Friday, November 19, 2010

Ewe lambs I am overwintering for evaluation

Grab some coffee or tea.....this is a long post!

For those that forgot, I did a second round of AI in the fall of 2009. I was much happier with the amount of ewe lambs I got and therefore have more to retain over the winter. I'm pretty blown away by this years' consistency overall for the lambs both from AI and ground breedings. Tails, feet and legs and overall structure and breed type are getting more 'set in stone' as much as they can for such a diverse breed.

Since I am striving for the SSS approved Shetlands that adhere to both the 1927 Standard and Appendix A, these ewe lambs I am quite hopeful would pass inspection both in structure and fleece, as well as breed type and their respective micron results. They are almost all consistent from front to rear with little britch wool.

Since I still don't have a camera I'll just have to describe the lambs :)

AI ewe lambs:

WhitePine Shakira - 62.5 % UK - fawn F1 Orion out of WhitePine Skor (shaela). She will have a longer staple length of 5-6" at shearing with some nice crimp coming in at the skin level.

WhitePine Auburn - 59% UK - moorit krunet F1 Orion out of FirthofFifth Ashanti. A very refined and feminine ewe lamb who is a lovely dark red at the skin level. Very consistent fleece with the typically perfect fluke shaped tail and breed type of the SSS type Shetlands.

WhitePine Adele - 59% UK - fawn F1 Orion out of FirthofFifth Ashanti. (twin to ewe lamb above). She is identical to her sister except in color.

WhitePine Rihanna - 65.5% UK - white mirkface F1 Jamie out of FirthofFifth Rahu. She is built like a brick house! Appropriate width of loin, perfectly straight hind quarters with the epitome of a perfect tail (IMHO!). Her fleece is a bit of a more bold crimp typical of the Bramble Connor lines and her build is very much a Bramble look, with of course much help coming from Jamie's perfect conformation. She's one of my bigger girls and I'm looking forward to putting her in with a clean up ram in a few weeks (call me crazy now and later please!). She was my last Jamie straw so she is very special to me!

WhitePine Cascada - 65.5% UK - Fawn Moget Face (Ag katmoget) F1 Minder out of Justalit'l Chloe. My only Minder ewe lamb! Her birth coat was not exciting, but she is getting a lovely crimp at the skin level. She had body spotting at birth.

WhitePine Blu Cantrell - 62.5% UK Gray katmoget smirslet F1 Jericho out of Justalit'l Black Lambo. Her fleece will be a longer 5-6" at shearing. She is a big girl out of a 9 year old ewe. She's very tame and I love her dark blue fleece.

WhitePine Aaliyah - 76.5% UK Gray Katmoget smirslet F1 Jericho out of FirthofFifth Ashegon. Aaliyah is very typical of the UK katmogets with the dark katmoget markings, the dark blue fleece and she carries moorit! AND has a huge black spot on her rear. She's very feminine and dainty like her mother was at this same age.

WhitePine Nivea - 68%UK Gray kagmoget bleset sokket F1 Jericho out of ShelteringPines Nirvana. I didn't try for spots but this ewe lamb sure got my attention as a lamb! Not only her spots but her fleece, her conformation (her dam is also spot on for this) and her breed type!

WhitePine Nina Sky - 68%UK gray katmoget F1 Jericho out of Nirvana too (twin to Nivea). She is identical to her sister minus the spots. She has a smirslet on her face but it has since faded away as she has aged. Both have lovely bright eyes that draw you in when you see them.

WhitePine Colby Caliagh - 79.5% UK - black F1 Timothy out of WhitePine Centennial. Cute as a button, breed type, perfect ear set and tail with less crimp which I've found is typical of the Timothy line. With her dam's pedigree she should throw some dynamite lambs herself.

Ground Bred lambs:
WhitePine Eiffel 65 - 61% UK gray katmoget smirslet flecket sokket F2 Jericho out of Jazz and Sommarang Emerald. Spots and spots galore! She is a vast improvement on her mother and i'm tickled to see how this Jazz daughter matures.

WhitePine Ciara - 58% UK - white out of WhitePine Roman (F1 Orion) x WhitePine CastleRock (F2 Jericho). She is a knock out ewe lamb and am happy I have a white F2 Orion ewe with Jericho genetics. Her mom was highly improveable and I should have held on to her instead of selling her.

WhitePine Beyonce - fawn 62.5% UK - double F2 Orion (White Pine Ephraim x WhitePine Bethany). The best UK fleece ewe lamb I have seen yet. Gorgeous fawn color like her mother she is just as nice as her mother is and I'm excited to breed her to the Jamie line of moorits to tease out that lovely dark moorit color of his.

WhitePine Sarai - 53%UK gray katmoget F2 Jamie F3 Jericho (WhitePine Levi x WhitePine Sedalia). Gorgeous crimp, perfect conformation, possible poll carrier. I'm glad Michelle decided NOT to take her.....she's pretty awesome :)

WhitePine Norah Jones - 62%UK gray katmoget F2 Jamie F3 Jericho (WhitePine Levi x WhitePine Neriah). I'd say she is very much like Sarai but more refined. her katmoget fleece is nearly black at the skin when parted she is so dark! I'm in love with this girl too.

WhitePine Dido - 50% UK gray katmoget by WhitePine Levi out of Sommarang Eva. Gorgeous blue fleece that is really crimpy. Structurally correct and just as nice as her twin sister below.

WhitePine Des'ree - 50%UK black smislet twin to above ewe lamb. Non fading black with excellent structure and very crimpy fleece. I'm excited to see how these twins produce.

WhitePine Robyn - 67.5% UK white out of Jazz by WhitePine Rush (F2 Orion). A different kind of crimp, not as tightly crimped but from a wonderful pedigree. She may be sold to a newer family who bought her half sister and aunt (its confusing yes). If she doesn't go, she will make a great addition to my flock.

Black Forest Tokhara - fawn out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Towanda. She has a slightly longer staple with nice crimp at the skin. Lovely breed type and structure.

Black Forest Tersk - fawn gulmoget to Tokhara. Same kind of fleece and structure. I'm tickled to have a gullie of the moorit persuasion :)

Black Forest Andalusian - EMSKET smirslet out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Anki. Longer fleece staple with amazing conformation. I'm excited she's emsket!

Black Forest Azteca - Emsket out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Agio. Shorter fleece than her half sister but ever so nice. A bit more refined but has the lovely bluish color that I've been after in an emsket.

FirthofFifth Basotho - gray katmoget out of Ephraim and FirthofFifth Blottir. A nice big girl who again has a slightly longer fleece with lovely crimp at the skin. She is Forrest/Orion bloodline and is very unrelated to the katmogets of the Jericho line that I have so that is also a bonus.

Now I"ll be quizzing you in the next blog so please make sure you studied up :)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ram lambs that I am overwintering

After the three previous culls I have retained animals that I think will be well used in my future breeding goals. These rams are from mostly UK lines (rams that follow the SSS ram inspection protocol and the 1927 Breed Standard and Appendix A) and are diverse as the day is long (summer days mind you!). Horns, patterns, pedigree, staple length etc. With the yearlings and mature rams I have kept, I think I'm sitting pretty good right now :) Photos when I get a digital camera!

WhitePine Ludacris. 67% UK. Smooth Polled red moorit bielset (tiny strand of white fibers completely around his neck) Greenholme Holly x River Oaks Lucy (Holly and Dillon lines). He is a half brother to Levi and he is every bit as nice as Levi. I will be using him heavily in the 2011 breeding season.

WhitePine Click Five. 65.6%UK. Homozygous Fawn Katmoget. Had body spotting and smirslet at birth. Shirehill Minder x Justalit'l Chloe (Bartok daughter, so F2 Minder herself). I have no idea when I'll ever use a homozygous katmoget ram but by gosh is this ram impressive! I hated his birth fleece by he soon shed that for an extremely crimpy UK style fleece that just begs to be touched. Perfect horns, tail and conformation, I love everything about him except that he is Ab/Ab!

WhitePine Flo Rida. 72% UK. Gray Katmoget smirslet. Greenholme Holly x ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis. His conformation and lock structure are just simply amazing. They've been my favorite of the ram lambs since birth. He is Ab/Aa and could carries moorit. Unfortunately he is a gray katmoget. There is no other fault I can give him and that is really a weak one. I don't care about pattern. Too much :)

WhitePine Maxwell. 91% UK. mioget smirslet scurred ram. Heights Orion x OwlHill Miss Lilly (F1 Holly, F2 Orion etc). Gorgeous fleece, wonderful structure and a very respectful yet curious personality. He'll be wintered over in hopes of possibly using him in 2011. I love that he is modified, but also still wanting some nice red moorits in the flock too.

WhitePine City High. 83% UK. Gray Katmoget long scurs. Heatheram Lightning x FirthofFifth Koosi (F1 Jericho F3 Minder etc). Fleece is very uniform and dense, crimpy and butter soft. He is Ab/Aa and maybe carries moorit. His body structure is perfect in every instance. Lovely square back end, wide loin, perfect fluke shape tail, masculine face. His downfall is that he has long scurs that will need to be trimmed. These are not typical fatal horns, but since his mother has now proven she carries polled through her mother's side, I will keep them trimmed and see what his fleece results come back as. He is my only F1 Lightning and while I will not breed with bad horns, he does give a unique outcross for people breeding for polled.

WhitePine Morrison. 42%UK fawn. WhitePine Ephraim AI (F1 Orion) x ShelteringPines Myra (Starry Night x Morgan Le Fey). Moorison's greatest assest is his staple length. I hope that I can use him to continue to use my shorter stapled sheep but have a 'go to' ram that will 'correct' the ones that get a bit too short (under 2" according to the Appendix A). Perfect horns and conformation he is the only ram lamb I kept out of my ground breedings from 2010. That is saying something! He showed nicely at Jefferson this year and is a very calm soul.

FirthofFifth Kiso. Scurred Fawn Katmoget. WhitePine Eprhaim AI (F1 Orion) x FirthofFifth Kamachariy (Forrest x Koosi). Kiso was the chosen ram lamb from Cynthia's final year breeding Shetlands. He is inquisitive, calm, respectful, structurally on point, fleece is amazing and I hope to use him on some of my Levi kids next fall. He really is an amazing ram lamb.

Besides these 7 ram lambs, I am keeping
WhitePine Caiphas (horned gray kat F1 Holly)
WhitePine Christian (horned black ram F2 Orion F3 Jericho)
ShelteringPines Veni (horned gray kat F2 Jericho)
WhitePine Barnabas (horned mioget kat F1 Orion F2 Timothy)
WhitePine Roman (horned white F1 Orion)
WhitePine Levi (smooth polled F1 Jamie black krunet)
FirthofFifth Nekomis (horned gray kat F2 Jericho F3 Timothy)
Wintertime Jazz (horned spotted gray kat F1 Jericho F2 Drum Ram etc)

Sounds like a lot, but this way I won't need to buy another ram for awhile or do AI! :) Thank goodness for the new ram pastures!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Real Farming....

Today I took 25 sheep to the local auction. Prices were 96.00/cwt - 170.00/cwt so it was a mixed bag. Its not a typical place for sheep buyers so didn't think the prices were going to be as high as say some of the auction barns that sell sheep by the thousands every week. I was happy with the prices and even happier that I don't have to feed 2.5 bales more a day now!

In any real farm situation where money is ultimately whether we keep the farm or not..... I culled several ewes with mastitis that i shipped, ewes that were old, ewes that didn't have the fleece type I preferred, ewes that sheared terribly every year (due to thin skin, not the rise). I sold rams with bad horns, one had a bad bite, one had one nut, several were extremely cow hocked, etc.

For anyone who thinks I am only breeding for fine fleece can think again! Conformation and temperament, breed type and all the primitive traits that we all love are also top notch. But for every single virtue, there cannot be a major fault and so culling exists. Its part of life.

So do you think that by having all these things 'pop up' in my breeding program make me a bad shepherd? In the least! With 175+ lambs born this spring, I am bound to find things like these things. It happens. And by culling them out, I hope to not see them expressed any time soon :)

I've now made three rounds of culls. First the obvious culls went. Then the ones that I knew would never 'turn out' in to what I had hoped for went. Then the ones with one major fault that I just couldn't over look.

My flock is by far better off now after these three culls than I can ever remember. I will be wintering over 18 rams (three BFL and one Texel and the rest Shetlands). Most are F1s or certainly F2s. I will have around 100 ewes and ewe lambs wintered over. The highest yet, but also the highest quality. I'm quite excited to see what my commercial ewes and my purebred ewes produce.

I'm taking in 6 lambs to butcher for myself and Adam to feed us over the winter. 2 Texel cross (over Shetland Mules and Shetland-Cheviot ewes), 2 BFL purebred, and 2 Shetland purebred. I"m going to put a T, B or S on the packages so I know if the flavor really is so different between the breeds and will be able to better promote my meat to my friends and neighbors. I already have a waiting list for brats, leg of lamb, steaks and chops and lamb burger! COOL!

A few more days of work and I"ll be able to breathe and catch up. No snow yet!

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 ...