules. But the majority of the crossbreds are available for sale, as are about 30-40 adult Shetland ewes. These ewes are all Grade 2 and some are F1s and most are F2s out of UK semen. If they didn't have what it took, i wouldn't have them here.

Since I'm downsizing and have only so many hours on saturday evening and Sundays to tend to the farm myself, I am offering group deals. they are first come, your choice (of what is available) and are $1400 for 5 proven adult Shetland ewes, $2750 for 10 ewes. Or, your choice, $300 each.

All registered, purebred, Shetland sheep that I believe conform to the SSS 1927 Standard. All have past Micron results, have been tested negative for OPP/Johne's/CL/BTv. They are rotationally grazed and managed on an organic, grass fed diet.

I am by no means getting out of Shetlands or sheep in general, but need to madly downsize.

There will be a select few ram lambs available (horned or polled) but I am not going to push them hard. Whatever doesn't sell by Jefferson will be taken in to be processed ( I am getting a strong market for meat as well).

My flock is one of very few that have been inspected by several UK certified flock inspectors and have passed (they kept saying how the sheep looked just like theirs back home!) and I again will have the pleasure of having a few select animals shown to UK judges at Jefferson again this September.

My crossbred flock lambs will most likely go to market mid August, along with first round evals of ram lambs and ewe lambs and any ewes that aren't up to snuff any longer. I am usually home on Sundays so that's the day that would be best to come and pick out what you need for your flock :)

Monday, April 22, 2013

Lambs abound in 2013

With Facebook pages now much easier to post on, and update, most of what goes on, on our farm is updated there. So for those of you not on FB, my apologies.

I do like the idea of Blogger better for thought out blog posts, giving my experiences and opinions, and for listing things, such as lambs :)

We are well underway with lambing here. Both our Mules and our Shetlands are over halfway done. Several of the rams I used, have had all their lambs born already so I will post them first.

Whistlestop 1123 - black light badgerface ram was bred to the following ewes:

WhitePine Salome - horned black yuglet sokket flecket (Jazz x ShelteringPines Snow Cloud) - produced a black light badgerface smirslet ewe lamb. We will wait to see if she's horned ( I am hoping!)

WhitePine Terah -  black ewe (UTS Arapaho x BlackForest Tilly (a Forrest daughter)) - produced twins, a black ewe and a moorit light badgerface ewe. both just stunning.

WhitePine Fiji - black ewe (White Pine Roman AI (Orion) x ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis - produced a smashing moorit light badgerface ram. If all turns out, I want to hang on to this guy.

WhitePine Naomi - fawn katmoget (Wintertime Blues AI x ShelteringPines Nirvana) produced a gorgeous moorit light badgerface ewe. i'm calling dibs on this ewe lamb too.

WhitePine Skor - shaela ewe (FirthofFifth Don Telmo Bourbon x FirthofFifth Assam Meleng) produced twin ewe lambs: a black ewe (could be shaela) and a moorit light badgerface ewe. She always produces quality lambs but never modified....hence why she's still here.

WhitePine Faith - gray katmoget krunet sokket ewe (Jazz x Minwawe Flopsy) produced twin ewe lambs: a black ewe and a black light badgerface ewe. Both have krunets.

UTS Cinnibarina - moorit ewe (UTS Taggerty x UTS Anglaise) produce twin ewe lambs! Both moorit light badgerface.

FirthofFifth Rahu - white illget ewe (Forrest x RYL Rachildas) produced a POLLED and smashing black light badgerface ram. Rahu never disappoints me with her lambs and he is breathtaking.

FirthofFifth Ashegon - moorit ewe (Wintertime Blues AI x FirthofFifth Ashanti) produced a moorit light badgerface ewe! Another keeper.

BlackForst Tokhara - fawn ewe (WhitePine Ephraim AI x BlackForest Towanda (a Forrest daughter) produced twin rams, both moorit light badgerface.

WhitePine Bethany AI - moorit ewe - Heights Orion x Justalit'l Black Lambo - produced twins: a black ewe and a black lightbadger face ram, who's also polled. he's incredible.


And then we have RTF Robb a white horned ram. He is out of WhitePine Barnabas AI x WhitePine Rush (FirthofFifth Aman AI x RYL Rachildas). His mom was sold as a bred ewe and I liked him so much as a lamb that I traded him back for a different ewe :)

He was bred to the following ewes:

WinterSky Layla AI - mioget horned ewe (Heights Orion x Underhill Loretta Lynn). She produced twin ewe lambs: a white and a moorit. Let's hope for horns :)

Sommarang Eva - gray katmoget ewe (Underhill Bandit x V Creek Snowflake) produced a spotted gray katmoget ewe lamb.

BlackForest Azteca - emsket ewe (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Agio) produced what will be an emsket ewe lamb!

WhitePine Tecate - gray kamoget ewe (FirthofFifth Nekomis x BlackForest Tilly) produced a smashing ram lamb. He's Musket however. And Robb is Awt/Aa. and I don't own a musket ram (or gray). So either he belongs to a musket ewe and my dad got mixed up when they were born (I was away when she lambed). So we shall hold out on registering him until we know parentage. He's so worth it though!

WhitePine Neriah - gray katmoget (Wintertime Blues AI x ShelteringPines Nirvana) produced a lovely white ewe lamb.



Monday, December 3, 2012

More Updates - More For Sale

Where the heck does time go? I seem to have always updated my blog daily or at least several times a week.

I won't bore you with minute details of what's been going on, but I need to tell you about the 'fun' stuff!

Breeding groups for the Shetlands weren't put in until the 10th of November. I always try to plan for breeding groups around the Cardigan Welsh Corgi National (I usually go to that 9 day event!) and I don't want/expect anyone else to lamb the sheep out for me (especially trying to match lambs to mothers if need be!). The crosses were put together a week before that, so they will lamb earlier. i'm not concerned as much about their lambs getting on the wrong ewe, as long as they are cared for (so far no issues, crossing fingers)

This year I am doing FOUR groups for crosses. I'm using the Finn ram, the Leicester Longwool, a Shetland Mule, and the BFL ram. I'm excited for fleece and carcass quality on all accounts. The Shetland Mule was for fun and I won't keep him to use again but wanted to see what I could produce since he's badgerface and english blue AND spotted! (and carries moorit to boot!)

Much has happened on the farm in general and the size of the farm has dropped by about half (acreage wise). In light of this, the number of animals I wanted to run on the land will have to be re-evaluated, and while my dad and I both feel we can better manage smaller acres, it should still sustain the current number of animals we have, just not the numbers I had dreamed of getting to in the next few years. The market for cattle is insanely high and my dad is pushing to increase cattle numbers while wanting me to maintain or lower my sheep numbers, all on the less acreage. We still have all of our pastures but tillable acreage will be down by about 2/3. Sad reality, but I'm finally embracing it and eager to see what I can do with the new challenges ahead.

The hogs are gone, the pigeons are gone, and most of the chickens (although I still have young layers to sell!)

With that being said I am going to offer many of my rams for sale and 10-12 bred ewes  that I normally wouldn't sell. Its getting harder and harder to part with them, but they are truly nice ewes with lots to offer most any shepherd.

Rather than post everything about every ram or ewe, if you want the list info on any of the sheep, just give me a shout. I do offer group discounts.