Friday, August 31, 2007

Sheep commentary - Rich

Photo at left is V Creek Fantasia, a yuglet sokket grey katmoget. She represents our first foray into spotted katmogets, and the start of our journey along the trail of producing the perfect yuglet sokket. Fantasia has a different look compared to most of our shetlands. Notice the soft lines. She is very correct with a very nice light grey fleece. My goal to cross her with Cihat(above) and get an offspring with the best features from each of them (although Cihat has very few weaknesses). We are really looking forward to her lamb next spring.
Then there is Twin Springs Dahlia, a spotted gulmoget ewe we just brought in last weekend. She will be bred to Cihat as well. My goal is to get sons and daughters out of Cihat with a variety of colors and patterns. A spotted gulmoget is one of those patterns I covet. Cihat is nearly perfect as a ram, but I would like to get offspring with more color and “wild spots” (as my friend Stephen calls them). Cihat has a very nice flecket fleece, but he has a lot of white. Although, there’s nothing wrong with that (and it’s quite soft), I like splashy colors and spots. In my opinion, spots look so much flashier with a good solid base of color. Cihat is great at producing loud spots out of spotted ewes with small amounts of white. That’s my objective with this ewe. She doesn’t have the flashy spots that I like, so I’m very interested in the outcome of this breeding.

The next ewe is Under the Son Betulina. Betty is a very pretty moorit gulmoget. I like her a lot, for some reason. She has deer-like features with a very delicate frame. Man, you have to love the genetic diversity in shetlands!

Next is Twin Springs Rose, a yuglet ewe that we just brought in. She has a very nice conformation and is just striking to look at out there. Although she is Ag, I can’t comprehend the color. She appears to be musket on the surface, but underneath, she’s very grey. I think she’ll be bred to Cihat this year, but we’ll have to see how she grows. This could end up being another flashy breeding for us.

You’re probably getting the impression that we like Cihat a great deal, which is in fact the case. Although it seems like we’re breeding everything to him this fall, that’s really not the case. We had four lambs out of him this spring and foolishly sold all of them. All developed so nicely that we started kicking ourselves in June and continue to do so. I won’t show you the bruises. There’s so much potential there! Once we saw what he could produce, that really triggered our mission of bringing in all of our new ewes. Not only are we introducing new genetics into our flock, but we’re also gaining new colors and patterns as well. Each year, our lambs have gotten better, and we are really looking forward to this spring. Growing up on a horse farm, I have a soft spot for excellent conformation and that is my secondary goal in our breeding program. Our primary goal is good health! Fortunately, if you keep the farm conditions up to speed, shetlands seem to be a healthy lot of animals, so that makes the first goal pretty easy, thus allowing us to place most of our emphasis on conformation. Hopefully, we’ll end up with some nice fleeces in all colors, markings, and patterns (including white, black, and brown).

The last ewe I’ll introduce today is Underhill Chiffon. She is a gorgeous, very correct shaela gulmoget ewe. I’m tempted to breed her to Cihat as well, but we also have a gorgeous mioget gulmoget ram, Under the Son Clover that I want to use quite a bit this fall, so I think he wins the dating game on this one. Neither sheep carries spots, but we should end up with a nice modified lamb (probably emsket or shaela). Of course, I still have a lot of time to change my mind.

Hopefully, all of this works out well, but I do know that it will be interesting next spring!

1 comment:

stephen rouse said...

Wow! All of these sheep look gorgeous Rich and Jen. You have a wonderful flock and fleeces are looking great. You have some incredibly striking additions. They will reward you richly with some wonderfully colored and marked lambs next spring. Congrats!