This Egyptian King daughter out of Blue Diamond built very well, and ranks high in our rating system for Shetlands.
Kiyah has a very
fine and dense fleece with the type of crimp that we like so well. I don’t care
for the larger crimp and don’t breed for that. There’s nothing wrong with
larger crimp at all, but the smaller crimp give you the ability to build
elasticity into your products. Over time, I would expect to have our flock
fairly evenly split in terms of crimp style as long as they are all fine or
super fine. Overall, this is probably one of our nicest ewes and we’ve been
waiting to see what our Egyptian King offspring will produce. It’s another
great bloodline that goes back to Wintertime Bond, Todhill
Jericho, and Sheltering Pines Salicional. That’s about as good as it gets for
bloodlines in a Shetland.
I think Kiyah is a pretty good example of the type of improvement that is possible with the breed. Constantinople is a little taller than we like (not excessively tall, but on a relative scale), and Egyptian King is on the stocky side. I actually like his build, because he has a wider stance than some of our other rams, and he is also smaller. Plus, he added some of those traits in his lamb. Plus, he has a gorgeous head. Now that I am saying all of this, I'm wondering why I've never bred him to Constantinople. Hmmm...anyway, I bred her daughter, Blue Diamond, to him, and I liked the results. Maybe next year. My point was, that in two generations, we have a ewe with a lot of the traits that Constantinople has (length of body, proportions), and added his fleece (dense, uniform, crimpy, and fine). I actually like Blue Diamond's fleece better, because it has better overall type, but I don't think I've ever seen (and I know we've never had) a Shetland with a CRV of 107.1. I checked past micron results, and even Bond wasn't that crimpy. His CRV was 84.7, which I thought was pretty incredible at the time.
Having said all of that, there are things I want to improve with this ewe, so we'll have to see how that goes. I always say that balance is what we are after, and super fine is desirable, but so is crimp, luster, length, and lock structure. For comparision purposes, Genoa (in my opinion), has a nicer fleece than Kiyah, but her CRV is only 77.0. And yet, Genoa is a micron finer than Kiyah at the same age. What I have concluded from all of that is that I prefer my yearlings to be in the 21-24 micron range because those have been our nicest fleeces. We have also had some really nice yearling fleeces higher than that, however. It seems like 22-23 microns is the sweetspot in terms of balance. Of course, all of that depends on what you like in your fleeces, I suppose.
Also, the ewe lamb behind Kiyah is Constantinople's from this year. You have a granddaughter and daughter in the same picture. They have very different fleeces, but they share her topline and other characteristics that I like (as shown below). Also, both ewes have less britch than Constantinople has (although she doesn't really have that much in the whole scheme of things, just a little more than most of our sheep). What that equates to is higher yield (which is why we are able to charge so much for our fleeces).
Behind Constantinople are Blue Diamond (her daughter from two years ago), and Irish Rose (her daughter from last year). Yes, we probably have two many Constantinople offspring, but I like them, what can I say?