Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Ewe-A-Day - Whispering Pines Pearl

Pearl remains one of the best Shetlands we have had born here on our farm. She is out of Wintertime Bond and Itasca. Why I only bred those sheep together that one year, I’ll never know. There are times when I want to repeatedly slam my head in a car door for some of the decisions I have made over the years and this is one of them. Fortunately, 99% of my breeding decisions turned out for the best, so I can’t complain too much.

Her fawn katmoget daughter above to her left.

Part of her grey katmoget daughter to her right (above and below). Both out of Egyptian Autumn. Egyptian Autumn is out of Blue Sapphire and Egyptian King. We have had good luck with the Jericho and Pompey crosses, and this is another one. Blue Sapphire is out of Blue's Clues and Bond is a Pompey grandson. Egyptian King was Bond's son. Blue's Clues was out of Wintertime Blues, who was out of Jericho. It takes a while sometimes to start getting offspring that realize the potential of a particular ram and ewe, which is why I always look several generations down the road when I choose breeding groups. I've heard it said that it often times isn't the F1 sheep that realize your vision, it's the F2 or F3's. That's what I've noticed also. I don't know that her daughters will be better than her (or Egyptian Autumn for that matter), but I do expect that their offspring will be. Both daughters do have nice fleece length, however, so I am excited to work with that as well.

Pearl’s five year old fleece stats are: 25.2/4.4/17.3/7.5/23.8. Those are fantastic numbers for a five year old, but it’s not our favorite fleece in the flock. Again, an SF of 23.8 is very rare for a Shetland of her age.

The important thing is that she has been an incredible producer of future talent. She will most likely end up being most famous for being Canterbury’s mother, but she is one of the better Shetland ewes around on her own merit.
She is also one of the first Shetland ewes we have had possessing a head that I really like. Not that it's necessarily better than other sheep in our flock, but I do like it. Bond had it, and Canterbury does as well. Some of Canterbury's lambs also have it. I think Pearl is also a good example of what you can do with careful breeding. Itasca is our largest Shetland, and Pearl is very fine boned and right in the sweet spot for what I like a Shetland to be. She is also the first truly fine Shetland we have had born here. Her fleece was so soft and unlike anything else we had ever seen.

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