Friday, November 3, 2017

Shetland Breeding Groups

Every year the long anticipated breeding groups always seem to catch me by surprise. Had it not been for my severely sprained ankle, I probably would have been a bit prepared, but nothing fixes anxiety and problems like Farm & Fleet!

Four rams are being used this fall, three of which are from horned ewes. They are all sold, so I hope I am able to get what I am wanting from them! All colors/patterns/spots are possible, so hoping for improvement in the areas I hope to get it, in the colors ideally i want to work with :)

I will have about 20-25 ewes/yearlings for sale next summer to continue to keep my flock around 25 ewes. Several are reserved already but inquire if you see something you like. More info is in a previous post on the blog, as well as the facebook page.





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Leicester groups together

For those of you who have known me awhile, my love affair with BlueFaced Leicesters is a long one. Having first seen them at the Michigan Fiber Festival, while there with Shetland breeder friends, I fell in love with a natural colored ewe, Beechtree Blackwater Dee. BFLs have a face that you either love or hate immediately. But either way, if you spend time with them, you realize just how mellow, friendly and good natured they are to each other and to people. I brought home a few lambs later that fall and my love/hate relationship began. Fast forward to present and I have a handsome ram, Bodminmoor, who will have 4 ewes this fall: three natural colored and one white. I have also retained two white ewe lambs from this year, to use next fall as well. I have always had a difficult time having enough sheep available for the market, and never enough wool from them to satisfy even a few customers (usually one person will buy everything i have).

BlueFaced Liecesters are a breed renowned in their own country for making the best crossing ewes for commercial flocks (approximately 65% or more were made up of mules in the UK in their commercial flock last I heard). they have large loins, high milk, narrow faces (to also help in lambing ease on the crosses), and just the best expression and temperament I could ever see in a sheep.

During most of the year, I praise these animals for many things, and sometimes struggle during lambing or around weaning time. They are not for the faint of heart, and obviously require more maintenance than my Shetlands, but even after 8 years with them I feel like I always need to have a few.

I was to the BLU national in 2010 when it was in Eugene Oregon at the Black Sheep Gathering. I was also at the national when it was at the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, Ohio.I've seen them being worked at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival by Nancy Starkey's border collies, and i've shown them at both Michigan Fiber Festival and at the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.  I have purchased semen from imported rams and will AI again someday, after a successful naturally bred lambing season. I really do appreciate the BFL.

The BFL ram over Shetland ewes, creating Shetland Mules, was a beautiful cross that I kept until just recently with the downsizing of the farm. They are still working, back in Minnesota, to make market lambs. The wool and their hardiness were outstanding, on ewes that were about 120 pounds and twinned easily and never with assistance.

Below is my breeding group of BFLs. I will get a lot of natural colored, and I believe the white ewe does not carry color, so will only get white lambs from her.
thank you to the ladies who continue to support me in the breed and to those who try to get me quality sheep to use in my breeding program.

Left to right: (Bodminmoor (1yo), Izlyn (1yo), Silverbelle (6yo), Blue Bayou (1yo) and 527 (3yo)
First day together on October 15


Bodmin trying to make his moves on BB while she's distracted.

In addition to the BFL group, I put the Leicester Longwool group together on October 22, a week after the BFL. I am hoping all 7 will lamb before the shetlands start, and get the stress out of the way! I'm so thankful to Anne for believing in me and allowing these four to come to me, just about a year ago today!
All yearling sheep, (left to right) Remedy, Rowan, Roux, Riggs (ram)
Rowan is put out that she's in a pen with a BOY.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

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 homes. I'm pleased with all four rams in all aspects, and as hard as it was to let them go, I'm making sure they'll have lambs here I can move forward with.

WhitePine Nacoma, PG1, two year old - fawn katmoget horned ram. Sire: WhitePine Carver, Dam: WhitePine New Glarus
23.9 AFD, SD of 4.7, CV 19.8,  CEM 8.8, CF 91.9, SF 23

I showed him as a lamb at WSWF and he was first in pair of ram lambs and first in best small flock as well as up in the ribbons for best fleece on hoof. This year as a two year old he was 2nd in senior rams and 4th in best small flock. He is carrying modifier and spots, and his mom was scurred so hoping for a few horned ewe lambs.

His group is quite large. He has a darker oatmeal colored fleece that I hope will translate to dark blue in the black katmogets he'll produce. i think he has 9 ewes. He's headed to SW PA in december.

His ewes tentatively this fall:
WhitePine Riko - Gray katmoget - she has placed all three years at the show (lamb, yearling, senior) One of my finest
WhitePine Urd - gray katmoget - she is another fine ewe with crisp markings and a great fleece
WhitePine Lyss - gray katmoget - dark fleece, placed as a lamb and this year as a yearling (2nd to Supreme Ch in her class)
Whitepine Aithsetter - gray katmoget smirslet - my finest adult ewe
WhitePine Nott - black ewe with super fine crimp
WhitePine Janeva - black ewe with great fleece
WhitePine Easter - gray katmoget
UnderTheSon Viva - moget with very fine fleece -

I really am hoping for very typey katmogets with nice dark fleeces and crisp markings. Many of them carry spots so may get that too. Overall a really nice group.

WhitePine Supay, PG1, two year old - black light badgerface yuglet sokket flecket horned ram. Sire: WhitePine Carver, Dam: WhitePine Skellister.

22.6 AFD, SD 4.4, CV 19.7, CEM 7.8, CF 96.5, SF 21.7

I don't purposely breed for spots so he was pretty fun when he was born. He was on my short list as a lamb but then offered him for sale at WSWF but no takers. I'm glad. He is one my finest adults i've had, and he's out of a horned ewe. I didn't put ewes in his group that I thought would produce spots, as that is not important to me. I did put them with him for a bit more of fineness, or put ewes with him that i thought would help him as his dept of chest should be a bit deeper if' i'm picky. He also is a rare light badgerface and i'm hoping he will propagate that pattern in his lamb crop. I think he also has 9 ewes. hoping for horned ewe lambs and horned rams. spots or LBF are bonus. He is headed to Missouri after breeding.

His ewes:
WhitePine Nyan - Ag LBF horned ewe.I literally will squeal with delight if i get LBF lambs
WhitePine Adicia - Fawn Kat - a great typey ewe. hoping he will make the crimp smaller.
WhitePine Renes - white - needs to be finer crimped, but otherwise a fantastic ewe
ShelteringPines Bengal - Bengal continues to produce and I hope she'll give me a smashing ram lamb
UnderTheSon Pashmina - white - hoping for finer fleeces in the lambs with her conformation.
WhitePine Yeshivas - black light badgerface smirslet
WhitePine Marpesia - musket
WhitePine New Glarus- white - she's back and i'm excited to see if i can get horned ewes!
UnderTheson Chenille - gray kat - she needs a finer crimp and he needs her body.

WhitePine Nechtan - PG2 (just barely)- two year old - musket horned ram - Sire: UnderTheSon Duke Cardiff, Dam: WhitePine Noche Bueno

25.1 AFD, 4.9 SD, CV 19.4, CEM 8.6, CF87, SF 24.2

He was born to a horned ewe as well, and he build and fleece are pretty special. As a yearling he was 2nd behind the eventual supreme champion winner at WSWF. His horns are bit heavy for me, but he is AG, a gene i want to promote and preserve as well. He could carry spots. I'm hoping for some grays and muskets with possible horns for both sexes. He is going to central Wisconsin once breeding season is over.

His ewes:
WhitePine Nike - moorit smirslet sookket
whitePine Neunkirch - black gulmoget/katmoget
WhitePine Nidau - white
WhitePine Orthia - gray katmoget
WhitePine Juno - gray katmoget
WhitePine Laga - moorit
Lancien Aida - white
ShelteringPines Adagio - fawn katmoget
UnderTheSon Maraca - black light badgerface

WhitePine Thalwell - PG1 - yearling black horned ram. Sire: UnderTheSone Duke Cardiff, Dam: WhitePine Taconite. 

AFD 23.3, SD 4.6, CV 19.7, CEM 8.4, CF 93.,4, SF 22.4

This was a ram lamb that was available for sale at WSWF but again did not find a new home at that time. After the show, the UK judge visiting my flock could not stop remarking how lovely he was, what a great head and color, and crimp. I decided to keep him over winter and then this spring decided he was going to get bred to a few of my double patterned ewes, as well as some muskets to make me some grays (hopefully). He is so silky soft, and well mannered. He has the smallest group, but with my cutting back, makes it hard to have really large groups anymore. He's headed to Kentucky after breeding season.

Thalwell's ewes:
WhitePine Versoix - black gulmoget/katmoget. This pairing is really only to find out what patterns Versoix is, as phenotypically she looks different than her genotype tells me.
WhitePine Pacena - musket ewe and i'm hoping for grays!
WhitePine Bivina - musket ewe and i'm hoping for grays!
PS23 Lisal - musket ewe and I'm hoping for grays!
Wild Rose - gray katmoget - (Loki x New Glarus) hoping for dark kats or jet black

Thursday, September 14, 2017

update

This spring I moved 86 adult sheep (yearling or older) to the new place 10 miles away. Of those 86, I have 39 wintering this year. Of the 54 ewes that lambed, I have only 13 of those left. of the 18 rams, I will have 5. To say it was a year of downsizing, is no understatement. Although I tried diligently to keep ewes out of each of the ewes I sold, that did not always work. I hope that because I sold them to homes I know, i can someday get something back if i need to.

That being said I'll be breeding this fall:

Three yearling Leceister Longwools from Anne Campers flock in Montana. I purchased them last fall when I had plans of staying on my 32 acre place, but that sale fell through due to the seller, so I am where I am now because of that.

Four Blueface Leicester ewes, two yearlings, a four year old and a six year old. Thank you Nancy, Lisa and Brenda for these girls, again.

27 shetland ewes, with 2-4 ewes available as bred ewes this fall/winter, so I will lamb 23-25 Shetland ewes, totalling 30-32 ewes to lamb.

so in 2013 - 146 ewes lambed
2014 - 0 (i didnt know if i was moving or not)
2015 - 72 ewes lambed
2016 - 34 ewes lambed (i had a crossing ram who was sterile so had 18 ewes not lamb this year)
2017 - 49 ewes lambed

So it will be my lowest number of ewes lambing in quite some time. It will feel like a holiday!

Flock numbers for the 27 shetlands are averaged to this:

AFD 25.5, SD 4.9, CV 19.1, CEM 8.6, CF 80,6, SF 24.5, CRV 70.8

I am extremely happy with these numbers, and although i sold a lot of my best sheep, I have a nice mix that I've kept, plus ewe lambs to move forward with. 

That being said, I will have at least 10 ewes available next year after lambs are weaned. The list is subject to change, but this is what I am thinking:

WhitePine Versoix - 2016 - black gul/kat - Sommarang Luca x UnderTheSon Viva
WhitePine Bivina - 2012 -musket - WhitePine Caiphas AI x Owlhill Butter
WhitePine Neunkirch - 2016 -black gul/kat - Sommarang Luca x WhitePine Nina Sky AI
WhitePine Laga - 2015 -moorit - WhitePine Carver x WhitePine Lydia
WhitePine Nike - 2015 - moorit smirslet sokket - WhitePine Carver x WhitePine NinaSky AI
WhitePine Renens - 2016 -white - WhitePine Loki x Lancien Clarice
WhitePine Nidau - 2016 -white - WhitePine Loki x WhitePine Noss
WhitePine Yeshivas - 2016 - black light badgerface smirslet - Whistlestop 1123 x PS23Josey

I will also have an older ewe, UnderTheSon Viva, who I would like to find a good home for, or a breeding home that could use her another year or two. She's ridiculously soft and placed 2nd in her fleece class at MSBBA fleece show.

If you send a deposit now to hold a ewe, I will pay transfers, room/board and give a 10% discount.

I am hoping after the next week or two I will have time to get better photos of the ewes and the breeding groups.

Monday, August 7, 2017

A breed I can't stay away from

its true I guess that I would be first known for the fine wooled Shetland Sheep that I have procured and traveled across the USA and UK to find just the 'right' group of sheep for my flock. I spend most of my day at lteast thinking about Shetlands in one form or another (wool, breeding groups, lambs, evals, etc) 

Another breed I was fascinated with since my initial quest in to sheep is the Leicester Longwool. Back in 2011 (which feels like yesterday), I had brought a pair back from Black Sheep Gathering in Oregon. The ram stayed here for quite a few years producing crossbred market lambs. 

After having to leave the farm in Minnesota, and a transfer with work, and moving 6 times myself (and 3 for the sheep), we have found our 'home'. We are continuing to look at adjacent pasture land, with the hopes of renting or purchasing. It was with that in mind, that these guys came to me last fall, but a favorite person, of mine, Anne Camper of Montana. 

The photos below are of the lambs I got before they made their trek this way. I hope to have new photos of them as they have grown a LOT since last fall and I am so pleased with them and how they are growing and developing. 

Part of my reason for wanting something so very different than fine fleeced Shetland is two fold. Part one was to have a different type of fleece available to customers. My second part was to help ensure a critically rare heritage breed be saved, even if i was a very small part of it. This breed has helped to create over 300 other breeds since its 'standardizing' days. They are personable, friendly, mellow sheep who, so far, have been easy keepers and non complainers (unlike Shetlands who demand everything immediately).

I will have lambs available in summer 2018.

I am so thankful to Anne Camper for allowing these lambs to come to me, via Kate Cox (thank you for hauling them Kate!) They have really found a way in to my heart to solidfy a spot always here for some LLs. 

AC Riggs is my ram. A natural colored chap with a great disposition and fleece.
Twin, DOB 4/5/16 JM Darcy x JJ Bella
AI lines: NZ Ebony 17/03,  AUS Jarob Yellow 36, AUS Ostler's Hill Chequers

AC Rowan - white ewe - DOB 3/26/16 twin DB Wickham x AC Jenny, carries color. She has really grown in to herself and I am so excited about her!
AI Lines: UK Parson's Pride T1, NZ Ebony 17/03

AC Roux - english blue - DOB 4/2/16 Single. DB Wickham x AC Lillian.
AI Lines: NZ Ebony 17/03

AC Remedy - English blue -  3/20/16 twin - DB Wickham x AC Noddy
AI Lines: NZ Ebony 17/03,  AUS Jarob Yellow 36



Monday, July 17, 2017

Adult rams

 I have two adult rams for sale.The White is WhitePine Loki (WhitePine Carver x WhitePine Lunna). He is two years old and I have used him two years in a row. He would do best over ewes that need a lot of improvement in fleece, or ewes with a bit more length to them. He carries moorit, modified and spots. I have retaining most everything he's produced, so he is available now $400


 WhitePine Zollbruck is a yearling moorit ram. Wide horns, nice dark color. He is out of UTS Duke Cardiff x PS23 Jessica. I would keep him but i am moving out all of my moorit sheep. I really like this guy. $400.




Monday, February 13, 2017

yearling ewes

Took samples from the coming yearling ewes yesterday in the very spring like weather. A few parted fleece shots for those fleece junkies among us.



 


Shetland Breeding Groups

Every year the long anticipated breeding groups always seem to catch me by surprise. Had it not been for my severely sprained ankle, I prob...