We have been doing our ewe-a-day posts for many years, and I find it useful because it forces me to write down exactly what I like about each flock member. Each year, our ewe roster has improved, and I think this year’s is better than last year’s. We still haven't produced exactly my ideal Shetland, but we've come close enough to leave me encouraged and excited about the future possibilities. The more high quality sheep that we have, the better our odds.
So without further adieu, here are our ewes for this year.
This grey katmoget is our largest ewe at about 100 pounds. She’s a little taller than the rest of our flock as well. But proportionally, she is absolutely perfect. She has a nice, long body that she has passed on to her daughters and granddaughters, which is why we keep her in our flock.
Conformation-wise, she is dead on. I’ve said this before, but it’s worth repeating; she looks a lot like Sheltering Pines Salicional, who is her mother. Salicional was the Grand Champion Shetland at the 2011 WSWF, which was an incredible honor given the competition there that year, and the fact it was one of the few times Shetlands in this country have been judged by certified Shetland Sheep Society Judges. Not to rail on the Shetland judging in this country, but it’s bad. When you take a breed from the UK and change both it and the rules around what it should look like, you shouldn’t be surprised about what has happened to the breed in this country, but some people still seem to be. Anyway, I found the 2011 WSWF to be a good way of calibrating myself against what the breed is supposed to look like, and what it does look like in the UK. Constantinople would not win in a show against Salicional because her fleece is not as fine, but you would instantly recognize that they were related.
In addition to her conformation and overall appearance, I also like Constantinople’s head. To me, it is very Shetland, and a trait that I want to reproduce. You can see the wool on both the cheeks and poll, and that is probably a small thing, but it is the ideal we are striving for.
I also like her fleece, but on the surface, it doesn’t stack up to the rest of our flock. It would probably rank dead last in terms of overall quality, but it is still very nice. Her fourth fleece averaged 27 microns, which is exactly where it tested as a lamb. Most Shetland fleeces do not hold like that. So, given that we want to produce Shetlands with fleeces that hold their fineness well into adulthood, it seems logical that we would make her a building block for our flock to see if we can develop this.
Overall, she’s one of the better ewes in the country even if she isn’t the finest. But her overall type is outstanding, and her fleece consistency and uniformity is excellent as well. A top notch ewe for sure.