Saturday, April 28, 2012

Lamb Update

We haven’t had time to do much blogging this spring, so I thought I’d try and do a lamb update to catch up.

This little ewe is out of Sommarang Isla. She is a fine moorit with some nice bloodlines. Isla’s mother was Reserve Champion ewe in 2010, and her father was Grand Champion ram last year under the SSS judges. As I said before, it’s nice to have moorits again. I’ll get better pictures soon (I hope).

This ewe lamb is out of Blue Diamond, one of our top ewes. I also like this little girl a lot. Both her parents are super fine, which certainly doesn’t mean she will be, but I like what I see so far. She was just born the other day, so we’ll update the blog once she fills out some.

Cor de Nuit’s ewe lamb is a very dark brown at this point. Cor always has top notch lambs, and we hope this one will also be. She is a totally different Shetland type than her mother, however. In the past, Cor’s lambs have always had her genetic imprint on them, but this one seems to be more like her father, who is super fine. This is the only picture I could get of her because darkness was descending rapidly. I was checking her over again last night, and I do think there is much potential there now that I've seen her grow for a week.

Constantinople’s ewe lambs. Both are developing nicely. Here us the spotted girl.

Here are both of them using their mother as a jungle gym. That's Madonna's ewe lamb getting in on the action. And yes, Constantinople is the matriarch of the flock, if you couldn't tell. She pretty much decides what goes and what does not.

Here are both of her lambs.They are two of our favorites so far.

Blue Sapphire’s ram is the flashiest we've had in some time. I think I’m going to call him a brandet, as he is the closest I have ever seen a Shetland resemble the color and markings chart. I might change my mind about that.

And this moorit ewe lamb has matured into something I really like!

Only four more ewes left to go. I am a little surprised at the number of singles we’ve had this year, but I don’t really have an explanation for it. I tried some different things last fall to increase the twinning rate, but I can’t say it paid off. We’ll wait until all of the lambs are here before we provide stats and stuff that only people like me would care about. I will say that we are happy to be getting some spots again. We haven’t bred with a spotted ram in quite a few years, and didn't last fall either, so that’s a bit of a surprise. We're not getting flashy spots (Blue Sapphire's aside), but, in reality, it’s just nice to be getting moorits and not so many katmogets. I love the kats, but we needed more shades of brown. Now we could use more blacks.  I'd like to have  two or three black ewes heading into fall.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Lambing has started here at Whispering Pines, and so far, so good!

This moorit krunet ewe lamb is out of Madonna.

I like this lamb a lot. It looks like she will have a fantastic, crimpy fleece at this point, and we can certainly use more moorits. This is the first pure moorit ewe lamb we’ve had born here in quite a few years. I’m not sure yet which lambs we will keep, but this one is a possibility. And I especially like the fact that both the mother and father are very fine with fleece types that we are after. Madonna’s two-year old spinning fineness was 25.0 with an average 26.0 microns. Her father’s two-year old micron average was 25.6 with a CV of 14.4. I always pick type over numbers, and this lamb looks like she might have both.

Blue Sapphire is one of our favorite adult ewes and we were really anticipating something nice out of her this year. We were disappointed that she only had a single, but this ram lamb is pretty close to what we would have wanted. Sapphire is not a poll carrier, so I would anticipate that this ram will be scurred, but he looks promising thus far. I’ve always said that I don’t consider us a polled breeder because we typically opt to breed with the best Shetlands we can and not be concerned about color, spots, and horns, but we will choose polled if all else is equal.

This guy will be retained for now to see how things develop. We do like his fleece, and we are hopeful that it will be like his mother’s. Her fleece is the most like her dad’s (Blue’s Clues) than any of our other flock members, and we’d like to reproduce it in all of our flock eventually. Her two year-old fleece tested at a spinning fineness of 23.5 with an average of 24.7. I like our spinning fineness numbers to be much lower than the averages.

This ram lamb is an F4 Jericho, which isn’t a large percentage of one of my favorite Shetland rams, but it’s a bloodline that I like a great deal. His father is super fine, so we are hoping this guy is as well, and I think he will be.

I also like his very dark chocolate moorit color. I’m a sucker for dark grey katmogets, but I also like those rich, chocolate moorits as well. Maybe that’s because we have so few of them.

Constantinople is another one of our favorite ewes. Her mother, Salicional was the top Shetland at Jefferson last year, and I have always thought Connie looks very much like her (except taller). Connie has the best Shetland head in our flock, and has thrown some great ewe lambs for us that capture her essence. Both Blue Diamond and Irish Rose are her daughters. So far, we have kept all of her ewe lambs because they are so similar to our vision of what a Shetland should be. I was almost (and the key word is almost) looking for a nice ram from her this year that would allow us to pass her traits on to our flock in a more widespread manner. Well, we didn’t get a son, but we’ll take two more daughters.

The larger one was the first one out of the chute on Sunday with her smaller spotted sister arriving about 30 minutes later. Both are katmogets and we think they are going to be really nice. Fantastic fleeces on both. I guess you don’t really know how lambs will progress, but we like how promising all of this year’s lambs look so far. And, to be honest, we like all of the yearling ewes that we kept from last year’s lambing. Last year’s lambing was a good step forward, and I like how this year’s looks as well.

Constantinople has a very nice grey katmoget fleece. Her four-year old spinning fineness was 26.5 microns, which is right smack in the middle of the fine category. Her average was 27.2. The funny thing about her fleece is that her yearling test was in the low 27’s and it hasn’t increased much in any year since. I’ve found that the majority of Shetland fleeces increase in micron about 10% per year until they plateau at some point. I like the ones that hold steady. These lambs will be finer than their mother by quite a bit. All of Connie’s lambs have been finer than her, but then, we’ve always bred her to super fine rams.