Monday, September 7, 2009

How do I decide my breeding groups??

Not a day goes by that I do not think about a potential breeding...whether that is a single breeding, a group or the whole flock.

After a few years of 'fine tuning' my program (did you catch the heavy pun?) I kind of have a 'system' of how to choose my breeding groups. Juliann got my butt in gear after her last post so I thought I would do it too :)

From the moment the lamb is born, my head is already spinning with ideas and goals and dreams for that said lamb. Sometimes I can't wait (OK all the time, I'm an impatient one) to figure out who would be the ultimate choice for a mate for that lamb their first breeding.

I usually do a weekly (not kidding) list of all the ewes and then all the rams that I think will be used for breeding. I write a ram name next to the ewe on the paper. Then I go back and check histograms and micron results, and then I go into the pastures to look at the fleece on the hoof, as well as structure. I then go back to the house and make a list of all things positive and negative on each animal, not wanting to double up with any fault on both animals.

I date all of the papers I use and then keep them in a 'file' on my desk. Without looking back at the old papers, I then the following week do it all over again! I'm a sucker for punishment! :)

Last night I went back over the past few months of papers. Surprisingly there were 11 ewes out of the entire group (34) that I had EVERY TIME with the same ram. As fate would have it. I'm going to breed those ewes, to those rams. Obviously I had something about those ewes that I wanted out of those rams!

Again I'm faced again with homozygous black rams Barish and Jazz. I've gone over all of my ewes and I have either all moorit based ewes or black ewes that carry moorit. I really and truly want to use the moorit based ram lambs that are F1s and I just might use a few selectively this fall, but again, want to use Jazz, Barish and Angus on my girls. Angus was a gift from Cynthia (Thanks again Cynthia!) and this is his one time shot with the girls, so I want to use him on more ewes than typical.

Poor Barish always gets the short end of the stick! He is now finer than Jazz is in AFD. He carries the modifier gene and the polled gene. The ewes I've placed with him in the past haven't always been the best fit. I'm searching my ewes for some choice pairings but can't commit any to him if I'm doing AI this fall. Time will tell with him too.

Such hard decisions for ME, but the sheep are happy either way :)

1 comment:

Juliann said...

Wow. And I thought I was anal.

;)

A breed I can't stay away from

its true I guess that I would be first known for the fine wooled Shetland Sheep that I have procured and traveled across the USA and UK to ...