Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sheep in.....winter??

The first couple photos show our 1-2 inches of snow we have. It was 36 degrees today. Our average high is 15 for this day historically. Last week we had night time temps of -46 windchill and -29 normal temp.  That's nearly a 65 degree swing in temps. And yet the animals take it all in stride!

Below is part of the ewe flock.

Below is ShelteringPines NIrvana on the left (horned gray katmoget) 5 year old ewe, and her 2 year old daughter WhitePine Nivea (F1 Jericho daughter). I love how families still stick together after years.
 Here we see a 4 year old BFL ewe with a 2 year old white ewe in front of her and the moorit in front is FirthofFifth Ashegon. She is the dam of the WSWF 2011 Grand Champion ram. She's a dainty ewe at 64# and has only singled but her lambs are impressive.
 The shaela in front is WhitePine Skor (2007 model) with a few other girls around her. the gullie is BlackForest Tersk, the gray katmoget bleset is an F1 Jericho and the white behind Skor is one the foundation ewes RYL Rachildas. She'll be 10 this year :)
This photo shows a now yearling Shetland mule from the UnderTheSon flock. The mioget smirslet sokket behind her is a Shetland ewe from Stephen's flock (ShelteringPines Cabotine) and the gray katmoget is ShelteringPines Nessebar (i think)).

Here is one of the NCC x Shetland ewes also from UnderTheSon farm. She will be 3 I believe this spring.

Another Shetland-Cheviot from UTS Farm.
And of course the bossy WhitePine Sedalia below. She starts bashing my knee if I stop scratching her and try to pet one of the other 12 girls that want some attention. I usually give in.....I value my knee cap ;)

Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 Goals

I've been spending too much time in the barn these past few weeks. We have no snow, temperatures are finally normal (below zero for a high) for this time of year and I sit out with the girls in my full Carhart bibs and jacket and my BOGS insulated knee high boots.

I've concluded several MUST DO's for this 2012 year. Some things are a gradual improvement from year to year and will never be complete (like breeding the perfect 1927 standard Shetland). Things I am NEED to do this year are the following:

*Continue fencing with permanent fence. There is a 25 acre pasture that I would like to fence in to paddocks. either 3 or 5 acre paddocks. If I can afford to do the perimeter fence with permanent fencing the inside would be doable with the electro-net from Premier 1 Supplies.

*Said pasture would need to be reseeded/frost seeded/inter-seeded, one paddock at a time (or two).

These above two projects would be quite time consuming and expensive, but on top of my priority list.

*I've been invited over to the UK for a trip to the Shetland Islands and/or the National SSS show in Melton. I haven't decided if I can afford to go there for either but this is high on my wish list. If I would go, there would be many ram inspections done in hopes of finding a few rams to collect and have their semen send back to the US for a much needed new dose of blood.There are several on the 'short list' already but need/want to see them in person, although I trust their breeders' knowledge way better than my own :)

*I wish to continue to market my wool, meat and breeding stock in every manner possible. I need to have more wool processed in to roving and quilt batts as that seems to be the majority of my sales so far.

*There are several things I really would like:

Gulmoget horned ram with fine fleece and stellar conformation

Solid moorit horned ram with fine fleece and stellar conformation

Texel ram for terminal lamb production for my Mules.

Thus far I have been very blessed and fortunate to have outlets for many of my breeding stock, meat and wool, but with 100+ Shetlands, there is always wool to be sold. I'm lucky the local Spinning Guild supports and LOVES my 1927 standard Shetland Wool.

We shall see what 2012 brings. I'm quite eager to see if my breeding groups were wise ones. I'm excited but am more confident that I will know what to expect from my breedings. I can always be proven wrong, but over the years I've been honing in on who to breed to who and fortunately its in the right direction :)

My list seems shorter this year than years prior, but I feel that I'm really making progress towards what I want to do. If i can get this new 25 acres fenced in for sheep, I would be able to grow my Mule flock upwards of 100 ewes for terminal lambs and that would be incredible!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

BFL update

For anyone on the BFL groups or following my blog you will know that i liquidated most of my BFLs last summer after having several years of terrible lambing, awful moms, open ewes, worm issues (although no Shetlands had any worm issues) and such things. I kept two ewes back that through it all were fantastic moms, needed way less worming than the rest, stayed in good condition year round and were much easier keepers than the rest. I also had a ewe lamb that caught my eye and made sure to hang on to her. After much thoughtful decisions, scenarios and such I decided to again try for a BFL ram. An adult this time and one that I could put over the BFL ewes as well as about 20 Shetland ewes for Mules.


There really isn't a better cross. They have a very sought after wool clip, are easy to feed on grass hay and pasture, are worm resilient like their Shetland dams and if I play my cards right, will have a large flock of them in a few years.

I hope to slowly build my adult purebred BFL flock as well, but this time.....surely and slowly. With ewes that can adapt or be born in my environment and survive and do well. Be good mothers, milky, twin or triplet, maintain condition throughout the year, have a good wool clip, but stick to the standard weight of 2-4" and have that lovely drape to their purled locks.


They are extremely tolerant of me, are very inquisitive, calm and easy to halter train. I do miss having a big group of them, but this winter I left the three girls in with the Shetlands and the Shetland Mules and they are still maintaining good condition with no supplemental feeding as in years past. I am extremely please with these girls.

I have quite a few straws of BFL that I have no idea when I will use now. I had originally planned to do LAI in fall of 2011 with all 14 of my BFL ewes but after a second terrible lambing, I scratched that idea after selling most of them off. Let's hope that in the near future I can have the ability to use the straws that I am still excited to use :)

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 ...