Friday, June 22, 2007

Indiana Shetland Sheep Tour!

Last weekend, I toured three Central Indiana shetland flocks with a group of sheep friends. We really had a great time and saw lots of interesting sheep. We started off at Carol Kelly's Windy Acres near Linden. Carol is a good friend of mine, who is working with polled shetland genetics with me. We saw her polled rams, ewes, and lambs, including a group recently imported from Arizona. My new digital camera got a good workout, as I took around 200 photographs on this date.

We then moved on to some of Theresa's flock at Under The Son Farm near Greencastle. The top photo is a portion of Theresa's flock. Theresa raises purebred shetlands, and shetland-cheviot crossbreds. Theresa had a mystery ram lamb this year with scurs, I had a look at his pedigree and found a Dailley poll carrier (BK6) on the maternal side. This boy is emsket, which is a recessive "dilute" gene. Something I am lacking in my flock. He is also katmoget with some recessive spotting. Nice! Guess who bought him? ;)
Clue: Some weak-willed pattern ho.

Theresa's magnificent Cheviot ram, used over some of her shetland ewes for crossbreds. This guy is just incredible, I couldn't take my eyes off him. He is the size of a pony. Pictured with him is a very large buck goat, and a black shetland ram.
As a breed, the shetland sheep continues to impress me with its versatility. It seems the lamb only grows in the womb to a size accomodating its dame, and the narrow Cheviot head prevented lambing problems with the cross.

We followed up at Gail's Underhill Farm in Spencer. Gail has it all. Horned rams, scurred rams, horned ewes, hornless ewes, in every color and pattern imaginable. I met the sire of one of my rams, North Wind Holiday.
One of our tour participants modeled the very latest in summer barnyard fashion.
Guess WHO? ;)

Thank you to Gail, Theresa, and Carol for opening barn and home to the little tour group. I got home at 11:30 at night and fell into bed exhausted.

Today, it is raining, thank God. I have been walking the pastures, getting a little concerned about having to put the flock back on hay. It is sparse.

Two weeks ago, we were fortunate to put up 280 bales of first cutting. We used to wait for second cutting, but had some bad luck last year with moldy wet bales. We burned a lot of moldy hay. And there was no third cutting. We ended up having to buy hay over the winter, never a good thing. This first cutting we have is part alfalfa, hopefully it is leafy enough that the sheep will actually eat it instead of turning up their noses.
Hopefully, there will be a second cutting, and more hay to store. I breath a sigh of relief when there is enough safely tucked away to keep my sheep fed throughout the winter.


Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Thanks for the report -- I've been impatiently waiting for one!

Juliann said...

Hi Michelle,

Wait 'til you see all the photos. :) I'm almost done cropping and re-sizing them, not sure where to host them all, though. What a great day we had!

Becky Utecht said...

Thanks for sharing these photos Juliann, it's nice to see what you guys have been talking about on the polled list.
I love your emsket katmoget purchase, good choice!
Yes, the shetland ewes are really great for crossing, they are amazing!
We had a ewe lamb bred to the BFL accidentally this year. She delivered a good sized lamb and is maintaining her condition extremely well.

Kathy L. said...

Thanks for sharing your trip with us!

We are dry, dry, dry...even our stream has dried up - only the third time in the history of it being a stream. Scary! And I hate it when my feet go "crunch, crunch, crunch" as I walk out to feed the sheep. All it will take is one match and a fool and we'll be up in smoke (and I don't mean like Cheech & Chong!)

So, Juliann...when are you getting a cheviot ram? (lol)

Juliann said...

Hi Kathy,

You know, this ram was so impressive. :) It would be neat to have something that size around, just to watch people's jaws drop.
I had forgotten how BIG sheep can be!