Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Breeding Plans for fall 2016

Every year when the nights start to get chilly, I get excited to start thinking about putting the breeding groups together. Any good breeder will have at least a 2-3 generation plan in their heads or on paper, and as soon as lambs hit the ground I'm already planning who to breed to who that fall or the next year, or their lambs when they are born.

Ultimately anytime you make a decision, or put two sheep together you've changed them and are improving them. They are not wild animals choosing their mates based on the strongest or fittest or most clever. A breed is a very specific thing, with lots of variability, but it should always LOOK like the breed, and we as breeders need to remember we are preserving a very specific animal, the 1927 standard Shetland, as clarified by Appendix A.

Traveling the Shetland Islands, seeing Foula sheep (and touching, going over them), seeing Shetlands in Scotland, northern England, and the Southwest, there is a LOT of variability in the breed, even with such specifications as Appendix A and the 1927 Standard.

anyway, I'm getting a bit off topic.

I traded Kindred Spirit Farm of New Hampshire last fall, a ram lamb for her horned mioget gulmoget ram, Cedar. He'll be used this fall on a group of girls. I am really hoping for horned gulmoget rams from this (or ewes that carry horned ram genetics) but will be happy with nice lambs too.

I had told Allen Creek Shetlands, WI, that if they ever decided to sell WhitePine Crosby, to let me have first right of refusal, I jumped at the chance to get this guy back! He has a lovely demeanor, and is out of Jazz (Todhill Jericho x Whistlestop Izzy) and ShelteringPines Classique (a VCreek Guinevere daughter). He has the loveliest blue hue to his gray katmoget fleece and is just as nice as i remember him to be. If i got only katmoget form him I'd be so excited, but he also carries spots, moorit and modified.

I also will be using ShelteringPines King Louis. he is a moorit ram out of one of my favorites ewes, ShelteringPines Debonaire. He carries spots but I really am hoping to get his fineness and crimp on some longer stapled ewes, as his fleece isn't the longest fleece. He'll get most of my Ag ewes in hopes of getting more grays and muskets, but am tempted to put my two black ewes on him as well.

Overall i think the rams I am using this fall are top notch. I had wanted to use some of my yearlings this year, but they will have to sit out, while i use these older guys first. I really am trying to breed katmogets and Ag lambs next year so will probably get solid moorit or solid black in stead, as most of my sheep are heterozygous for their patterns. I guess any way I look at it, a nice sheep is a nice sheep, and the pedigrees themselves will speak volume to the quality of the lambs i"ll be getting. I'm excited!

In addition to the Shetlands I will have a BFL breeding group. My ram is from Anne Bisdorf (mostly Somerhill and Potosi lines). He will be put with my five adult BFL ewes, four white ewes and a colored ewe. The oldest white ewe is from Stephen Rouse and is a triplet ewe who carries color. Then I have my two white ewes from Nancy Starkey, and a white ewe and a colored ewe from Becky Utecht. I also have the colored lamb from Lisa Rodenfel but she is sitting out this fall, even though she has grown wonderfully.

I also will have a CVM ram lamb being bred to my three Shetland Mules. I absolutely loved the cross I got in 2015 with them, so will do that again as they didn't sell this year. The growth and the fleece on the lambs is incredible.

Tentative breeding groups - updated 10.17.17

The four rams I am using this fall, are all rams I offered for sale, with the intent to use them for breeding and then move them on to new h...