Saturday, August 30, 2008

My new sheep!

Here are my latest additions, fresh from Michigan Fiber Fest.

First, a purebred BFL yearling ram from Stephen Rouse.
"Nightwatch" is what is called a crosser type BFL, better suited to crossbred breeding than purebred breeding due to a slight narrowness in his shoulders. I've been debating adding a BFL ram for over a year now for a small, market sub-flock, so when the opportunity to obtain a natural colored BFL ram presented itself, I decided to take the plunge.
I have to say I like having this guy around already, and I sure love that rich color and gentle nature.
The BFL seems to be an aquired taste for some people, with their kangaroo head and roman nose. I think they are beautiful in their own way.
I know I shouldn't spoil this guy, but I just can't keep my hands off him. I just love stroking his soft face and long ears.

A photo of two yearlings, Nightwatch and UnderTheSon Silvio Dante, one of my purebred Shetland rams. Nightwatch will be bred to my Clun Forest ewes for mules. While perusing Stephen's sale flock, I was looking primarily for strong overall conformation. I wanted straight hocks, wide hips, good toplines, strong yet refined legs. I wanted a boxy build without the sheep being overly large (that's not shetland-like, in my opinion) or too much height at the wither. Bites, teats, and fleece quality were also examined.
This lovely ewe lamb caught my eye. A striking katmoget smirslet sokket with a strong hind end and all-over powerful build, just what I was looking for. Shelteringpines Circe is a big, square girl, so I'm going to go ahead and put her under Octavian this fall.
Along with Circe came her mother, Shelteringpines Chalmeaux. This gentle, bovine face also caught my eye at Stephen's, and I immediately disregarded her because of her large horns. I have considered my farm a "horn free" zone for a few years now.
But after I decided to buy her lamb, I got a little curious as to how the poll gene would look crossed with horned ewe genetics? No better way of finding out than trying it for myself.
Karen Valley gave her the nickname of "Shamu", so Shamu will be her barn name. Shamu is a wildly spotted fawn kat underneath that bald face, and is also very well put together.
Shamu and Circe will be bred to Ock this fall, so their lambs will surely inherit one copy of the poll gene.

I completely scrapped my whole white line this year, and this ewe will be the foundation of my new white line.
Shelteringpines Queen Anne's Lace is an absolute knockout! A Bramble Nick daughter, very correct in every way, square of build and strong of bone without losing the Shetland refinement that seems lacking in so many stockier built Shetlands.
"Queen Anne" lived up to her name when she marched into the brood ewe flock and immediately had it out with Justalit'l Grace, our flock matriarch. I can't figure out who won that bout, but they seem to have worked it out among themselves.
Queen Anne will also be put under Ock this fall, and I'm hopeful that we'll get some supreme white lambs to be proud of.

This pretty girl is Zepher Easter Day, a Justinian daughter from Carol Bator's flock. Easter is out of Carol's beloved Mercades. She has strong conformation and also has a dishy head, so I believe she carries polled. She is a nice, big girl, so I'm going to go ahead and breed her this year although I haven't decide who to put her in with yet.

I have a "thing" for moorit smirslets, so Shelteringpines Pixie Stix also made the trip home with me. This gorgeous girl has very straight hind legs and a lovely, typy head. I haven't decided if I'll bred her this year, or hold her over.

Coming soon! I have made arrangements to purchase another purebred Clun Forest ewe from a recommended Wisconsin breeder, and I'll be picking her up at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival next weekend. Her name is "R82", but she'll get a barn name once I get to know her a little.
Something about these buttermilk buckskins I've always liked. Not much taller than shetlands, but thick thick thick! And air ferns, they stay plump on air.
This will give me three purebred Cluns to put under Nightwatch, for Clun mules. If Sophia, my Scotch mule cross ewe, doesn't sell at Jefferson, I'll keep her and put her in with Nightwatch, as well.
Next week is the NASSA AGM (Annual General Meeting) at the Wisconsin Sheep & Wool Festival, in Jefferson, WI. I'm anticipating a busy weekend there as a NASSA Board member, so I decided I'm not going to show this year although I'll be bringing some sale sheep. Be sure to stop and say "hi" if you plan on being there!
Fun, fun.


Kara said...

Beautiful additions! Congrats! I really like the look of the Cluns too, something about them. I will keep an eye on your lambs next spring, as I think a polled ram is inevitable for me. Horns are a pain, did you see my poor Cooper? Easter is so pretty, I almost had the Cary's bring her back to me...maybe she will have a nice smooth polled ram lamb for me to buy from you next year. Love the one Garret bought! I think my gul ewe lamb might be a poll carrier, as she has one in her lineage and has those indents that my black ewe has. I might hold her over unless she grows a lot in the next few months, as she is petite. Have fun at Jefferson.

Juliann said...

Hi Kara,

I agree with you. :) Horns can be a pain in the butt. Even when scurs break off, they don't bleed that much.
Yes, I saw your poor boy on your blog. :( I've had horns break off, but never as badly as poor Coopers! I have to admit I don't miss horns.
I hope Cooper feels better soon!

Franna said...

What beautiful new sheep! I especially like Queen Anne - classy Shetland. She and Ock should make some gorgeous lambs.
Well done.
- Franna

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