Sunday, January 21, 2018

2017 Breeding Groups - OK Acres Nitro

We ended up going with four breeding groups this year as we targeted several different goals. It’s no secret that we’ve been trying to get more black-based sheep in our flock, so we had three groups dedicated to that initiative. It’s a high risk, high reward strategy, however, since two of the rams are unproven. At the end of the day, I think as I do every year – that this spring’s lambs will be the best ever. It’s been some time since that wasn’t the case. Steady and slow improvement each year.

Nitro got the largest group again this year for several reasons: I like him, he’s not related to most of our flock, and he’s unpatterned. His two year old fleece Spinning Fineness was 20.2 microns, which is very nice in combination with the rest of his fleece traits.

The fact that he’s spotted is a nice bonus that I intend to exploit. We have several spot carriers in this group, and even a few black-based sheep, which I’m sure makes little sense if you take our goal of increasing black-based sheep at face value. Each ewe has a purpose, however, and I could explain at length about why this group is what it is. Here is a fleece picture of Nitro, followed by his group.

Jane Eyre – a repeat breeding from last year. Our finest ewe. Looking for fine spotted ewes here.

Genoa – Had trips last year, but two of the ewes were black!
Elara – A white ewe that could give us white lambs. We have precious few of those.
Blue Sapphire – Looking for black spotted ewes here.
Itasca – Looking for black ewes here. She has been a ewe factory for us and nearing retirement.
Treviso – One of Itasca’s daughters. I just think this is a good pairing. Another repeat breeding.
Fanny – Another flock favorite.
Georgianna – A great black ewe. Would have liked to use a black ram on her, but she’s too good to leave open.
Pearl – We always get good lambs out of this fine ewe. Canterbury is her son, and we are using another one of her sons this fall as well.
Mrs. Hughes – A fabulous two-year-old and one of our best. Carries spots.
Dowager Countess – nice spotted ewe out of Canterbury and a Blue Sapphire daughter. We will get spots here.
Mrs. Patmore – Canterbury x Turin. We’ll get nice spotted lambs here as well.
Sybil – A really nice moorit ewe out of Canterbury x Genoa. Wouldn’t mind spots here.
O’brien – AKA OB. Supremely nice moorit out of Mr. Darcy and Mustang Sally.
Baxter – Black ewe out of Mr. Darcy and Kyrie. The best genetics in her pedigree and she’s about as good as we are going to get in a black ewe.
Ivy – I don’t like, I love grey katmogets and this is one of the best we’ve had born here. She is out of Mr. Darcy and Pamela. I was checking out ewe roster and was surprised we only had one daughter out of Pamela. That troubles me because she was such a good ewe and we really shouldn’t sell things without getting more than one daughter out of them. Oh well, if you only have one, this is as good as it gets.

That is a lot of ewes and there isn’t one strategy involved. This group has a lot of Canterbury daughters in it. As always, we are looking for stunning fleeces in these lambs, and if we can get some black-based, spotted sheep as well, that would be good. We never breed exclusively for colors or patterns, but I feel confident that the fleeces will be outstanding, so it’s time to experiment now with some other things.

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