Monday, July 26, 2010

A trip to Jim Chastain's farm

While out at BSG I had the pleasure of officially meeting Jim Chastain. For those of you unaware, Jim is a past NASSA president and Board member. Jim has been to the Shetland Islands 14 times so far and has a great network of people he has met while on his trips. To date Jim has brought over semen from four white rams and two colored ones (Drum Jings, Ridland Ram, Island Skeld, Kier Gordon for whites and Drum Ram (black) and Brent (moorit)).

After talking most of Friday and Saturday with Jim, ever chance I could get (I asked a TON of questions in regards to the Shetland Island sheep), he invited me up on Sunday to see his flock. I did a quick change of plans and arrived just after lunch time to see his sheep. His wonderful wife Brandy and him had already caught up the entire flock of ewes and they were waiting for my hands on personal inspection. THEIR ENTIRE EWE FLOCK! I was IN heaven. How many opportunities do you have to go through each ewes fleece and body score??

These first two photos show the girls waiting in the squeeze area. What a great looking bunch of girls! Time to get my hands on them!

Below are the 8 ewes that I liked the best. There were two jet black, non fading yearlings that he would not let me even look at (he liked them that much) but these were all available to sell. MY PICK! After another round of evaluations, I ended up bringing home a white ewe, the shaela ewe in front of the rest and a fawn/mioget ewe. All yearlings.

This is the shaela ewe in the chute. She was one of my first that I put my hands on, and remained one of my top contenders all the way through to the end. Both her and mioget/fawn ewe are F2 Orion F3 Drum Ram and are actually 81.25% UK
Jim and Brandy no longer show their sheep. Nor do they advertise them. It seems most in the Northwest (and this is my opinion after seeing those sheep) prefer to 'breed for what they like' rather than what the Standard and the Shetland Isles are breeding for. Unfortunately for the Chastain's, this means lower sales each year. However.

Looking at these lambs I was just amazed as how solid they were! They would not sell any katmogets, and the kats sure look different than what i am used to seeing here, but they are katmoget nonetheless.


The black and katmoget lambs are out of Jim's Black F1 Orion/F2 Drum Ram pictured below. He is also the sire of my two colored ewes.
The black rams are both F1 Orion/F2 Drum Ram. The ram hiding in the back is the sire of my two colored ewes. The three white rams with big horns are all F1 Skeld, and the white ram with the smaller horns is the F1 Ridland ram. The white ewe I brought home is a daughter of his. I'm the only other person in the US with that blood line. Pretty cool huh?

The Chastain's were an amazing couple. Friendly, welcoming, full of knowledge that I soaked up like a sponge. They were so generous in their offering of MY PICK of their entire ewe flock, that I'll be forever grateful for that. So thank you Jim and Brandy! You have given me some great new sheep!

8 comments:

Michelle said...

I do know of a few others who have "shopped" at Chastains'; in fact, I got an email from one who saw a short-scurred ram lamb there she thought I might be interested in. Perhaps I should call and see if that ram lamb's dam is for sale!

Potosi Sheep Farm said...

What an opportunity Garrett! That is a great looking flock. Choosing must have taken hours. Hope I'll get to see them at your place.

susan said...

I always wanted to see a fleece sample from one of his rams from the skeld line to compate the lock structure to the other UK lines.

There was an article somewere recently that showed pictures of how they graded shetland wool at the Jamison wool mill. Of the finner wool there were two different crimp styles that were both fine wool.

On some of my skeld line I have seen were the crimp is not so curved as my holly lines, but still seemed to be soft. Before microning I would think the more curved was finner, because there were more crimps per inch, but now I am thinking that they both were fine, just it didn't have as many cimps per inch.

What is the lock structure like on your new girls?

-Susan

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

How perfectly wonderful to be able to visit and purchase from that flock.

Laura said...

Great pictures! I'm so glad you shared them. Jim's sheep look similar to Rena Douglas'es flock (her farm prefix is Drum.)

Does he have any AG muskets or greys? What about spots or gulmogets?

I'm glad things worked out for you in regards to the farm!

Garrett808 said...

Hi Laura.

Rena and Jim are very good friends. Drum Ram and Drum Jings came from Rena as you know and Jim imported them

He had no spots and no gulmogets.

The kats came out of a white ram and a black ewe. he wants to keep the kats until he gets enough in numbers.

He did micron test his rams and was very pleased (23-25 AFD) on his rams.

Garrett808 said...

OH! I forgot. Only one gray ewe. It was their most favorite color, but least favorite fleece. Go figure :)

Franna said...

I'm so glad you were able to go see the Chastain flock. I was blown away by the whole "Shetland" look to the group - just like the photos from Shetland. ...I might have to make another trip down there once we get moved. :-)

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