Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sommarang Isla

When I went to Jefferson this fall, I was on a mission to learn and to see if there were any moorit ewes that I thought would help our flock. There were, but most of them were not available. Fortunately, I left early for the trip so I could spend some time on the Thursday before the Judge's training talking to Lori Stephenson, Kate Sharp, and Alan Hill. I had already been talking with Lori about moorit ewes so I knew what she had, but I figured I'd take a look in person to see if I could talk myself into buying sheep (that's how I buy sheep. I go into it not planning on following through with whatever hairbrained idea I might have had earlier). Once in a while, I see something that blows me away, and so begins the inner turmoil of trying to talk myself out of it.

In this case, Lori had several really nice moorit lambs, so right away I knew I had some issues to deal with. I'm lucky to find one Shetland that I like (and that is also for sale) and here there were several. After looking them over pretty well, I slept on it and went to the training on Friday. Needless to say, I was really blown away with two of Lori's adult rams that were at the show. Hacket and Avyt were incredible rams, and certainly two that would've looked good on my farm...if they were polled. Still, they were (are) two excellent rams and I thought to myself that it would be nice to have some offspring from one or both of them.
After the training, I went back to the pen and looked the ewe lambs over again, and picked out two moorits that I liked a lot. I wrote down the eartag numbers and then proceeded to look at the pedigrees.

I was surprised to discover that both were Avyt daughters.

When I went to Jefferson, I already had an eye on Isla, but I didn’t know it was Isla I had selected that day until I looked at the pedigree, so that was kind of cool. The one I picked in the picture ended up matching my in person evaluation.

I think she adds a lot to my flock other than moorit. If that weren’t the case, I wouldn’t have brought her home (although I am excited to have an Avyt lamb).

Isla is a ewe out of Sommerang Ginger and Firth of Fifth Avyt (a Black Forrest son). I nearly bought Ginger last year, but elected not to when I decided not to go to Jefferson in 2010.
This year, I had a hard look at both of her daughters out of Avyt and decided on this one. Avyt (for those who aren’t into Shetland genetics) was the Reserve Champion Shetland at Jefferson in 2011. That means he was not only the very best ram there (in the eyes of two certified Shetland Sheep Society judges), he was the second best Shetland. And honestly, the competition was incredible.
Lori sent in Isla’s fall micron test, which was pretty nice: AFD: 20.1 CV: 4.7 CV: 23.5% CEM: 7.9 SF: 20.0. I have often said that I don’t put much stock in fall micron tests, but I do think they provide some value. In this case, Lori provided the results after I had selected, so that was cool. Isla is very fine and soft, which was obvious to me the minute I handled her fleece. The CV is interesting in this case, because I don’t see a lot of tip, which would be indicative of double coating. I don’t see that at all. In my opinion, this is a very nice fleece.
The bottom line is that I like this lamb a great deal or I wouldn't have gone to all of the trouble of bringing her in. I am influenced by colors and patterns a little bit, but if the underlying sheep doesn't make the cut, it doesn't really matter. Every time we bring in new sheep, it ends up costing me a lot of money for OPP and Johnes testing to ensure we aren't bringing anything into our flock, and we keep everything in quarantine for four-to-six weeks, so when we bring something in, it has to be special. I think Isla is.


1 comment:

Kelly Bartels said...

When I saw what you picked to take home with you from Jefferson, I just smiled and thought, "Great choices". I had fallen in love with Ginger at the 2010 WSWF and really wanted to purchase that ewe, glad to see she throws the quality I suspected she would. Kudos on a great purchase.