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.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Breeding Season is coming.

After last fall, of not breeding ANY sheep, due to circumstances dealing with work away from the farm, and work load involving lambing at the farm, while I was away, well, let's just say it didnt' happen.

Everyone got a year off.

I hated it.

Everyone else had cute lambs to watch play. Everyone else had hopefuls they were watching over the summer to keep in the flock. It was a time of reflection for me, and a time of finding myself. What did I really want to do? many questions and answers, which in turn, made more questions.

with a more decided idea of what I wanted to do, I shipped my sheep to Summer Camp. I removed myself emotionally from the sheep. Which was extremely hard. And then I asked for Cynthia's, Kelly's and Philip's opinions on my sheep. I knew what had to be done.

in 2012 I had about 144 ewes. just under half were crosses (mostly mules). After last weekend I pulled that number down to 45 Shetland ewes, 5 crosses and 2 BFL. A pretty big feat. I also have some that I'm keeping to use this fall, in hopes of improving them further through their lambs, and then offering the ewes available next year.

I have decided on four rams for pure breeding this fall. I am breeding all 45 Shetlands pure. I had a lot of inquiries this year for lambs, but fortunately I was able to move out another 30 some Shetland ewes as breeding stock (some pure, some for crossing) so it was a nice feeling to get those ewes to new homes so I can concentrate on what i have left.

The rams I am using are unproven this fall. there are a few I kept holding on to, hoping to be able to be used, and finally it is there turn in the spot light!

i'll be finding photos of them and posting here as I get the opportunity.

WhitePine Carver - mioget smirslet sokket, horned. Sire: WhitePine Barnabas AI x ShelteringPines Cabotine. He was born in 2012 and this is his first opportunity for breeding ewes. He will have 13 ewes going in with him (or so I think, as of today).

His micron numbers for this spring were:
AFD: 21, SD: 4.6, CV 22.4, CEM 8.9, CF 97.1, SF 20.6, CRV: 85.9

He is a deep bodied ram (for a shetland), average size, good bite, feet and perfect tail. His horns are large and wide. His biggest downside is he continue to jump fencing when there isn't a strand of electric on top. So he's super smart too.

WhitePine City High AI - born in 2010, this gray katmoget is out of imported semen Heatheram Lightning and FirthofFifth Koosi AI (a Jericho daughter). He has a lot of UK lines in him, close up in the pedigree. His horns are nicely space, rounded and spiraled out. He is another nice bodied ram with the full package: markings, good bite, lovely head, perfect tail, and i think he is also modified. He hasn't been used yet due to other F1 rams wanting to be used first, but he will have 13 ewes as well, in his breeding group. He is mellow, and will be available for sale after this breeding season.

His microns from this spring were:
AFD: 23.6, SD: 4.5, CV 19, CEM 7.7, CF 94.5, SF 22.6, CRV 52.4. He is silky soft with great luster, soft handle and lots of breed type.

WhitePine 1334 (unnamed still) - born 2013 - he is also a gray katmoget but very dark blue fleece to it. He is out of Wintertime Jazz AI x WhitePine Beyonce (double F2 Orion), so he carries moorit. He is a nicely maturing yearling I will use this fall as his horns, due to the poll gene, are going to need to be trimmed. Its a pity, he has my best numbers ever for a yearling micron result, and is structurally correct, with loads of breed type.

His yearling micron numbers from this spring were:

AFD 19.3, SD 3.2, CV 16.8, CEM 6.1, CF 99.6, SF 18.1, CRV 74.2

To someone who wants to improve fleeces, he may be what you are looking for. 

the fourth ram I want to talk about so badly but he will have to wait until the purchase is complete. I am pretty excited about him and have 11 ewes planned for him already. He is a more rare pattern in horned Shetlands of the fine fleece, so look foward to utilizing him.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

 The ewes below represent some proven ewes, as well as some younger ewes, that, due to having to cut back further, will be available. When you go from 135 sheep, down to 50 in two years (just Shetland ewes, not lambs or rams) it is a huge undertaking. Stressful, heart breaking and a huge lesson in hard decisions and proud moments.

The three horned ewes are proven, and are extremely rare. I traveled around Shetland, Scotland and England and didn't see a single horned ewe. there are few in the USA or Canada as well, and the horned ewe gene is inherited differently than the horned ram/hornless ewes, or the polled gene. I have something from these ewes (Nirvana has 13 offspring or grand kids here) so she can go help promote horned ewe genetics elsewhere. her style, look and type are all very shetland like and she will stay here forever if she doesn't find a home that will use her genetics.

ShelteringPines Nirvana - gray katmoget horned ewe - 2007 born. Underhill Thelonius Monk x ShelteringPines Modron. She carries moorit, spots and is one of my foundation ewes. She just tipped over 30 micron for the first time ever so she's a grade 3 fleece in FFSSA due to AFD. shes about 115 pounds
AFD 30.4, SD 5.4, CV 17.7 CEM 9.2 All outstanding numbers. She's produced some incredible rams and ewes. i've kept them all. $300

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WhitePine Salome - black yuglet flecket sokket horned ewe - 2009 born. WinterTime Jazz AI x ShelteringPines Snow Cloud. She hasn't produced moorit yet, but lots of flash. her tail looks longer but it isn't. very square, shorter legged ewe. i've retained two daughters and a son. 80 pounds. Grade 2-Premium fleece in FFSSA. $300
AFD 28, SD 5.7, CV 20.2, CEM 9.8 She's produced!

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UnderThSon Souchong - white horned ewe - 2010 born. She is a UTS Broderick (orion) x UTS Hopi. She produced a fantastic ram lamb so i'm keeping him. She is square and bigger (100 pounds). Grade 3 fleece in FFSSA due to AFD. $300
AFD30.2 SD 5.8, CV 19.2 CEM10.2

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BlackForest Tokhara - she's fawn, or light moorit. F2 Orion out of a flashy spotted gullie. I kept her son from last year who I'm in love with, and a ewe form the year prior. 85# Grade 3 fleece in FFSSA due to CV. Proven modified, carries spots.
AFD 23.4, SD 6.4, CV 27.3, CEM 12.5 $275 RESERVED

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WhitePine Lexington - fawn/light moorit. F2 orion. She's Crosswind Apollo (mioget wildly spotted) x Wintersky Layla AI (horned). she isn't horned. She's a bigger girl (100) with nice fleece, but not nice enough for me (hey i have to cut back). her sisters are just a hair better. Grade 2 fleece in FFSSA.

AFD 24.8, SD 6, CV24.3, CEM12 $275 RESERVED

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WhitePine Eureka - spotted gray kat (Donna this is the one in all the close up photos you liked!) CrossWind Apollo (mioget wildly spotted) x WhitePine Eiffel 65 (she's a jazz daughter). I showed her at WSWF last year and made the cut under the UK judge. Her mom is slightly better (she's nothing to sneeze at either) but here she is. Grade 2 fleece in FFSSA.
AFD 25.3, SD 6.4, CV 25.3, CEM 12.3 yearling fleece. $275 RESERVED


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S'more Mamba - black light badgerface ewe. She produced a decent ewe lamb last year. If she doesn't sell, i'll keep her, as her conformation and rare pattern are enough to keep her here. Grade 1 fleece in FFSSA. Outstanding ewe line.
AFD 24.8, SD 5.8, CV 23.3, CEM 10.7 $300

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WhitePine Skor born 2007. shaela. Gorgeous, full bodied, proven ewe. Always twins. I can't seem to match her with the right rams, fleece wise. She wasn't micron tested this last year as she was at Cynthia's already over the winter (she was going to be leased elsewhere but that didn't work out). She's available for $275. Grade 3 in FFSSA last micron test. RESERVED

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

35 Adult ewe microns

Below you will see a table I quickly made of the 35 adult ewes that will be bred this fall, pending any last minute opinions next week when I get to see them in the flesh. They are arranged by AFD, although I use all four of these numbers (as well as other numbers, pedigree, lambing history, color, pattern etc in my decisions) . Microns are a tool that help me decide when I'm waffling between two sheep or mother/daughter pairs.

The ones without names, but numbers are from Whistlestop and haven't been named yet ( I know, i'm sorry).

The ewe flock average is AFD 24.7, SD 5.1, CV 20.46, CEM 9. These are pretty much my ideal numbers for my flock. Now just to fine tune the girls as individuals. Always a work in progress.

Gr Name AFD SD CV CEM
1P Beyonce 20.4 4.4 21.5 8.3 
1P Adele AI 21.7 4.4 20.2 8
1P Auburn AI 21.8 4.3 19.8 7.7
1P Taconite 22.4 4.9 21.7 8.9
1 Classique 22.4 5 22.6 9.5
1P 526 22.5 4.4 19.6 7.8
1 1219 22.5 5.3 23.6 10
1P Pacena 22.8 4.9 21.3 9.1
1P Madem 23.3 3.8 16.4 6.6
1P Foley 23.4 4.9 21 9.4
2 1204 23.5 6.1 25.8 11
1P Sedalia 23.6 4.3 18.1 8
2 1201 24 6.1 25.3 11
1P Bethany AI 24.2 4.7 19.5 8.1
1P Eiffel 65 24.4 5.2 21.4 9.3
1 Cabotine 24.5 5.5 22.3 9.1
1P Nisswa 24.7 5.4 21.9 11
1P Amarige 24.9 5.4 21.6 9.8
2P New Glarus 25.2 4.6 18.2 8
2 Asahi 25.3 5.2 20.5 9.3
2P Snow Patrol 25.7 5.3 20.5 8.6
2P Bivina 25.9 5.3 20.5 9.2
2P Tecate 25.9 5.3 20.4 9.9
2P Tresor 25.9 5.3 20.6 9.5
2 Colby AI 25.9 6 23 12
2P Nivea AI 26 5.2 19.9 9
2P Roseau 26.3 5.2 19.8 9.6
2P Noche 26.4 5.3 19.9 9.3
2P 1234 26.7 5.8 21.8 10
2P Nina Sky AI 26.8 5.1 19 8.4
2P Rihanna AI 27 5.1 18.9 9.1
2P Norah Jones 27.2 4.7 17.1 7.7
1P Des'ree 27.3 5.4 19.7 9.1
2P Lydia 27.5 4.3 15.7 7.5
2P Neriah 27.7 4.7 17 7.3

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 :)