Here are the stats from this year's lambing:
13 ewe lambs
6 ram lambs
4 grey katmogets
8 fawn katmogets
That’s 19 lambs, which quite frankly, isn’t too bad. Of course, I say that because 13 of them were ewes.
As expected, we certainly had a run on katmogets again this year. We are still paying the price for breeding with two grey katmoget rams two falls ago. But we are also reaping the benefits of that decision in terms of fleeces and conformations. In year three of our fleece improvement program, I can honestly say we struck gold. Much work remains, but it’s nice to see some incremental improvement.
Our goal heading into this spring was to add some solid black and moorit ewes to our flock to go along with the overall quality of the sheep. We were able to add blacks, but not a single unpatterned moorit. Still, if I had to choose between color and quality, quality wins every time, and that continues to be our philosophy.
Now, we did add some exceptional fawn katmogets, so we’ll take that. We didn’t have a single fawn katmoget ewe last fall, and we wanted to add a couple.
We are attempting to put together a sales list, but it’s not the easiest thing to do. We believe strongly that we need to keep a nice mix of adults and lambs, and we’re trying to do that. We really hate to part with any of the adults. But our goal is to breed for quality, and the difficult part is deciding whether a mother or daughter is a better fit for our plans for next year. That is very difficult to evaluate with lambs that are only a few weeks old. Some certainly will not be improvements on their mothers. And it might take months to really gage that with any accuracy. And some of the mothers are such great producers, that you really need to include them in the breeding program. Other adults are young, but already showing promise.
Last fall, we kept 18 ewes and bred 14. I don’t know how many we are keeping this year, but it won’t be more than that. More important than the number is our goal of making sure each flock member is outstanding. Some might be finer than others, some might have more crimp, some might have greater density, and still others might have better conformations. Maybe none will have all of the things we want. But looking at the progress we’ve made this year, I feel confident that our flock can reach the goals we have set for it. I’m not sure how long that will take, but I’m pleased that we are starting to contribute to the breed in a positive way. Sure, with such a small flock, the contribution is very small, but it’s rewarding nonetheless.