Saturday, September 26, 2009

Sheep aromatherapy & sale rams.

Sometimes....the best thing one can do for one's mental health is take a deep breath, step away from the computer for a while, take the phone off the hook, and immerse one's self in the ewe flock.

Not to evaluate conformation, decide who to cull, who to breed to who, balancing how many crimps per inch does this one have, versus outercoat of that one, versus this other's one's disappointing micron count, and the fact that yet another one has nice fleece but is cowhocked, that one has a heavy tail....

but simply to JUST BE. In the moment, with the sheep.

Between a demanding job, family obligations, the demands of being a NASSA Board member & Education Chair, keeping up with house, dogs, and farm care, keeping up with e-mail, answering and returning phone calls......I have come to realise that I simply don't do this enough.

There was a reason why I got into sheep, and it was NOT to add stress and anxiety to my life.

My sentimental old favorite, North Wind Netty, reminds me of this as she calmly walks up and rests her trusting head on my shoulder.

Brisket scratch. My horse used to do this when I groomed her.

Lil'Country Meadow, the ewe who graces my homepage, my show sign, and my ad in the NASSA News.

A few more the ewes.

A better photo of Sheamus now that he is fully rested and relaxed, out of quaranteen, and adjusted to the rest of the rams.

Here is the moorit gulmoget ram lamb (Hickory X Carmela) I might keep, might put up for sale yet. I'll micron him next month. Chalmeaux's scurred ram lamb is to his left. I am debating switching to all non -patterned (Aa) rams in the next few years.

This black ewe lamb has lovely fleece, knock out conformation, sweet little tail. Sadly, she also has an unattractive, atypical head that came out of nowhere.
The poor girl has airplane ears, a slight roman nose, and small, non-bulbous eyes.
Because something about her just smacks of another breed, she won't be registered. I allow a LOT of variability in my Shetland heads, but to me, the sheep should still be immediately recognisible as a Shetland, and should not look like another breed of sheep.
The Shetland head should be pleasing to the shepherd's eye.
She has been sold into a pet home with another cull ewe lamb.
Here are the two Shetlands I have left for sale.
This is Twin Springs Bearclaw, a musket spotted aberrant/long scurred ram. He will be available in December, after I have exposed him to the ewes I've selected for him. Bearclaw will be for sale for $300.
Two poll carrying ewes, exposed to Bearclaw, will be headed to Tennesse to lay the foundation for a spotted polled Shetland flock down there.

This is Lil'Country Everett. Everett did not place well at Jefferson due to the excess hair on the tip of his tail. I'm torn about culling him for this alone. I will send his fleece in for micron testing in a few weeks, that might push me one way or the other. I will continue to offer him for sale for $250.
I'd really like to see how his emsket fleece looks after shearing next year.

The end! :)


Kara said...

Bearclaw is a cutie. Would you consider him fawn or musket? Did you figure out which side of his pedigree his poll carrying came from?

When feeling ewe heads, what is the difference between indents with or without small bone knobs, genetically speaking? Have some of both that I will want to "sort" next year into the polled or horned breeding group. Thanks :)

Shula said...

I have to agree, there is something wonderful about spending time with the flock. It's something I hope to find (or make) time for this week before things get hectic with breeding time. You have some beautiful looking ewes.

Garrett808 said...

Juliann you are a great steward of the breed by not registering animals that don't look like Shetlands :) She didn't look different in the first photo but when she turned to face the camera it was evident. Kudos to you for being brave enough a soul to forgo the registration of that animal. I didn't it was possible to respect you any more but I am now :)

Spending time with sheep, just sitting, thinking of nothing is wonderful isn't it? I wish I had more time each day to do that....

Juliann said...

Hi Kara,

He's definetly Ag, so he's musket. The gene came awaaaay back on the dame's side.
If you feel inside the depressions on top of the ewe's head, really get your thumbs in there, you'll either feel bone knobs, or they will be smooth like a soup bowl. I try to select brood ewes without bone knobs.

Shula, thank you! :)

Garrett, thank you! I guess this is what Bowie meant by the term "throwbacks". This looks like a trait coming from something else.

Kara said...

Thanks Juliann. He always intrigues me because of my Cotton Candy. I thought Gideon, her dad was also Bearclaw's dad, but I looked again...Gideon and Bearclaw are full brothers. Cotton Candy is also the same color and I have struggled between whether she is fawn as registered or musket. She has had only one lamb that I thought was Ag, but now truly looks modified that I sold last year. Her other 3 lambs are all not Ag. Did you get Ag lambs from Bearclaw? She has remained a genetic mystery to me, thanks for helping me figure her out! :)