Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Breeding Group 2011

Yes...I did decide to go ahead and put a few ewes in a breeding group--five total. I tried to get some decent pictures of them the other day. Obviously some of them need a re-shoot! Something about me crawling around on my knees making clicking noises made them nervous. Huh...

The night before I made elaborate plans in my head on how to separate five ewes from the flock--four Shetlands and one Dorset/Merino crossbred--two being confirmed mamma's girls and hard to detach from their mommies. Finally I came up with a rather brilliant (I thought) plan where I moved the entire flock into the breeding pen and then sorted them there--releasing the others back into the adjoining main field as I sorted them off. This way there was no trying to 'herd' or drag resistant sheep away from the main flock. It all went very calmly and after ten years 'in sheep' I've learned that slow, calm and steady wins the race when you are dealing with sheep. There was only one small incident when a cattle panel imploded and flipped up and while a rather nasty bruise for me, nobody escaped.

Jasper came calling later that day and will be here for a few weeks. Jama and Jim were kind enough to bring him over for me. He has matured into a rather nice ram, with a lovely wide horn set and a very dense soft fleece.

So without further delay here are the members of the 2011 breeding group.

Fairlight Jasper
(Fairlight Jeffrey x Fairlight Lark)
Jasper was one of Jeff's last lamb's before he died later that summer.
Jasper is a 2010 grey flecket ram wi
th a wonderful temperament, beautiful horn-set, soft, dense fleece, and good conformation. I am hoping that he carries spots, but only time will tell. His dam was sired by a moorit smirlset sokket and his sire was a grey flecket. Because he still retains quite a bit of white on his face, I'm encouraged he might carry spots. He comes from a line of grey fleckets that when crossed with solid fleckets will often produce spots.
One horn was broken off as a lamb at the tip--he also was on a runabout through the woods before his trip over here so his wool has picked up some nasties.

And the ewes:

Fairlight Luna
(Minwawe Redford x Locksfield Willow)
Luna is the mature lady of the bunch, and has produced some lovely lambs. She is a 2006 musket flecket and is one of my nicest ewes. She is sired by a moorit smirslet sokket and has produced yuglet fleckets. She is a nice compact ewe, with a level topline, small fluke tail, set four square, pretty head with poll and cheek wool, and a lovely soft wavy fleece. She is the kind of ewe that I want in my flock.

Fairlight Stella
(Fairlight Jackdaw x Locksfield Willow)
Stella is a 2010 musket flecket ewe who will be lambing for the first time. Her sire is the colorful black and white Flecket, Jackdaw. Her dam has produced wildly spotted grey fleckets. She is one of the mama's girls I mentioned above. I retired Willow after she lambed Stella and let her 'keep' her. She still stays right with her mom all the time. Funny sheep--some family lines form very strong bonds. Stella is a chunky little thing, dense bone, good topline, tail and leg placement. Her head is a little more cobby and she doesn't quite have that alert 'deer-like' Shetland expression that I like. Her fleece is very nice--dense, soft and wavy.

Fairlight Persia (Three Ring Just Jack x Fairlight Blackberry)
Persia is a 2009 Fawn ewe, who was born with a large krunet. She should carry spots as her sire was a moorit/white flecket. She is one of my bigger ewes and is very much a primitive sheep in attitude! She is watchful, careful, snorts and whistles like a deer (and stomps her foot) when alarmed and will always make sure that there are other sheep between her and me. She is not a crazy wild child though and will work calmly when being confined. While she is not one of my pocket sheep I have to admire her defiant attitude. She has good conformation, lots of bone, a little more leggy, nice tail and a lovely, fawn colored fleece that is crimpy and soft.

Fairlight Rosetta (Three Ring Just Jack x Fairlight Rosemary)
Rosetta is a 2009 Fawn ewe who should carry spots as her sire was a moorit/white flecket. Her solid dam produced two fleckets in 2010 (Ford & Ranger) and was sired by a moorit smirslet sokket. Lovely little ewe with a sweet, expressive face (really--she is just giving me the stink eye here), nice conformation and a lovely fawn colored crimpy, soft fleece.

Fairlight Teresa Hope (Blue X Gracie)
Hope is a 2006 white Merino x Dorset cross. Her wool is soft, crimpy and has a shorter staple. She has lambed once before in 2009. The Shetland/Merino/Dorset cross has produced some really lovely fleeced sheep in the past. I'm hoping for twins, since I would like to keep one of these crossbreds and Jama wants one for her fiber flock. Hope is a sweetheart, sometimes not the brightest bulb, but always cheerful and easy to work around. She is definitely still her mamma's baby girl even after five years!

There will be lots of Ag (Greying) with this bunch, but the lambs should be very nice with lovely fleeces!


Michelle said...

Your fleeces all look so clean and soft! That Luna looks like she just came from the beauty salon with the perfect "do." I hope you get some GREAT lambs next spring.

Louise said...

They're beautiful sheep. I don't know much about sheep, but I love how sweet their faces look.

Tina T-P said...

Your Luna looks like our Luna - good luck with your breeding - here's hoping for lots of girls. T.

Tina T-P said...

p.s. The Shepherd wants to know how you keep your girls so clean - do they get spa days? T.

Vicki Lane said...

How handsome Jasper is. I'll keep my fingers crossed you get some spotted lambs.

Kathy said...

Gee, maybe I need to make a road trip to MO this next spring! ;)

Beautiful sheep!