Thursday, December 22, 2011

Year in Review 2011

It seems hard to believe we are nearly at the end of 2011. I sometimes still catch myself thinking its 2010.

Many things have happened this year, mostly good, some not so good. My grandpa always says "there are better days ahead".

The farm as a whole is increasingly getting back to its diverse livestock species that it once had before. We added about 25 more laying hens to add to the bug and frog and mouse patrol. The free ranging girls sometimes surprise me with nests in the most bizarre places (i.e. in a hole in the lawn that used to be a rabbit nest, under the porch steps, atop the round hay bale stacks, in dog houses out behind the house, etc etc). The flavor and color of the eggs is incredible! I've found a small market for my all natural, free range, free of antibiotics or hormone eggs. I truly do appreciate their egg production and their ability to eat most any insect or small creature they can find. They also keep me entertained with their antics and social rankings.

I added three gilts and a boar, all from farms that believe in pasture raised, natural feed, just like our farm used to do. Our first litters should be sometime in the spring. I'm eager for the homegrown pork again and I know my family and friends are too! If you'd be interested in some pork please do contact me. with all of the trips I go on it would be easy enough to bring along!

The sheep are ever amazing me with their ability to forage on grasses and forbs the cattle would overlook. Their condition going in to the breeding season was pretty amazing, and the quality of wool looks as promising as ever. The sheep this year paid for many things and I was able to sell more purebred registered sheep than ever before! The word is slowly getting out that the Shetland can do it all: raise twins with ease, grow a soft, fine fleece, be used for crossbreeding with no ill effects, continue to flourish on a grass fed/rotationally grazed system with little input from the shepherd. if I can continue to progress with the sales of these sheep and utilize local feedstuffs as well as neighbors pastures i will be able to NOT work off the farm at in 3 years. If I want to, will be another question. I love the solitude but I AM a social person. Those that have met me, will understand!

In cattle news, our Simmental cows were bred again to a neighbors Red Angus bull. The premium on our calves at the local auction barn were over 2.20/cwt on average(!!), more than I have ever witnessed in my lifetime at a local auction. Privately, grass fed beef is worth its weight in gold. I hope to get in to that niche market in the upcoming season. The Simmental x Angus or Simmental x Red Angus crosses are a hot commodity and I look forward to utilizing my UK genetics that I imported in 2009 again in 2012. It is difficult to breed seed stock that is of UK bloodlines when no one else here in the US seems to be on that trend (which is a shame). Its also hard knowing that the crosses bring so much money in our local market and we don't have to feed or overwinter any calves. Makes chores in the winter much easier.

I have had a stellar year with the dogs in the show ring and with the one litter I had in April. I was really pleased with the pups from Daisy's litter and kept back a boy and a girl from it to grow up and see how they do. The boy already has both majors in his two attempts for a major :) I also finished two Champion titles from the Bred by classes and looks as though I will have both of them with their Grand Champions in the next show or two. I'm so fortunate to have had the agreement of many judges with the virtues of my dogs.

I've looked back at my goals for 2011, which can be found HERE. I have done most of this with few exceptions. I'll be thinking more over the next week about what I wish to try and attain for 2012 and beyond. When I decide I'll be sure to let you all know :)

I'm fortunate enough to be surrounded by a huge network of friends, mentors, fellow farmers, breeders and buyers. This is why I love farming and will always do it. So thank you all for making my 2011 such a great year and I can't wait to see what 2012 has in store for us all! Thank you to those who believe in what I do and have purchased meats, wool, pelts and breeding stock from me. I truly appreciate your business and truly appreciate YOU.

Merry Christmas my friends and have a Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Micron Results for 2011

My fleece samples sat in my pickup in the box, ready to be shipped for testing most of the summer. Since the micron testing was 200.00 or so for all the samples (100+ sent in) I never seemed to have the extra cash to do it. So i finally just made it a priority. None of the results were surprising except for one. The micron testing has helped me learn a ton about each sheep's fleece and in learning the feel/texture and reasons things test at the levels that they do.

I pastured my sheep on 50% alfalfa, and the rest of the mixture was red clover, white clover, timothy, blue grass, fescue, brome and orchard grasses. I have to graze the alfalfa when it is 2/3 bloom, so it is a more stemmy than I like but the sheep have adapted well to this in the heat of the summer. spring/fall pastures are mostly fescue/blue grass and red/white clovers. Everyone is in good condition.

I'm going to list the rams first. The rams were pastured in their own system of 4 paddocks this year and I am extremely pleased with the results. Aside from the 2 polled rams below, all rams have fleeces at least 4" long already (about 9 months of fleece growth). The two polled rams have a fleece around 3". It is extremely dense and crimpy and when stretched is around 4.5". I love the variety my fleeces give me :)

For those not in the know my goals:
AFD: Average Fiber Diameter My flock goal is somewhere between 20 and 25.
SD: Standard Deviation. I want this as close to 5 or below.
CV: Coefficient of Variation. My flock goal is around 20 give or take.
CEM: Coarse Edge Mean. My goal is under 10. The lower the better. this gives it the silky handle and makes the fiber feel finer than it is sometimes. (i.e. 30 afd ewe with a CEM of 7 will feel like a low 20s AFD)
CF: Comfort Factor. This should be as close to 100% for any sheep. Adults over 80% is a goal for me (and i'm close!)
SF: Spin Fineness. What the fiber feels like as its being spun up through the hand. Your SF should always be lower than your AFD for Shetlands.

I have a page on my website (http://www.ramsay-farms.com/understandingmicrons.htm) that explains this in more detail.

Wintertime Jazz AI (Todhill Jericho x Whistlesop 0424 Izzy) gray katmoget - fourth fleece
AFD: 24.9, SD: 5.1, CV 20.3, CEM 9.4, CF 86%, SF 24.1. Amazing numbers for a four year old.

FirthofFifth Nekomis (Wintertime Blues x Bramble Nadine) gray katmoget - third fleece
AFD: 27.5, SD 5.2, CV 19.1, CEM 8.9, CF 75.1, SF 26.3. he had the silkiest fleece with lots of luster and soft handle. This fleece was third overall in the Shetland Fleece Show at WSWF under UK judges Kate Sharp and Alan Hill.

WhitePine Levi (Willowcroft Jamie x RiverOaks Lucy) black polled ram 2nd fleece:
AFD: 23.6, SD 5, CV 21.4, CEM 9.7, CF 89.9, SF 23

WhitePine Ludacris (Greenholme Holly x RiverOaks Lucy) moorit bielset polled ram first fleece:
AFD: 23.8, SD 4.9, CV 20.6, CEM 9, CF 90.6%, SF 23.1

WhitePine Flo Rida (Greenholme Holly x ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis) gray katmoget horned, first fleece: AFD 23.8, SD 4.9, CV 20.6, CEM 9, CF 90.6%, SF 23.1 Flo Rida will be used in 2012

WhitePine Christian (UnderTheSon Arapaho x WhitePine Centennial) black horned 2nd fleece:
AFD: 22.5, SD 5.4, CV 24, CEM 10.4, CF 92.1, SF 22.5 He is available for sale

FirthofFifth Kiso (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Kamachariy, a Forrest daughter) first fleece
AFD: 25.5, SD: 4.6, CV 18.1, CEM 7.9, CF 86.9, CF 24.2. He is a scurred fawn katmoget and is available for sale.

WhitePine Caiphas (who now lives in Maryland) (Greenholme Holly x Justalit'l Chloe) gray katmoget 2nd fleece AFD:23.8, SD 6, CV 25.3, CEM 12.4, CF 83.7, SF 24.1

WhitePine Roman (who now lives in Maryland) (Heights Orion x RYL Rachildas) white ram 2nd fleece
AFD: 23.4, SD 4.4, CV 19, CEM 7.9, CF 94.4, SF 22.4. He is am amazingly fleeced ram Amazing numbers.
 
WhitePine City High (Heatheram Lightning x FirthofFifth Koosi AI) gray katmoget (could be modified) first fleece AFD: 22.5, SD 4.5, 19.9, CEM 7.9, CF 96.1, SF 21.7 City High will be used heavily in 2012.

WhitePine Barnabas (Heights Orion x FirthofFifth Booto) - fawn katmoget horned 2nd fleece:
AFD 18.4, SD 3.9, CV 21.2, CEM 8, SF 100%, SF 18

I've not had a 2 year old every micron at 18 afd before!! I"m totally shocked. He has everything in his fleece that I am after and I am not disappointed with any of these numbers from any rams. I sold Roman and Caiphas who I really liked but used both of them two years. Christian is available now that I've used him for breeding and Kiso is available as I have much of his genetics in the ram and ewe flocks.

I have several ram lambs available still from these above rams as well. Please inquire! :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Breeding Groups: Polled boys WhitePine Ludacris AI and WhitePine Levi AI

My two handsome smooth polled rams got several ewes each this year. While I am not specifically breeding for polled there is a large demand for polled stock. I have found about 12 ewes that are polled or have a good chance of producing polled offspring. Some of them I had to put with a horned ram in hopes of ewe lambs or horned ram lambs. There are not a ton of fine fleece breeders breeding for horns anymore and we can't have all of our fine fleeced stock only polled. Since polled is a dominant trait, in theory an entire flock could be homozygous polled in two generations. While I'm OK with polled breeding stock, I don't want it to take over my flock, so as I find ewes that throw polled ram lambs, I'll keep doing what I'm doing and keep both!

WhitePine Levi AI (Willowcroft Jamie x River Oaks Lucy) is a black krunet ram (warm black or shetland black I guess) with an extremely crimpy, lustrous, silky and dense fleece. He placed in the ribbons this year at WSWF under Kate and Alan and has produced lovely lambs for me the last two years.

He only got four ewes this fall:
RiverOaks Ginger - Moorit - is a yearling I bought from Becky U. this summer. She's not my biggest ewe, but I believe she is homozygous polled. I'm hoping for lovely moorit and black polled lambs.

FirthofFifth Kamachariy - fawn katmoget (Wintertime Black Forrest x FirthofFifth Koosi AI) is an F2 Jericho with some Dillon thrown in. She'a bit leggier than I like, but she produced a very correct and very fine fleeced ewe lamb that is now living with Kelly Bartels at OK Acres. I'm hoping to repeat the same results this next year and keep this one :)

Owl Hill Miss Lilly AI - black ewe (Greenholme Holly x Owl Hill Rose AI (Orion)) is a bit leggier as well, has produced moorit in the past and very crimpy, dense and fine handle. Anything should be nice out of this breeding

WhitePine Bethany AI - moorit ewe (Heights Orion x Justalit'l Black Lambo) is a lovely ewe but again seems a big leggy. has a fine fleece with very typey head and tail. She has produced lovely lambs for me both years so far so am excited to see what she produces with Levi.


Then we have WhitePine Ludacris Ai (Greenholme Holly x River Oaks Lucy). As you can tell Levi and Ludacris are half brothers from unrelated sires. Ludacris had a complete white necklace around him at birth and tiny flecks of white across his poll and forehead. I can only see them now when he is shorn. He has a very dense, crimpy and silky fleece. Kate and Alan's favorite of the group of rams. he only got 3 ewes though. All very worthy girls I might add!

FirthofFifth Rahu - white illget (Wintertime Black Forrest x RYL Rachildas). I believe she is homozygous black but I hope to find out with this breeding. She is very silky and crimpy but her micron dictates otherwise. Thank goodness I don't use only the microns but use them as a tool! After four years of lambs she gave me a polled ram out of Nekomis this year and so she goes to the polled ram groups this fall. she is a real producer and i'm lucky to have her.

WhietPine Norah Jones - gray katmoget (WhitePine Levi AI x WhitePine Neriah) she is a stunner of a yearling and its a linebreeding but one I'm very excited about. I like everything about this ewe so look forward to their lambs.

RiverOaks Freya - black gulmoget from Becky U.'s flock. She could be homozygous black, but she does not have any side dusting. She is also constantly bleating at me for I have no idea why. She even yells at me with her mouth full eating hay, or even when trying to drink water. She must not like it here, but maybe after she lambs here it will be better!?! She has a very lovely crimpy and dense fleece and could also be homozygous polled.

I think that is it for my purebred groups. I won't bore you with the crossbred groups but I have put a ton of my Shetland ewes over the BFL ram and the Finn ram in hopes of faster growing lambs for market (and for more Mules from the BFL for me to retain). I'm trying to grow my crossbred flock so the fastest way to do that was to use 20 Shetlands this fall on the BFL and Finn. I'll keep you posted as to how that goes!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Breeding Groups: WhitePine Barnabas AI

Last year I used Barnabas on a select group of girls. I was so impressed with his get, that I had to use him again. Even though I'm awash in katmogets, I needed to use him. Kate and Alan were impressed with him as well and told me to use him heavily.

Barnabas is F1 Orion F2 Timothy and has a pinch of greyling WAAAAAY back there. He's Scrapie 171 QR, microned mid side at AFD 22.3, SD 5.3 and CF of 94%. He carries solid and has thrown modified lambs. I'm on the fence about his horns as he produced scurred ram lambs so his horns may be aberrant, but I'm still not decided on them.

All these ewes have nice fleeces so if they become slightly finer I'm all for it. I'm looking for the ewes to improve on his slight 'in at the knees' and solidify their other strong traits, as well as his virtues. its all about fine tuning. And my lambs every year seem to be better. fingers crossed.

WhitePine Terah - black ewe (UnderTheSon Arapaho x Black Forest Tilly) is a jet black ewe with loads of breed type. Her AFD is 24.7, SD 5.2 but I would like to see more organized crimp. Barnabas should improve on that. If they produced rich dark moorits I'd be happy too.

WhitePine Ciara - white ewe (WhitePine Roman AI x WhitePine Castle Rock) is Orion/Jericho blended. She's a nice ewe with a lot to offer, density, crimp, breed type, silkiness etc. I'm just excited about some nice lambs.

WhitePine Centennial - gray katmoget (Wintertime Jazz AI x Justalit'l Chloe). I've found the Orion lines blend well with Jericho in my experiences, so I'm hoping for nice things here. They both carry solid so solid lambs would be gravy.

WhitePine Blu Cantrell - gray katmoget smirslet (Todhill Jericho x Justalit'l Black Lambo) This pairing could be dynamite and the chance of double katmogets too but if they are nice who cares!

OwlHill Pranilla - gray ewe (Enfield Greyling x OwlHill Rose AI). She is greyling/orion and I think the linebreeding on orion could be special. More grays or muskets would be ok too.

FirthofFifth Ashegon - moorit (Wintertime Blues x FirthofFifth Ashanti) the mother to the Grand Champion ram as WSWF this year (Avyt). She's a smaller ewe but produced dynamite last year when bred to Barnabas (they gave me a moorit ewe lamb). I"m hoping to repeat it again.

Black Forest Tersk - moorit gulmoget (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Towanda) carries spots but I'm really just wanting a few more moorit gullies with a finer lock structure.

ShelteringPines Tresor - (Wintertime Fudge x ShelteringPines Debonaire) black ewe. Any of Stephen's stock is phenomenal conformationally and I'm just lucky to have her :). Tresor goes back to lambo and I can see it in her face.

ShelteringPines Cabotine - mioget smirslet sokket (Wintertime Fudge x ShelteringPines Ceylon). I'm pumped to see if Barnabas carries spots, and hope for some modfied lambs here. Anything again will be good from this pairing.

WhitePine Rihanna - white mirkface (Willowcroft Jamie x FirthofFifth Rahu). My only F1 Jamie ewe, she IS white, but she carries that gorgeous dark moorit fleece of Jamie's. I'm excited to see what she produces. She is a brick house, and my pick ewe lamb from 2010.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Breeding Groups: WhitePine Christian

In my third group I'm blogging about there is a huge desire for black and moorit lambs that are NOT modified and are NOT going to sun bleach on the tips. I put my best fleeced ewes with Christian as he has near perfect conformation, carries moorit, should NOT carry spots and has nice spiraling horns. Everything I wanted in the first two groups (spots, modified, etc) are NOT being wanted in this group. Yep. I want it all. I want every color, every pattern, with fine fleece, polled or horns, and great conformation on a Shetland with primitive (unimproved) characteristics like, hardy, good mothering etc.

Christian has a 5"+ fleece, nice black color, and very typey Shetland characteristics. His last fleece test was AFD 23.0, SD 5.4, CEM of 9.6 and CF of 92%. He is out of UnderTheSon Arapaho and WhitePine Centennial (Jazz x Chloe). He carries dark moorit which i hope I can get.

WhitePine Rush: white ewe (FirthofFifth Aman AI x RYL Rachildas) needs a bit straighter rear with more breed type (her ears are a bit pointy and stand more upright than I like.) Her fleece is ok but could be finer. I'm being extremely hard on the ewes. I'm my worst critic.

WhitePine Lydia: gray katmoget smirslet (Wintertime Jazz x Winter Sky Layla). Lydia is a double F2 (Jericho/Orion) and is my best ewe in terms of fleece (AFD 24.4, SD 3.9, CV 15.8, CEM 6.7 and SF of 22.8. I'm just expecting the best from this mating.

OwlHill Butter: musket (OwlHill Xavier AI x OwlHill Rose AI) Greyling/Orion genetics and her lambs have really impressed me. She's a bit leggier and longer than I personally favor, but excited to see what I get. An Ag gray ewe lamb would be ok with this pairing but anything would be nice!

FirthofFifth Koosi: gray katmoget (Todhill Jericho x Justalit'l Chloe) is a homozygous katmoget with lower stature (i find this true of the entire Jericho line). She is an average sized ewe (74 pounds) and has a fine fleece, but I would wish for a longer staple length from this mating.

FirthofFifth Blottir: gray katmoget (Wintertime Black Forrest x Minwawe Boppitty) is a very fine fleeced ewe. She is longer on leg like many of the Forrest offspring and a slightly longish tail. I'm looking to lengthen her staple length and pray for moorit lambs (both she and Christian carry moorit)!

WhitePine Neriah: gray katmoget smirslet (Wintertime Blues x ShelteringPines Nirvana) is fine fleeced ewe with 5-6" crimpy staple length. AFD 23.3 SD 5.5 with a CEM of 9.8. Looking now I'm not sure what i was hoping to improve on her with Christian, except perhaps to see if she is double katmoget or double black. At any rate her lambs will be great I am thinking.

ShelteringPines Amarige: fawn katmoget (Wintertime Fudge x Lil'Country Possum) is a nice addition to this group. Size, fineness of fleece with proper tip, I have loved her mother Possum since I met her years ago at Stephen's farm. I'm anxious to see if this breeding happens or if she is bred to Stephen's ram.

Breeding Groups: Crosswinds Apollo

Crosswinds Apollo is a moorit flecket ram lamb out of FirthofFifth Avyt and Crosswinds Mountain Laurel. he is most likely modified and I fell in love with him at birth. I pretty much tried stealing him every chance I could get and when Jefferson came around I was tickled that the option of me REALLY taking him back with me was happening!. I had to pinch myself.The photos below are from a few months back at his place of birth. I need to get updated photos.



Apollo got 8 ewes. Apollo is most likely modified and most of his girls are modified or spotted, so this group should give me great lambs. Apollo is a Forrest grandson and his grandmother is Ashegon, who I have, so he's related to some of the sheep here but am excited nontheless!

WhitePine Skor (FirthofFifth Telmo don Bourbon x FifthofFifth Assam Meleng)- shaela ewe. Could carry spots. She does carry moorit. She is the only lamb left from my first year of lambing. I love her color want more of it. I'm hoping to add more crimp and more consistent from front to back.

Wintersky Layla AI (Heights Orion x Underhill Loretta Lynne)- mioget horned ewe. Could carry spots. I'm hoping for something modified with fine fleece.

WhitePine Sedalia -(Wintertime Jazz AI x Minwawe Sterling) smirslet sokket gray katmoget. One of my favorites. Curious to see if she carries moorit. Fleece and spots will be abundant I'm assuming from this breeding.

WhitePine Eiffel 65 (Wintertime Jazz x Sommarang Emerald) smirslet sokket flecket gray katmoget. Her fleece, conformation and type are just awesome. I just want spotted babies (and to see if she carries moorit)

WhitePine Nina Sky (Todhill Jericho x ShelteringPines Nirvana) bleset sokket gray katmoget who carries moorit. She is a gorgeous ewe who is easy on the eyes. She produced magic when bred to Caiphas (F1 Holly) this past year (remember she jumped the fence to be with him for a JUNE lamb?!) These lambs should not disappoint.

WhitePine Naomi (Wintertime Blues AI x ShelteringPines Nirvana) fawn katmoget smirslet, quite related to Nina Sky above but totally different 'look' to her...shorter in leg, wider, deeper bodied and her fleece is a more bold crimp. She produced wonderfully when bred to Barnabas (Orion) this year so eager to see what Apollo can do to her.

FirthofFifth Basotho (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Blottir) gray katmoget yearling who grew amazingly well this year. she could be modified (its hard to tell on a lot of the kats) but for sure carries modified and moorit. Gorgeous ewe with lots of breed character and typical Shetland fleece.

FirthofFifth Anki (Wintertime Black Forrest x FirthofFifth Ashanti) smirslet black gulmoget. I wanted some moorit gulmogets please! More organized crimp would be a bonus too. And spots. Hey I'm not picky.

This group excites me, just as Cadillac's did. I don't expect any bad surprises out of either of these groups and the hard work of honing in on what I like and what I see in the UK is happening here. I can't wait to show you photos of the lambs from these matings.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Breeding Groups: Ok Acres Cadillac

The groups have been in since October 16th. The last few days has seen a flurry of flirty ewes and rams that pace the fence lines to other pens with girls in season. I have quite a few pens again after swearing I wouldn't breed this many this fall but after Kate Sharp and Alan Hill's visit after the Jefferson show, I was pretty eager to breed more :)

I ended up getting two spotted moorit ram lambs at Jefferson. They both have a mixed bag of ewes. I was having a hard time finding a moorit ram, and a spotted ram, and this year I found two very deserving ones that Kate and Alan really liked.

Ok Acres Cadillac (ShelteringPines Bug x Sheltering Pines Ceylon) got 10 ewes.

WhitePine Salome (Wintertime Jazz x ShelteringPines Snow Cloud) is a black yuglet sokket flecket horned ewe. I of course was hoping for spotted lambs (and to see if Salome carried moorit) and more definintion of crimp as Salome has unorganized crimp. She microned around 25 AFD and SD of 5.5

WhitePine Nivea (Todhill Jericho x ShelteringPines Nirvana) is a gray katmoget smirslet. She could be bred to any of my rams and give me awesome lambs (i would hope) but again put her here to see if she produces spots and moorit. Kate loved this ewe every time she saw her.

WhitePine Faith (Wintertime Jazz x Minwawe Flopsy) is a krunet, sokket gray katmoget ewe with a white tail. I'm expecting spots and fine, crimpy fleece from this pairing.

BlackForest Tilly (Wintertime Black Forrest x FirthofFifth Twiling) is a black gulmoget who carries moorit. I'm not sure if she carries spots, but we'll find out! She oozes breed type but lacks the lock structure I'm after so she is here in hopes of getting that Shetland character.

FirthofFifth Sukhada (Wintertime Black Forrest x FirthofFifth Soleit) is also a black gulmoget without side dusting or very visible eye flashes. She carries moorit and solid, but again checking for spots and a longer staple length in this pairing.

FirthofFifth Ashanti (Wintertime Black Forrest x Yuletide Angel) is  moorit smirslet. This pairing better give me moorit spotted lambs! haha. Ashanti is a great ewe with lots of descendants in this flock from her. Anything she gives me should be great.

BlackForest Andalusian (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Anki) is an emsket (whole color, modified black, not Ag) with length, tippiness and gorgeous steele blue coloring, but not enough crimp definition. I'm hoping for modified lambs out of this mating with more crimp. maybe spots too.

WhitePine Festus (Wintertime Jazz x ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis) black krunet ewe. I would like more lock character here as well (my blacks seem to have more disorganized crimp than my other colors). She has nice fleece length, tippy fleece, breed type, and would like to see if she carries moorit and will throw some spots.

BlackForest Tokhara (WhitePine Ephraim AI x FirthofFifth Towanda). Tokhara is a lovely fawn/light moorit color who carries spots. I'm in need of more moorit based ewes so am excited about what they can produce together.

ShelteringPines Mademoiselle (Wintertime Fudge x Underhill Amethyst) is a fawn katmoget who carries spots and has the most amazing fleece. This is a win:win pairing. Then again all of these matings should be hopefully fantastic!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Meet the Rams Part 4: WhitePine Christian

Christian is a ram I wintered over the first year as I was impressed with his conformation and fleece type at birth. His biggest fault is that although his tail is properly fluke shaped (by lifting his tail and seeing the proper shape) it appears to be a bit wooly (not enough hair at the tip). But it is fluke shaped. He also is on the smaller side, but his mother is a small ewe and I'm not holding that against him.

Christian is out of UnderTheSon Arapaho (F2 Orion) x WhitePine Centennial (F2 Jericho F3 Minder). he carries moorit.

Christian is a mellow boy who has 7 girls with him this fall (6 katmogets and a musket) as I'm hoping to get some solid lambs out of them. they are all proven Ab/Aa.

Perfectly Square
Shoulder
Mid-Side, last rib
Just above the britch

Christian will be available after Thanksgiving this year. He has nice length to his fleece and crimp from front to back. Of course there is britch, he wouldn't be Shetland if he didn't have it :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Meet the Rams Part 3: WhitePine Barnabas AI

Barnabas is an F1 Orion, F2 Timothy with a splash of Lightning behind him. When he was born I wasn't impressed with his birth coat, but his fleece has not disappointed since then! In using him for breeding last year I believe his horns are abherent. They are not symmetrical, nor are they very 'heavy'. While I do like the round horns I don't think are true 'round' horns either. Maybe i'm way off.
He's pushing in to me a little bit in the below photo, but he is pretty square, but not perfect. very typey tail.
Shoulder
Mid-Side, last rib.
Right above the britch

I'll be using him on about 10 ewes this fall and then he will be available for sale. Please inquire.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Meet the Rams Part 2: WhitePine Levi AI

When this lamb was born he took my breath away. I never in my wildest dreams thought he would be POLLED! But, being one for diversity, I have fully embraced it and have a small flock of proven polled ewes that were bred to him last fall. This fall he'll get only 3 of my own, but he is not going anywhere any time soon.

Levi was born with a krunet, and although bred to a few spotty ewes did not produce any spots this spring. We will see about that this next spring.
Levi is Aa/Aa, BB/Bb, Ss/Ss, MM/M? He appears to be warm black or "shetland black". He is 67.5% UK. Sire is Willowcroft Jamie. Dam is River Oaks Lucy.
Levi's shoulder fleece parted below.
mid side, last rib.
Just above the britch
Levi is one of the very last F1 Jamie rams in North America. I plan to use him heavily in 2012. If you would like to lease a few ewes of mine to put to Levi, he would be your best friend :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Meet the Rams Part 1: Wintertime Jazz

How can I start with any other ram?

Jazz was not my first ram, but the ram that has done the most for my flock and its continual improvement. I've used Jazz for four years and this year he sadly gets to sit out of breeding. I plan to use him next fall on some of my lambs from this year. I have many of his daughters and grand daughters to use this year instead.
This picture says it all...

Jazz is At/Aa, BB/BB, Ss/Ss, MM/MM. Jazz is 87.5% UK, and very mellow, respectful guy who keeps the peace between all the other rams and still is the #1 boy on the hierarchy of rams.
Shoulder area fleece.
Not too bad for a 4th fleece, mid side.
Not perfectly standing but he is very square.
If you are interested in leasing a few ewes to breed to the Jazz Man, he would be much obliged :)







Sunday, October 9, 2011

New Scale and Chute System

Photos will be forthcoming :)

I am now able to run the sheep through the chute system myself wihout assistance. The chute is home made, but it works pretty slick! The scale is so helpful because 'eye balling' a sheep for its weight can't be done effectively and correctly all the time.

The average weight of my mature ewes (2 years and older) was 82.4 pounds. The Shetland Sheep description states ewes can be up to 99 pounds in the south of England where grain and grass is plentiful. Since my sheep are grass fed and not fed grain, having two ewes at 95 and 96.5 pounds was surprising to me. I did have some ewes around the 60-65 pounds as well, so I guess I have the whole spectrum of size in my flock. Another time I can use the term 'diversity' :)

Lambs were weighed and I was pleased to see my Mules and terminal lambs weighed 55-70 pounds. I have some orders from friends for grass fed lamb and I ate quite a bit myself this year so will hold back everything for myself and friends' orders.

I am putting my breeding groups together when I return from my Michigan trip. I guess it looks as though I"ll have 9 breeding groups again this fall. Three are for crosses:  A BFL ram to my three BFLs and 20 Shetlands. A Finn ram to 10 Shetlands and some of my Mules, and my Leicester Longwool to my LL ewe and a few of my Mules.

I'll be using 6 Shetland rams: Crosswind Apollo (spotted modified moorit) will get 10-12 ewes, OK Acres Cadillac (spotted modified moorit) will get 10-12 ewes, White Pine Barnabas (modified moorit katmoget) will get 6-8 ewes, WhitePine Chrisitan will get 4-6 ewes, WhitePine Levi will get 6-8 and WhitePine Ludacris will get 6-8.

Well as of today. We all know we change our mind at the last minute :)

74 Shetland ewes will be bred this fall, 11 Mules, 3 BFLs and a LL. I'm holding back 12 ewe lambs and not breeding 8 yearlings that I think are too small. We shall see if this holds true the day i put groups together :)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Sheltering Pines Fleur de Lis

I was able to buy this ewe from Stephen as a yearling. She was a favorite of mine when she was a lamb and I jumped at the opportunity to purchase her from him when she became available. She has produced me three quality lambs in three years (always has singled) and all have had minimal spotting. Next year I hope to breed her to one of the spotted moorit rams I got this fall to see if I can get some wildly spotted lambs from her.

Her mid-side parted fleece:

Fleur is a smirslet gray katmoget. I love the fact that she doesn't have any white on her tail or legs so it makes her face even more stand out.
When Kate Sharp and Alan Hill picked her out of my ewe flock of 50+ girls and they commented on how she stood out as a nice sized ewe, with loads of Shetland type and very typical of what you would see in the UK.

She has mostly Minder, Timothy and Jamie in her background, and has been bred to Greenholme Holly, and to Jazz (Todhill Jericho son) and she has crossed really well on all of those lines. She is four this year and has a long life of producing fantastic lambs ahead of her.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

katmoget vs. light badgerface

A great photo of side by side moorit based ewes. The ewe on the left is Alisa, from Oregon. She is 99.2% domestic, yet has a lot of crimp (disorganized) for a ewe that has barely any imported semen in her background. She is light badgerface and comes from Wally Rutledge's farm.  

The ewe on the right is from Michigan. Myra is a katmoget (also known as badger face in other breeds). She is also moorit based, but retained the dark belly wool. Alisa is NOT Ag (fading). She produced a solid lamb, and a light badger face lamb this spring.

I love the fact that they are both looking back at me, while Tylor is taking the photo. 

Also notice the difference in build, body depth, leg height, face etc. DIVERSE, yet both very much typical Shetland. I love my very diverse flock :)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ewes available for leasing

Last year I leased 18 ewes out to other people for purebred lamb breeding. Since my flock is in the Scrapie program as well as tested negative for OPP, Johne's, CL and BTv, I want to make sure that that stays that way. Since I have a plethora of ewes, and am not going to be breeding them all pure this year for myself, I was going to use them fro crossbreeding for mules or other crosses for market lambs. Last year every ewe except one that i offered for lease was leased out so only had one ewe bred for mules last year.

This works for people who want to utilize the sheep and bloodlines that I have, but I'm not quite willing to sell them yet :)

Below is a list of the ewes available for leasing for this fall. They can be bred to any of my rams for a $35 breeding fee, plus $130 for feeding/boarding them. More details are available privately.

Ewes:
ShelteringPines Nirvana - horned gray katmoget. I have five of her daughters and a ram.
Sommarang Eva - gray katmoget. lovely ewe, I have three of her daughters
RiverOaks Lucy - gray katmoget poll carrier, I have two of her sons.
FirthofFifth Booto - fawn katmoget , probable poll carrier. Very typey ewe.
ShelteringPines Myra - fawn katmoget - deep bodied ewe that really produces. I've kept back two of her rams and she is very breed typical
ShelteringPines Nessebar - gray kat smirslet - deep bodied ewe who had amazing lambs when bred to Nekomis last year. I wish all my ewes looked liked this
RYL Rachildas - white/Ag ewe. Carries spots. homozygous black. has improved under ever ram I"ve used her on.
Justalit'l Chloe - homozygous fawn katmoget. She is one of my foundation ewes. I've kept everything out of her
FirthofFifth Taika - longer fleeced with more tip, carries moorit and spots. Produced some lovely lambs
ShelteringPines Fleur de Lis - smirslet gray katmoget. Lovely ewe that produces well. I've retained all her lambs
RiverOaks Eliza - white ewe - carries moorit and spots. She had awesome lambs this year when she was leased out to someone else.
FirthofFifth Tamarack - moorit gulmoget. she had lovely lambs out of Jazz last year
WSR Alisa - moorit light badgerface from Oregon.
Whistlestop Yuma - fawn ewe from Jim Chastain's flock
Whitestop Zariah - shaela ewe from Jim's flock
Whistlestop Xena - white ewe from Jims. F2 Ridland, very rare new bloodline Jim brought in.


Any of these ewes can be bred to any of the rams listed on my Current Rams page of the blog. Please inquire!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

More Photos on WSWF

My new sign on Friday morning before the Ram/Ewe inspections and Judges Certification. My bestie friend Tylor made this sign design for me and I love how it turned out. I thought it looked nice against the morning sunrise as well.


The next two photos are of our highly esteemed judges from the UK, Kate Sharp from Scotland and Alan Hill from England. Both have had Shetlands for over 30 years, are both SSS Certified Judges and have judged shows on the Shetland Islands, as well as been SSS Committee members and Alan was the first Chairman of the SSS and is now the current Vice President. They have an amazing amount of knowledge and everyone was so receptive to their information and came away learning a lot and most were able to look at their flocks with a more critical eye. I can't wait for the DVD!

Below was WhitePine Caiphas. He was the ram that was used during the Ram Inspection talk. Kate and Alan have a great sense of humor and commented on my 'barely present' wool on poll (on me, not the sheep). Everyone got a good chuckle and I hope its not edited out because everyone should see them picking on me.
Four of my favorite people. From left to right Theresa, Lori, Juliann and Rich.. They made the weekend very special.
I also had a great first fleece show, taking a 3rd in the colored class with FirthofFifth Nekomis' fleece. The judges really loved me.
Also in the top 10 colored fleeces was WhitePine Lydia's fleece. Kate and Alan said that any of the 10 fleeces in the top would have won a show over there any given day they were all that good! So that was reassuring.
A photo of the ribbons I won. I earned two 3rd places, 3 fourth places and a 5 place. Kate and Alan also said that they would have awarded up to 10 places in most of the classes as there were so many quality animals in each class.
A shot of some of the fleeces on the hoof.
The ram pen.
The ewes.

 Overall the weekend was good. I didn't bring my very best sheep and when Kate and Alan saw my sheep at home they asked me why I didn't bring them to show under them. And i thought the ones I brought did OK. I guess that's a good thing they liked them eh?


Thursday, September 15, 2011

BEST SHOW EVER!!!

I arrived Thursday evening around dusk to unload sheep. Kelly Bartels and her husband Mike were there and offered to help unload and pen my sheep. These two people are two of the most amazing people ever!! Always there to lend a hand and always full of positive vibes. Such good people. I did set up my tent in the dark and did get to sleep at a decent time.

Friday morning came early and I won't go in to detail about the days happenings as Rich and Theresa did a great job on their blogs describing the day. But I did want to show you this photo of myself and WhitePine Caiphas AI. He was sold to a chap in Maryland and was along for the inspection. While you cannot see his fleece well in this photo, he did have what we call bolder crimp and what Kate and Alan referred to as a wavy crimp.  That totally baffled my mind as they described it as fine and wavy. Not to be confused with the 1927 Standard being wavy or 'fine waves'. He was fine, but not as fine as other rams I have. And again, both very finely crimped and fine waves are both acceptable and both are found in UK flocks. But both have the Shetland characteristics of their wool "memory, elasticity, density, crimp/wave". All things typical of a Shetland fleece.

As for our now traditional photo of Kelly, Briony and I in the bleachers we had to get a photo of us all waving at Corinne. We had to do it during the juniors class as we had entries in every other class (at least I did) and I wanted to thank Briony for all her help as well.
The rest of these are out of order and I'm to tired and busy to take the time to put them in order but wanted you to see me in 'action'.
Below is WhitePine Nesse's Monster Mash (or M&M). He was pulled for the final lineup and I can't even remember if he placed or not LOL. my bad. He's now in a fantastic home in Iowa.
Below amongst friends is myself with WhitePine Skor, a 4 year old shaela ewe (solid color, not black/white fibers blended). She did quite well considering never being haltered before this year ;)
Another photo of Skor and I. My back was a wee bit sore from squatting, bending over, kneeling etc all day :).
The MSSBA potluck! At one point I counted 46 people at the set up. It was fantastic! Thanks to Briony and Matt for setting up! ALL of the lamb brats I brought were gone and the lamb sausage Michelle brought was all gone as well! All the food was fantastic and everyone enjoyed themselves fully.
Below is the ram lamb class again with M&M and the white ram lamb of mine that Briony showed. He is now in a fantastic home in Colorado and am so happy he went there :)
This was the first class...the senior rams. I have the black polled ram WhitePine Levi who was 5th in the class of 12 or so and behind me is Wintertime Jazz being shown by Briony. Both boys walked well having not been haltered before this year :)

Finally we have Sunday morning with Kate and Alan's talk on the Shetland Sheep, the Shetland Sheep Society and proper 1927 Standard Shetlands. This was taped by audio and will be part of the DVD from the Friday/Saturday inspections/judges certification and MSSBA Show.


Oh I also was 3rd in the colored fleeces at the fleece show with FirthofFifth Nekomis' fleece and in the top 10 with the other fleece I entered, WhitePine Lydia, who is out of Jazz and WinterSky Layla. A great start to my first fleece show!

After the show and seminars we headed back to my farm (Kate and Alan along with me). We spent two days going over my sheep, inspecting the rams, ewes, ram lambs and ewe lambs, and seeing the sites around here. I have never met such educated, selfless people who are more than happy to answer any questions we may have, educate us on what THEY know, inform us about the SSS, and help us with breeding direction etc. I am forever indebted to them for their time, patience, assistance, support and friendship. Words cannot express how I feel about this past weekend. Thank goodness we have the DVD coming out of the weekend for those of us who could NOT be there to still learn and be educated as well.

A few things I wanted to say:
1. Kate and Alan clarified many sticky spots in regards to the 1927 Standard, Appendix A (clarification of the 1927 Standard), what a Shetland fleece should look and feel like as well as length and crimp.

2. I"m more determined than ever to continue on this path of being a good steward of the Shetland Sheep and the 1927 Standard.

3. I'm eager to see what my breeding groups produce with the help of Kate and Alan's suggestions.

4. I realize now that I am on the right track for breeding 1927 standard Shetland Sheep and that really nothing else matters. I am breeding for what those in the SSS and the SFBT are breeding for and that is all that I care about. To have Kate and Alan say many of  my sheep, or sheep from the show in general they would take home in a heartbeat meant a lot. And every time we drove my flock along the road they would say "look Alan (or Kate) that looks just like our flock at home!". You can't get better than that.

I'm not sure how we'll top this year:

One of the largest entries of Shetlands in North America ANYWHERE, EVER!

The largest for a UK judge in North America ever! Kate and Alan said they have never had a ewe lamb class of 37 ewe lambs...ever...anywhere in the UK or on the Shetland Islands.

The wealth of knowledge that was ingested by us Americans, and how everyone was SO receptive to all that was talked about.

The amount of laughter, jokes, hugs and congratulations passed by all those who were entered or ringside was amazing. What a great group of people! I believe this was the most fun ever for a show and I hope those of you who were on the fence about  coming this year will for sure plan to come the next time we have a UK judge.


Yes I did ok in the ribbons, but it wasn't about the ribbons. Those animals that won, won because they deserved it. They were amazing sheep and i'm proud to have been considered for any placementst. There were a lot of Shetlands of quality there and I look forward to next year.

Sale sheep - updated 5/24/17

With a potential move (again) I am decreasing my flock numbers. These are the sheep I have available as of this time. There may be a few mor...