Well, the micron results are in and I wanted to share some thoughts on our rams first, then I'll have something to say about the ewes on Saturday or Sunday.
Let me first say that I'm very happy with these results overall. There were very few surprises, which is what I think really excites me.
So here they are by age:
Whispering Pines Rowdy: AFD: 25.3; CV: 20.5; SF: 24.5
Whispering Pines Little Buckaroo: AFD: 24.3; CV: 17.4; SF: 23.1
Whispering Pines Egyptian King: AFD: 23.2; CV: 21.4; SF: 22.7
Wintertime Bond: AFD: 23.6; CV: 18.6; SF: 22.5
Sheltering Pines Pompey Magnus: AFD: 25.6; CV: 20.9; SF: 24.9
What did I expect? I made my predictions in my last post, and here is what I thought based on my subjective evaluation:
Rowdy: 24-25 with a 20% CV. I missed by 0.3 microns, but nailed the CV.
Bucky: 25.0 with a CV closer to 15% than 20%. I missed by 0.7 microns, but nailed the CV.
EK: 22.5-23.5 with a 20% CV. I got this one. His CV was 1.4% above what I thought, but very close.
Bond: 24-25 with 20% CV. I overshot this one by 0.4 microns, but nailed the CV pretty closely.
Pompey: 26-28 with 20% CV. I missed this one by 0.4 microns, but was spot on with the CV.
So, does that mean I'm pretty good at correlating my hands and eyes with the science of micron testing? Not really. I feel like I got lucky. I think the CV is pretty easy to gage, and there's really not much of a difference in my rams in terms of the averages. So, I really should be pretty close, shouldn't I? No one can guess fleece fineness within 0.7 microns, so don't let me mislead you. As you will see with the ewe lamb predictions, I'm not that good. But I think I'm decent at predicting within a small window, which is about all one can do. Now if I can improve on my ability to predict what a fleece will do in the future, then I'll have a skill worth something.
Who am I most excited about? Pompey, for sure! As I said, I really felt like his fleece was finer than I predicted, but he is five years old, after all. Except for Black Forrest, Pompey is the finest five year old Shetland ram I have seen! And his comfort factor is 80%! That is just tremendous for a ram of his age! He also had a 65 Dg/mm CRV, which is just a fancy way of expressing crimp. That's a really crimpy fleece for a five year old as well! And his spinning fineness (SF) was an amazing 24.9 microns, which means his fleece basically has a 25 micron handle. I'm pretty excited about this ram, and hopefully, his lambs reflect his many good qualities.
I was also excited that Bond came in under 25 microns as a two year old! That is my target for that age, and it's very difficult to achieve in my experience (not that I had anything to do with it). He won't be as fine as Pompey as a five year old, but that's still a fine fleece that I am excited about! Plus it's a pretty blue-grey, which is one of my favorite colors.
I didn't use Rowdy, but his fleece is very nice as well. Not extra fine, but it is shaela, and has excellent uniformity and lock structure. It's also silkier than many of the rams we've had here, so that's something we will continue to monitor this year. I would really like to use him this fall if I can. Awesome ram! I just wish he was finer. Other than that, he's just as nice as Egyptian King.
Bucky is what I thought he was. His uniformity and consistency is stunning! And a spinning fineness of 23 microns is nothing to sneeze at! He has a great handling fleece and excellent crimp as well! He has so many things I like in my rams, and I hope to have some nice spotted lambs out of him this year! I think he will improve the ewes he got! If he produces like I think he will, I will use him more this fall.
Egyptian King has the prettiest fleece, in my opinion. Granted it is black, and who gets excited about that, but it just has the tiniest crimp. His spinning fineness was 22.7, so even though he is just a yearling, I would still consider that extra fine.
So, overall, I'm very pleased with these results. It's taken some time to get fine fleeces that are consistently crimpy and uniform from front to tail, but we're making progress. Sure, two of these rams aren't from my breeding program, but it's also taken me quite a few years to assemble a ram lineup this nice, so I'll take wins anytime I can get them.