Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Breeding Groups Part 1 and 2 and ewe lambs

Since early on in my sheep life, I have been drawn to the BlueFaced Leicesters. After seeing what some were doing here in the USA, to mimic the Three Tier System in the UK, the farm back in Minnesota was a perfect place for rotational grazing a mostly commercial mule flock and small purebred groups of BFL and Shetlands. Reality however is a bit different story.

I have now procured some ewes that are ridiculously easy keepers and gain well on just grass. I'm hoping for lambs that follow in their footsteps. The ram is from Ann and he carries color (as do several of the white ewes) so hoping for a variety to pick from to keep back next year! Ideally looking to keep 10 total ewes. Their fleece sells and I've had a waiting list for ram lambs for quite some time. Thank you again Lisa, Becky, Nancy and Stephen for the ewes!

From the BFL x Shetland cross, we call those Shetland Mules and at one point in Minnesota I had about 50 of those working girls in my flock and crossed them with Finn, Leicester Longwool and Texel with great results. Reality of farming like drought and inability to market them that far north, made me liquidate most of my incredible flock.  I had offered these three remaining ewes (all born 2012) this year but no bites, so I went and found a Romeldale/CVM ram again from Sandy back in Minnesota to put over them. Last year I had a CVM ram LAMB cover 40 ewes, including these mules and some pure Shetlands and they were incredibly growthy, their wool was incredible and they taste delicious!

Hoping for three sets of twins from this group so I can get some of my meat customers satisfied, as well as fill my own freezer again. Yes that is a ram lamb. Hes all of 140 pounds and bigger than my mature Mules who are around 120-130 pounds. There won't be 50 mules on the farm, but I"ll keep a few i think for market lamb production, until my hay field and pastures tell me I have to move some sheep out.

Lastly is a photo of my ewe lambs that I'll be overwintering here. I have a colored BFL ewe lamb from Lisa in Ohio, a few Leicester Longwools from Anne in Montana, and then the Shetland ewe lambs: 
Not named yet , but parentage below:

Sommarang Luca x UnderTheSon Viva - she should be At/Ab but doesn't really look it.
WhitePine Aith x WhitePine Snow Patrol - gray katmoget with blue fleece. very typey and great build.
WhitePine Loki x Lancien Clarice - white ewe lamb. very lustrous, dense and typey.
WhitePine Aith x ShelteringPines Bengal - black ewe lamb. built perfectly, typey, dense.
UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff x WhitePine Neap - Ag/Albf horned ewe lamb. my favorite lamb this year. dense, crimpy, silky, lustrous, put together perfectly.
UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff x WhitePine Lydia - gray katmoget. beautiful dark blue fleece and put together well. dense, crimpy, silky.
Whistlestop 1123 "Elite" x PS23 Josey - black light badgerface smirslet. she and her brother were both retained. gorgeous.
Sommarang Luca x WhitePine Nina Sky AI - black gul/kat ewe. put together near perfect. just wish for a more dense fleece. 
WhitePine Loki x WhitePine Noss - white ewe. aside from her pigment lacking around her eyes and nose she's my ideal white sheep. 
UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff x ShelteringPines Anais - Ag/Ab musket katmoget. extremely crimpy, refined and dense, hoping her hocks get stronger as she grows.
UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff x WhitePine Des'ree - gray ewe lamb. She's pretty perfect. hard to fault her.
UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff x PS23 Jessica - moorit ewe lamb. Typey, dense, silky, put together well.

that's 12 hopefuls to be integrated in to the flock next year. That means 12 adults will need to leave next year if these are to get spots. Every year I saw my lambs are better and this year is no different. I'm glad i'm making inroads on some of the more rare patterns, colors, horns etc, while still maintaining breed standard type, world renowned Shetland fleece characteristics and primitive traits.

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