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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Clun Forest at Little Country.
After much thought and research, I've added another sheep breed to the farm, to be used strictly for producing market lamb. The Cluns caught my eye at Jefferson last year, and I started reading up on them. They are not considered an improved breed, and have maintained that primative hardiness, easy keeping, and easy lambing that is a must on my farm. They have wide hips and narrow heads. And they are brown based, not "blackface"!
I think they are very attractive for a meat sheep. The Cluns were also commonly used as a milk sheep in England!
They are only about 6-7 inches taller at the wither than my shetlands, but are long and wide! And foot-stomping sassy. These sheep are no trembling little rabbits, they marched in with confidence and attitude! I love it!

After purchasing a market ewe lamb from Mark Lelli at the Michigan show, I decided to trailer up yesterday. and take him up on the offer of two purebred, registered, and proven Clun ewes.
My reasons are simple. For health reasons, I am taking more and more interest in growing my own food. I already have chickens and eggs, a vegetable garden, and a small fruit orchard.
I'd like some lamb for the freezer, but the Shetlands are a bit small and slow growing to be efficient meat sheep. If I have to pay someone to butcher them, I want to get some bang for my buck. And I didn't get the shetlands for meat, anyways.
I have always abstained from adding local commercial meat sheep because of the risk of disease. Every sale around here is filled with coughing, limping sheep with their eyes crusted shut.
One of the reasons that Shetlands are so healthy and disease free is that most of us only raised shetlands in the past. But that is rapidly changing. I figure if scrapie, hoof rot, etc. starts speading through North American shetlands, it will probably be through commercial meat sheep running side by side with them. While I have absolutey no issue with anyone crossbreeding shetlands, we need to be careful not to introduce meat sheep problems into our primatives.
So I figured the best bet is to buy a rare minor breed, and purchasing them from a DVM would be a wise move. I had a delightful visit yesterday with Brenda of beechtreeblues.com, and Mark's muleflock.com.
Their sheep are just lovely, and I was sorely tempted to bring home a BFL ram to put over these Cluns. The two year old rams were stunning! But.....I'll use Boomerang instead, as I don't think I'll be using him for my purebred shetland flock anymore. I can't justify using inferior polled rams when I've got better ones available to me now, but I just can't bring myself to butcher the gentle old fart.
Can't wait to have my first Clunlands next spring. This should be interesting. And I can't wait to have a freezerful of tasty lamb, and have some left over to share with my family. I know my Mom likes lamb.

I took some photos today of my Shetland rams. Here is Shelteringpines Octavian, hasn't he turned into a handsome, thick boy? And he's only a yearling!
My beautiful Shelteringpines Pompey Magnus. Look at that fleece and fine structure. Again, only a yearling.
One of my new boys, Windswept Killian. We trimmed his scurs after I got home from the Lelli's last night, and will be giving him a few ewes to play with this fall.


Last but not least, UnderTheSon Silvio Dante. This ram will be getting all my spotted ewes this fall, hopefully he will correct the cow hocks and heavy tails I've been struggling with in my spotties.

I'm going to truss up my grapevines today, and start cleaning out the dead stuff in my poor, sorry excuse for a vegetable garden.

11 comments:

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Wow, Juliann, those Clun Forest sheep are the first breed to seriously tempt me into adding another breed to my own farm. Now I'm going to have to look into them. Thanks for sharing. Gorgeous rams, too. :)

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Yesterday I saw a ram lamb with long scurs at OFFF. I'll have to take a photo. Everyone else was like, "No! Those are scurs?" Really surprised me.

For some reason, those Cluns in the first photo look like police on alert to me! Very official and business-like.

If you're REALLY interested in health, maybe you should consider going vegetarian like us, hee hee! Check it out; we tend to live significantly longer, healthier lives than those who aren't!

Juliann said...

Hi Sabrina,

The Cluns are pretty cool, check them out on the web. Oh, I forgot to relay they are a forage based breed, Mark said they need very little grain, and are parasite resistant!
Michelle, these girls have attitude! :) I can tell already that these are no dumb commercial sheep.
Believe it or not, I was a strict vegetarian for over 10 years. No fish or chicken, even, although I did eat dairy. I did it for ethical reasons, I don't like the inhumane conditions of slaughterhouses.
Unfortunately, it didn't agree with my body. I was tired all the time, struggled with weight gain, and developed a sugar addiction. So I went back to eating meat after all those years.
My husband STILL is a vegetarian (although he eats fish), no chicken or red meat for him. So we each cook our own dinners, lol!
Is the scurred ram a shetland? I'd be interested in his bloodlines, hope you are having a great time at OFFF!

stephen rouse said...

Wow! How cool Juliann. They look like a really neat breed. Wasn't Mark and Brenda's farm incredible?

stephen

Juliann said...

Hi Stephen,

The farm and sheep were really neat, and Brenda and Mark were delightful, friendly hosts. They had a really neat North Country Cheviot ram that I really liked, too.
I was tempted to swing by your place, but it was such a long enough drive, and I was so tired on the way home.

Franna said...

Cluns! How fun! Jan Dodge has crossbred Shetlands and Cluns for quite a few years and always has a market for the lambs - and the fleece. We, too, are looking around for a crossing breed to (eventually) have our market flock alongside the Shetlands. I'll be awaiting reports of your Clun/Shetlands.
- Franna

Juliann said...

Hi Franna,
Well, that's good to know. :) I'm going to put a black shetland ram in with them second week of Nov., same as when I get my purebred shetland groups started. Stay tuned!

Kathy L. said...

Hi, Juliann!
The Cluns "look marvelous"! I envy all of you in areas where you have more sheep breeds available to you. Here, it's Churro or Suffolk. Another person near here bought two Shetlands from Beryl, but that's about all the wooly bunch in this area.
I, too, am interested in eventually crossing or handling another breed. Maybe when my DH retires and we get a bit bigger place.
Re: eating meat...I think it's great if people who are vegetarians do well on the diet, but from what I have found out, our bodies just aren't advancing as fast as our brains and unfortunately, most young girls and women have iron issues. Some take pills, but fail to ask where the iron in the pills comes from. My daughter eats alot of chicken and fish/seafood, but had to start adding more red meat into her diet when her haem iron was too low. The best source is beef, then lamb. And I am one of those meat lovers who's cholesterol is great, so the heart, and I drink milk, etc. I'm like you...my body does better with meat, so I don't fault you for wanting to produce your own and control the quality of the animals' lives as well as humane butchering practices.
Just set an extra plate...heeheehee!

PS: And I was glad to hear Jellybean is doing better now that you're home!

Bill Stearman said...

They look wonderful Julian. Have fun with them! I am putting four Shetland ewes to my BFLs this year. A bigger carcass ... and a nice fleece ... that is what I am hoping for.

Shetlands, however, remain my passion ... :-))

Tina T-P said...

Juliann - I so agree with you on the issues of keeping our little sheep safe from diseases that run rampant among other breeds. It really worried our friend Donna, when at the State fair, the judge was putting his fingers into the sheep's mouths and then going on to the next sheep without any thought to health safety!

Our friends Jim and Lynette Scapilato who had Primolana Shetlands (Flock #74) were crossing their Shetlands with Cluns probably 10 years ago, they needed a "meat sheep" to sell to help support their Shetlands - they are still in the old flock book if you want to get hold of them. (Very Nice people!)
Hope Jellybean is continuing to improve :-) T.

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