Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Times

Today is a good day to be me. Not because anything special happened today, but just because I feel happy. Well happier than normal.

I love my UK Shetland friends! I've made so many new friends by emailing, calling and post mail to various folk on the Shetland Isles, Scotland, England and Wales. I thank them all for their time on the phone and taking time to email and send articles and history to me.

Its no lie that I love SSS and SFBT Shetlands and where better to learn and educate oneself than by the folk who have had them their whole lives, or at least longer than I have?

I've counted yearlings and mature ewes. I have 47. I'm planning on breeding 25 to pure (maybe 20) but I can't get down to that number so easily. I'm also excited about things in the works in the UK for me personally but more on that when it is official.

Its almost August and although its been cool and VERY RAINY this summer, it is indeed feeling like fall. The Oats is yellow and ready to be harvested. The lambs are looking amazing and my breeding goals are all up in the air right now.

I want to use CIDRs on the ewes this year. NOT to get early lambs, but to time them in groups so they are in a smaller window of lambing. 9 weeks is just too long to do barn checks every night many times. By the end I was just saying 'good luck girls' at midnight and went out at 6am to usually find some new lambs.

CIDRs would be helpful as then all the lambs would be born prior to my yearly trip for the Cardigan Welsh Corgi Nationals. This next April it is in Houston, TX. I haven't been to Texas in 18 years! It will be fun to see the city! I can't wait to go revisit the downtown and take a ride on one of the little boats that takes you through the downtown district!

I have two ways I could go this fall for breeding groups. First route is using three polled Shetland rams and Burma and/or a second natural colored ram. The second route is using Pogo, Arapaho and Jazz all heavily again, have them sent off for collection (for semen collection domestically) and use Burma/other BFL colored ram for Mules.

Thus far i have 19 Shetlands ready for the BFLs. I just am having a hard time doing that. I know its only for a year. I know that i can use the girls again in purebred the following year. I think a lot will have to decide on the direction that NASSA decides to take. If they continue to get back to their routes, follow their own by-laws, and support those breeders who are breeding towards the standard, or if they decide to let everyone breed what they will. I've already decided I cannot live with the latter decision. It is after all a breed association. its not a group of friends who all have commercial sheep.

My mentor is getting out of Shetlands. She has long believed in this breed but has been failed by NASSA in her quest for the best she can breed. While I understand her reason for letting go it saddens me greatly and I find it not nearly as exciting to not be able to share our day to day trials and tribulations with each other, sharing lambing excitement or disappointment, or just being there as an ear or shoulder. Whichever is needed.

I'm happy today because I celebrate the joy in owning Shetlands. Thank you Cynthia for taking a chance on me and giving me great guidance in my quest for knowledge on this breed. Thanks to everyone else who has helped mold me into what i am today. :)

Wine and sheep scratching. Can there be anything better??!!


Michelle said...

Uh, Garrett, I thinking you're remembering San Antonio, not Houston. But maybe you could make a side trip?

A question: why do you think Barish is a half-poll and where do you think the poll gene comes from? I can't find anywhere that Timothy is a half-poll, and I didn't think Mary Ellen had any polled genetics.

I may go look at a ewe of Jim Chastain's that threw a scurred ram lamb this year. Would be nice to add that poll-carrier ewe I've been trying to find!

Angela Rountree said...

Garrett, I don't know Cynthia as well as you, but I am also saddened by her departure from Shetland breeding.
On a happier note, I am so excited you plan to use CIDRs this fall. I am also considering using them for similar reasons- to shorten lambing season. I find when one has off-farm responsibilities it is hard to give the ewes as much attention as they deserve.
Good luck!!

Laura said...

You could get a ram turned into a teaser (vasectomysed.) I have one and it really makes a big difference. If you do pick a ram with a nice fleece, and a nice temperament. A Shetland would probably be a better teaser than a BFL as they are more active breeders (at least than my BFL was.)

PS Jazz looks a lot like my Jericho ram, Campbell's, yearling son!

Spinners End said...

Wine, sheep scratching and CHEESE!


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 ...