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 :)


Astrid, said...

That´s very interesting. Don´t the shetland ewes have problems with lambing when a BFL is the father of the lamb? They are so much bigger than the shetland sheep.
Kind regards from Germany

Somerhill said...

When you decide to buy a ram, be sure to seek out a breeder with the same management goals as yours or you may buy in more soft genetics.
As with other commercial breeds, show flocks are often managed and selected for differently than production flocks.
Please us that you sold these poor doing sheep into the slaughter chain and not as breeding stock.

Garrett808 said...

Hello Astrid!

BFLs have narrow shoulders and long narrow faces, and Shetlands for their size, have overly large pelvic birthing canals which makes this cross (or even crosses with Texel and Suffolk normal) a totally stress free ordeal. The lambs from my BFL x Shetlands are around 7 or 8 pounds and the Shetland ewes (average between 75 and 85 pounds for me) have no problem carrying those lambs and giving birth to them.

Lisa- yes they went to the auction barn for slaughter. I couldn't imagine selling them to someone else to have to deal with such a nightmare as I had.

Astrid, said...

Dear Garrett,

thank you very much for explaining. For the moment my shetland ewes are pregnant from a shetland ram. I don´t have BFL, but Wensleydale. But these breed don´t have narrow shoulders, even the pure bred Wensleydale have problems with birth. So that´s maybe no good idea.
For a few months now I´m looking for a BFL ram for some other ewes here.

It´s not easy to get one in Germany, I will have to buy in the Netherlands or UK.

Kind regards

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 ...