Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Whispering Pines Amaretto

I think I covered all of the adult ewes, so back to the lambs.

This ewe lamb is out of Winter Sky Khan and Whispering Pines Blue Diamond.

As you can see, she resembles her mother in body type. I don't like here fleece as much as her mother's, but it is quite nice. It's a rich dark moorit, which is a must have for any flock. The variety in colors is also very nice, but you almost have to have at least one dark moorit.

I've always felt that it's easier to improve fleeces than conformations, so I think this ewe has a lot of potential. I don't think she is going to be super fine, but both of her parents are. I think that bodes well for her lambs down the road to have such a fine pedigree. Her grandfather is Black Forrest, and her grandmother is Constantinople. Her other grandfather is Wintertime Blues. Her great grandfather is Todhill Jericho. If you follow Shetland bloodlines like I do, that's like being related to Wayne Gretzky, Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, and Mia Hamm. Ultimately, it only matters how good she is, but I'm pretty happy with her quality as well. I think she's one of our better lambs; not the finest, but overall, one of the best this year.

As an aside, I am somewhat surprised at the growth rate of this year's lambs. All were 60 pounds or greater as of November 1st. Given the drought, and the fact that we bred for later lambs than we ever have, I would not have expected that. We have not seen that before. We've been lucky to have one or two that large in the past. I did extend the graining period this year (because of the drought), so it's probably not that much of a mystery is it? We'll no doubt pay for that when we micron fleeces next spring. If the lambs grew that well, and the adults are all well-conditioned, you know the fleeces are going to micron higher as well, right? Still trying to find the right balance with all of the variables.

For comparison, our average lamb weights in the past were somewhere between 45 and 50 pounds in about the same timeframe (about six months). I did an experiment many years ago where I took twins and grained one, but not the other, and that difference in weight was pretty dramatic with the same grain and rations that I used this year (about 1/2 cup per sheep). It doesn't seem like much, but it clearly impacts growth. I did the same thing last fall with the adults in an attempt at increasing the twinning rate, and it accomplished the opposite. All of the ewes seemed in good condition, but we still had a lot of singles (even out of the ewes that normally twin). On the flip side, we did have a lot of ewe lambs, so that made up for it.

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