I've moved the ground bred ewes to the pen connected to the lambing jugs. The open yearling ewes in with the AI bred ewes and there is PEACE in the ram pen. THANK YOU LORD JESUS!
With the frost not out, and a few inches of 'snow cone ice' instead of snow on the grass, and 3-4 inches of mud on the field roads (frost still isn't out), we have over land flooding like we did last March when we had a week of hard rain. While its not raining nearly as bad, it IS warmer...like in the 40s every day, and above freezing at night, its just crazy weather for MN.
Every paddock and pasture is flooded, or half flooded. In a normal rain, it would drain way or soak away naturally, however with the frost not out, and not in the foreseeable future, we will have several more weeks of this 'in between' crap. Good thing the barn is dry and full of clean straw!
I let the Guineas out as they were madly protesting their spring fever in the barn and they proceeded to look like ducks the past few days, playing and splashing in the rain and running through puddles and streams in the roads. Such characters.
I've made tweeks to my goals on the farm. Don't worry, nothing drastic, but some decisions that I feel are worth sharing.
Awhile ago, Theresa had mentioned that she was only going to keep ewes with soft fleece and within what she saw as her ideal micron, length, crimp etc. I totally agree. I talk a lot about fine vs coarse in my sheep. Some feel coarse to me, or coarser than others. When Jerry was here on Sunday, I had made mention of several ewes that I thought were more coarse and he thought they felt extremely soft and fine! I guess its all in perception. Words like "fine, crimpy, soft" are all very subjective. I didn't have him feel my softest ewe, but he thought the ones for sale were quite soft. I went through all my ewes again tonight and I can honestly say only ONE ewe FEELS coarse, and even the few ewes that I have that are over 30 AFD, they still FEEL soft, and have low CV and SD.
Since I've gathered quite the collection of sheep (both purchased and bred) I am really honing in on my preferred type of fleece (length, crimp, fineness, density etc). I truly believe after I sell the remaining ewes I have for sale, that I will be at that goal. Some of the ewes for sale are in the high 20's for AFD, but don't have the crimp I am looking for. Whatever the reason, the ewes I have retained so far as all winners in some respect.
In looking to the future I have 25 ewes that I would like to breed to purebred. Most of them are quite young and I have several rams I'd like to try them with to see just how far I can go in my goal for the ultimate Shetland (at least to me). Those ewes that I do not breed pure this year, will not be for sale, but will be bred to the BFL for Shetland Mules. Since those ewes are nothing to sneeze at, I may use them for pure in the future, or I may just keep them for mules. Is that wrong? No! I will still have the ewes, I will still have their fleeces and I will know what to expect from them as the years go by and they keep lambing beautifully for me.
I may occasionally have one or two ewes for sale, but I can make a more definite income on mule lambs or market lambs that I can on the wishy washy purebred market.
So in saying that, this is what I have for sale:
Minwawe Sea Breeze: moorit smirslet sokket. Shorter intermediate fleece. She feels coarse to me, but still is under 30 AFD. I guess I should say 'less fine' than the rest of my flock. She does not have any crimp. 65 pound ewe, great mother, lambed easily last year. Produced smirslet sokket katmoget ewe lamb last year with gorgeous crimp (she was bred to Jazz. so she is improvable)
Minwawe RedBud: Shaela, krunet. carries moorit. Throws wild spots. Long intermediate fleece. AFD of 22.8. Her fleece is already sold from this year. Her fleece is a gorgeous blue color. Great mom. 65 pound ewe, with shorter legs. She has a longer tail, but her lambs, when bred correctly, do not have that tail. She is also very improvable.
Minwawe Flopsy; moorit. proven mom and spot producer. She is 8 years old but still has several good years left in her. 80 pound ewe who's last year ram lamb was the most amazingly crimped lamb I had. Even better than my AI lambs (he was out of Jazz). I retained his twin sister who is a krunet sokket katmoget. super improvable.
WhitePine Columbine. Jet black Jazz daughter. She was a bottle baby. 65 pounds, long intermediate fleece. Her yearling AFD was 20.6. She is very soft, but does not have the crimp definition I'm looking for.
Justalit'l Chloe and RYL Rachildas are still available. They are 4" length, intermediate fleeces but super improvable. I think they deserve a chance in another purebred flock for sure. Those that are after UK style fleeces and improvements. Structure is spot on.
My next post will list the girls I have currently. If you see something you might like, let me know, but chances are I won't sell them......such a tease I know!