Monday, September 14, 2009

Jefferson - Saturday


BFLBA info board

Saturday morning EARLY we got up and headed back to the show. It was time to pick hay out of fleeces, wash faces and ears and give the 'once over' to make sure everyone was 'ready' for the show. Since I haven't been able to really halter train anyone, I was pretty nervous but true to BFL style, they were quite docile and quiet in the ring :)

I don't have the official results but I do believe that the CH white ram was a yearling of Lelli's, with ResCH going to a spring ram lamb of Carol Bators. CH white ewe was a yearling of Lelli's and reserve I'm not quite sure.

I do know that the judge really appreciated all of the lambs and I think there were 11 or 13 spring ewe lambs. He cut out 5 for his top line and my two girls placed 3rd and 5th. I was very happy with that! My yearling ewes placed highest at 4th place out of I think 7? I need to check.

The Natural Colored BFLs were next. John had never judged the NC BFLs before as he said they were kind of taboo and that most breeders didn't talk about them for fear people would find out they had them. I heard some wonderful history on them but unfortunately have been told not to share :) lol!

Champion NC ram was Lelli's and resCH NC ram I believe was also Lelli's. CH NC ewe was Lelli's and ResCH ewe was mine, which happened to be purchased from Lelli's :) My friend Briony is showing her below and being awarded the ribbon.

The overall quality was great John kept commenting and I can tell he enjoyed his judging as he was smiling from time to time and gave me (and perhaps others) compliments as he went about his work judging :)

During the "Finer points of the BFL" that John gave, I asked him what
his or their, priorities were for raising purebred BFLs. I was going to
post these to my blog, but since the discussion came up here, I'll add
what I learned. Hopefully Carol Bator and Heather Landin can also chime in?

1. Bite . They have a terrible time with bites over there. Especially
with the 'new' crossing variety with the brown spots. The mule producers
are asking for a more dramatic roman nose, which in turn, affects the
bite in the BFLs they are trying to get to have that type of nose. He
also said there that the brown spots were not a problem anymore, as they
were the current fad with the mule buyers, but that they are typically
used only for making more crosser type BFL rams.

2. feet and legs. He said a lot of times the animals will get too heavy
and that is from feeding but it is also very much from genetics. They
have to 'walk about' and need to have strong feed and legs and showed us
the proper angle that they should have.

3. thin skinned. (this doesn't mean peeling). He actually has no problem
with the animals that have thinner fleece on the points of the
shoulders, although he didn't want bare skin to crawl up the sides of
the animal from the belly area.

He showed me on my two ewe lambs after the demonstration (and i asked
him to come and tell me what he thought of my group of sheep), he said
their fleece was the most ideal for the UK. They wanted nice coverage,
but fleece that opened nicely to the skin. This helped keep the rain
from getting to the skin and getting the animals wet and then in turn
cold. I'll try to get photos of those girls again and lock samples for
anyone who is interested in seeing them.

An open, heavy fleece would not make it in the UK as they have around
65 inches of rain a year, and those animals would be completely soaked
from the rain as their fleece would be unable to deter the water from
soaking through. He also said other than that, the fleece was
unimportant to them as they had zero market for fleece in the UK and
usually gave a couple away to people who asked for them, and the rest
sent to the lamb pool.

I asked about the white spots in the ears and he said that that wasn't
an issue really either, and that that just showed that the animals had
some crossing in the background and it was just showing up as a
recessive trait down the road. He said he thought they would make great
crossing animals.

I did tell him that in the US the breed is thought of as a fleece breed,
even though in the UK they are known as THE crossing breed. He said if
we can sell the fleece as a second income then all the power to us.

I personally believe that we should breed our BFLs true to the UK
standard and if we really wanted heavier fleeces and more pounds that
the Border Leicester serves that purpose. In my very limited experience,
the more open fleeced BFLs that I have, have been coarser than what I
would consider a typey BFL of UK type. My denser fleeced BFLs also tend
to lack some breed type, with heavier ears, lower ear set, spotted ears,
fluffier fleeces, etc. John said those fleeces would not be proper in
the UK and they'd get soaking wet, cold and sick.

The people who have purchased my BFL fleeces loved the fine, tightly purled
fleeces and plus I"m a sucker for that typey BFL head and drapey fleeces...and can't imagine them otherwise.

I'd be happy to chat with anyone on the phone about any of this if it
seems confusing or not explained properly :)

I'm very proud of these yearling ewes :)

At the "meet and greet" that evening I had a wonderful time talking with John and Christine, Michelle Stuve (Clun Forests and Clun Mules..she also raises Cardigans Welsh Corgis) Shel, Carol, her friend Debbie, Brenda, Mark, and a host of other people who I was able to meet but couldn't remember names. The food was great and the talk was wonderful. I learned a lot about farming techniques in the UK, and was able to sit back and relax with a few beer :)

After the event was over, I found Leanne Richert and her husband in the building and told them I was bummed they didn't come to the meet and greet! We chatted about AI plans, our sheep, what the judge had talked about in his seminar and at the evening social hour, etc. Leanne is a great lady :) I'm happy to have met her! Another late night of talking and I finally got out of the barn and back to the hotel by like 10pm?


Becky Utecht said...

Congratulations on your ribbons Garrett! You really aren't letting that foot get you down. Good for you! Thanks for sharing all the details about the show and your discussions with the judge. :-)

Kara said...


For crossing, what is the difference between using a BL and a BFL? I am still not sure I know the difference and would it matter that much for meat crosses. Seems there are more BL than BFL near me. Thanks.

susan said...

That sounds interesting about the types of fleece. Could you take pictures of some of the fleece that he is talking about. Maybe a picture of the one that he said was poofy and the animal would get soaked and then an ideal picture of what the wool should look like?

I'v always thought that they were a pretty sheep.


Available sheep

With my work load continuing to pile up, and less time to spend with the sheep, I am offering the following: My entire flock of BlueFaced ...