Monday, May 31, 2010

Thoughts on Sales

I have always been amazed at how people can KNOW that a minute old lamb or a 2 month old lamb is available for sale and that it will be a good representative of the breed to assure its registration and breeding value. Perhaps they've had decades of lambings, and know what their lines will produce. Perhaps they are just breeding for spots and anything that isn't spotted is immediately available. Or perhaps if its a ram lamb, out of a ewe that they wanted a ewe lamb out of, they will offer the ram up for sale.

I've raised cattle my entire life. I've done the planned breedings for our dairy and then beef cattle since I was old enough to look at pictures and read. We always kept all of our females for potential replacements and would evaluate them at weaning (270 days) and again as long yearlings. Many of those girls would be retained, some, would end up going to the market with the steers we over wintered.

Bulls were never kept on our farm no matter how good. They were either too related to our cows, or were an improvement on their dams, but not as good as other bulls that we could purchase semen from. In the 25+ years that I can remember raising cattle, I believe I've kept only 6 bulls to use for breeding, and all of them were only kept for one breeding season. Were they terrible? No. Were they exceptional? No. I always felt better going 'out' to better bulls with better EPDs and higher percentage of reliability.

Jump forward to the sheep. My first lambing season I had four ewes and four rams. I think. :) I kept everything to do evaluations on. I was learning. A lot. I think I asked hundreds of questions that were always happily answered by those I sought out. I butchered all those rams and have sold all of those ewes except one (and she's available now).

In every year after that I have retained more rams and ewes to evaluate. Last year I kept 14 ewes and 13 rams to evaluate. I'm waiting (still) on their micron results from this spring to see what that TOOL says about their fleeces. I already know how they FEEL. I know how the lock strcuture LOOKS. I've watched them on pasture this past month blossom into maturing animals. Their faces have gotten longer and a bit wider (but still typey standard heads). I've watched as they've become a bit deeper in body, more spring of rib, (no longer slab sided) and most interestingly, they seem to have 'bodied up' (its a dog show term) a tremendous amount and the rams look like rams and not some juvenile thing, and the ewes look just like their moms, only a tad shorter in height and shorter in body (length). That will come next year.

Do I know it all yet? HA HA HA. Um no. I never will.

But for the very first time tonight when I was out watching the girls bed down in their small paddock next to the barn (a storm is coming and they know it!) I was surprised by my thinking as I was looking at some phenomenal lambs (I may be a bit biased) and looked at them as said " yep you could go". WOW. Did I just say that??! They are LAMBS! At most they are 8 weeks old. I am floored. After watching for four or five generations now I have a better idea of how they'll turn out. Their fleeces now and structure are indicative of their lines (both paternal and/or maternal) and I am REALLY surprised at the lambs I pointed at and said "I think Michelle or Juliann would like this girl". She's got big depressions in her head :) And she's out of my favorite ewe and my favorite F1 ram from last year :) (Sedalia and Levi)

This year was also a first for me in the lambing jug. never before have I seen lambs born and knew that any gray katmoget rams were most likely for sale, either for breeding if they turned out, or for slaughter if they didn't. I had no issues telling myself, the lambs, or their mothers this epiphany :)

I have photos. I just have a computer who's memory is full. I also have a 950 GB external hard drive that I thought could save all of my photos, videos and music, but for some reason it needs a software program to run it and it is a STUPID program that I cannot use and its impossible to get the photos back ON to the computer. Talk about frustrating.

So until I get this fixed, you'll just have to believe me. Or better yet come visit me :)

Two weeks until Black Sheep Gathering...I can't wait!
Garrett

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Hard to argue now

For those who like to have facts that are actually backed up with references that are quoted and later used in bibliography style points, I urge you to go to the NASSA Education blog. They have done an amazing amount of work and time and emotion in this newest post. Its extremely long, well organized and is backed up with document after document after document with their findings.

Its hard to argue now with all of this evidence of what Shetlands always were and what they are now. Those that like to say 'its a fact' but never back it up, well, I guess its time you find your documents and articles and PROVE what you are saying isn't just hearsay. And not just the book, but the page and sentence >:)

I'm always up for a lively debate. Word of mouth no longer cuts it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Thoughts on lambs

I am just tickled with this year's lamb crop!

I moved the sheep to another spring pasture....since we were SO dry, and cold, that the grass wasn't growing and it still can't keep up with their needs. Three of their paddocks are already exhausted, and they need rest, and not sure how much rest I'll be able to give them. *sigh*

Anyway, as I was out moving the fences and watching the lambs, I was amazed at my Texel sired lambs! They are just fantastic. I want to get more mules to breed to champ. I am sold on the Texel as a producer, and I can't wait to taste them this fall and see if they stand up to their fame of being so tender! mmmmmmm!

Breaking down the colors:

FOUR white ewe lambs

4 gray kat rams, 10 gray kat ewes (most are spotted)

2 fawn kat rams, 1 fawn kat/moget ewe (all head spotting)

8 moorit rams, 7 moorit ewes (most of these lambs are modified)

3 black rams, 3 black ewes

1 moorit gulmoget ram

1 black gulmoget ram, 2 black gulmoget ewes

1 musket ewe

gosh most lambs ARE spotted. at least smirslet or krunet on the heads. That's fine with me!

Most of the lambs I'm really tickled with. And since i had such a ram year last year, it will be nice to hold over so many ewe lambs to see how they mature in their first fleece. So much to learn yet, but every day is so much fun :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

2010 lamb stats

Being a man of numbers here is the partial run down on lambs:
76 lambs born this year!

BFL lambs born: 17

AI lambs: 3 (triplets) 2 ewes and a ram

Ground bred lambs: 14 (all twins) 8 rams and 6 ewes

Texel sired lambs: 5

1 ram and 4 ewes

Mule lambs: 7 (three ewes taht were exposed to BFL had SHETLAND lambs...I'm still trying to come to terms with this...fence line breedings!

4 rams and 3 ewes

Shetland lambs: 47

AI lambs: 22
rams 10, ewes 12

ground bred lambs: 25
rams 9, ewes 16

I'll have to figure out colors later and ewes that lambed...i'm a bit busy....lol

2009 micron tests for rams for sale

Barish's test was as a 2 year old, taken spring time, mid side, last rib.

AFD22.4, SD 5.9, CV 26.4, CEM 12.2, CF 89.1

Uphaz's test was as a 6 month old fall sample, taken mid side, last rib

AFD 22.4, SD 5.7, CV 25.7, CEM 10.8, CF 90%

Caiphas' test was as a 6 month old, fall sample, taken mid-side, last rib

AFD 21.7, SD 5.2, CV 24.2, CEM 10.9, CF 93.4%

Veni's test was as a 6 month old, fall sample, taken mid-side, last rib

AFD 20.7, SD 4.8, CV 23.1, CEM 10.1, CF 95.3%

Christian's (black ram in photos) test was also 6 month, same as the rest

AFD 22.2, CV 4.9, CV 22, CEM 8..8, CF 95.2

All rams I'm waiting on the spring micron results for, taken in the same manner. However I'd like to move these guys spoken for in the next few weeks if possible so I can pay the vet back for their services.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Photos of rams for sale (F1's and F2's)

Below is WhitePine Ephraim. He is sale pending.
Another shot of Ephraim and his lovely horns on the left. WhitePine Uphaz who is on the right is still available. Notice his shorter horns, could be a poll carrier as Minder was his sire.
WhitePine Caiphas, F1 Holly F3 Minder. Nice large and wide set horns. Beautiful dark katmoget markings.
Caiphas standing (sorry its blurry)
Ephraim and Uphaz are in the middle of this photo.
The black ram is F3 Jericho/F3 Orion and was one of my nicest histograms last fall. He is out of Arapaho and Centennial. He is 6 weeks younger than the other boys so a bit smaller than the rest but he will grow up nicely. The gray katmoget on the far right is ShelteringPines Vini Vedi Veci who is a Blues x V Creek Guinevere son. Veni is an F2 Jericho x F3 or F4 Greyling (i'd have to check). Below is a better shot of the black ram's horns. Veni's horns are not fatal, and are tipping out. Uphaz is the musket sokket smirslet in the back. nice solid body. The black carries moorit, with no spotting or modified (for those working for whole, solid colors).

Saturday, May 8, 2010

F1 rams for sale

I have several yearling F1 rams available immediately due to Oliver's back going out (read Vet Bills)

WhitePine Caiphas. Gray Katmoget. Greenholme Holly x Justalit'l Chloe. 65.5% UK. Ultra Fine fleece (21.7 AFD), crimpy 3" fleece. AbAa, BBBb, SSS?. Gorgeous wide sweeping horns. I just can't keep all these gray katmogets!

WhitePine Ephraim. Mioget. Heights Orion x FirthofFifth Evidence of Autumn. 62% UK. Was used extensively both here and at Cynthia's FirthofFifth Acres in Wisconsin. Modified, and I also got several lambs with krunet/smirslet markings on their heads. AaAa, BbBb, SSSs. Fleece staple very crimpy 3-4".

WhitePine Uphaz. Musket Smirslet Sokket (white tail also). Shirehill Minder x Underhill Ulla. 69% UK. Not uses last fall. Horns are growing atypical but not fatal. AgAa, BbBb, SsSs. Fleece length 4-5"

FirthofFifth Barish, F1 Campaign Timothy three year old proven ram. 53% UK, BBBB, AbAa, SSSs. Poll carrier. Polite, respectful, fertile, fleece staple 4-5 inches, very crimpy.

Can be delivered to BSG in Eugene OR or can meet half way between here and your place.

My flock is OPP, CL, BT and Johne's tested annually. Micron tests annually. Heavy culling. I wouldn't sell, what I myself wouldn't breed from.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Home

I've been home since midnight Monday. However I've been preoccupied with Oliver so have not had the desire or time to post about the last lambs I had while I was away (some stunners I tell you) or about my trip to visit Juliann, Kathy or Theresa!

I promise soon.

Shetland Breeding Groups

Every year the long anticipated breeding groups always seem to catch me by surprise. Had it not been for my severely sprained ankle, I prob...