Saturday, August 23, 2014

2014 Ram Lamb Sales List

After much soul searching and analysis, we have finalized our sales list for our 2014 lambs. We have eight top notch rams for sale from some of the top bloodlines in the country. I will provide very detailed answers to any of your questions, so don’t hesitate to ask. I would use all eight of these rams in our own breeding program, so let me just say that to start. I do not have micron test results, but I do believe that each of these will be grade 1 premium FFSSA rams as yearlings. That’s a projection based on my own evaluations.
These rams are also either polled or half-polled. Most have very small scurs. Two have longer scurs. It’s debatable whether the ram with the longer scurs is fully horned or half-polled, but I do believe he carries one gene for each.
Our mission continues to be to produce fine fleeced Shetlands that resemble what you would see in the UK where the breed originated. All eight of these rams are an example of our work toward that mission and I believe virtually every flock in the country would benefit from the quality of these rams and what I think they can produce.
I will not be keeping any of these guys, so if they don’t sell, they will go to market. That would be a shame, but it’s the same problem everyone has, I guess. If you can find better rams than these guys, my advice would be to buy them. Great Shetland fleeces are relatively rare in this country, and if you are interested in that, the ram is arguably the most important ingredient to obtaining them. It took us years of work to consistently produce animals of this quality, which we could not have done so without having access to the best flocks in the country. I am grateful to those flocks for their help and we want to work with new customers to extend the same courtesy.

What I like most about the moorit ram above is the wool on the poll. It's a trait that is authentic Shetland, and in all the years we have been doing this, we haven't produced it very often.

This grey katmoget ram is out of Constantinople, who also exhibits wool on the poll. Very nice ram!


Sunday, June 29, 2014

Adult Rams For Sale

We posted our ewe sales list the other day, but as I said then, we would have two adult rams to sell as well. Here they are:

Winter Sky Khan

An excellent polled moorit son out of Wintertime Black Forrest. Forrest, as he is known, is largely responsible for the salvation of the fine fleece Shetland in the US, and one of the finest Shetland rams in North America. Khan didn't fall too far off the tree. I've always liked Khan better than Forrest, to be honest.

Khan's three year old micron test was: AFD: 22.2/SD: 4.9/CV: 22.2%/CEM: 8.2/SF: 21.9. I would say that those numbers put him in elite company in the North American Shetland community. His comfort factor was 96.3% as a three year old! His fiber diameter has held pretty constant for three years now! That's also pretty rare for a Shetland! Extremely rare.

He's the real deal and would certainly help both new and established fine fleece flocks! This is a rare chance to own one of the foundation fine fleece Shetland rams! You aren't going to find many like him in North America.

Don't be misled by the fleece picture below. It is about 3" long. I know it looks shorter in the picture. Plus, it has great elasticity/bounce/movement (choose your term).

Whispering Pines Barenfang is an example of the type of home raised ram that we once said we would never sell. But that's the way it works with a breeding program. As you get better, you either move out really good animals, or you become overwhelmed with too many sheep. Such is the case with this guy. He is a fawn katmoget son of Khan (sounds like a movie title) and our own Siena.

His yearling micron numbers were: AFD: 21.5/SD: 4.3/CV: 19.8%/CEM: 7.4/SF: 20.7.

Between the pictures and the numbers, there isn't much else to be said about this guy. He is a flock sire waiting for a chance to shine! Note the perfect Shetland tail. I have also found him to be a very laid back ram. I should keep him, but there is virtually no chance he will be used in the next two years, so there really is no point. He is too good to put on the shelf that long.

Barenfang's fleece is also about 3" long.

Above is Barenfang as a lamb. Pretty striking right off the bat!

Two great and rare rams!

Monday, June 23, 2014

2014 Whispering Pines Shetland Sheep Ewe Sales List

When we began working on our flock improvement program in earnest five years ago, we always imagined a day when we could offer for sale some of the best Shetland sheep and bloodlines available in North America. Along the way we have certainly already offered that, but we have never offered a complete lineup like this that is so consistently top notch. I have visited 15 Shetland farms since we have been doing this, and have put my hands on several hundred Shetlands along the way. Having done that, I can say that these sale sheep are better than you will find in most parts of the country, but certainly out east here.

Here is the Whispering Pines 2014 Ewe Sales list. I will provide brief descriptions below each sheep, but can provide much more detail to interested parties. What I will say in general is that these are the best ewes we have ever offered, and all are sheep that we have and would use in our own breeding program. All the fleeces are fine or super fine. I have no hesitation in selling any of these ewes because they are that good. Each has produced for us in a big way and will do the same for you if you put them with the right rams. Breeding is a bit of an art, but you can't go wrong with ewes of this quality. I hate to let them go to be quite frank, but then again, I like the idea of helping other people improve their flocks in a way that we never had when we got started. That's always been in our plan, and I hope we can do that for someone. But, if you don't ask, we can't help.

We'll start with the ewes and follow with the rams at some point. We have way too many ram lambs to list, but we will post some pictures for you to get an idea about what we have. We also have two excellent adult rams that we will be offering, and I will post about those in the coming days.

1.      Sommarang Isla – Age: Three (Sommarang Ginger x Firth of Fifth Avyt)

Excellent conformation and fleece. Moorit, spot carrying ewe. Parents are award winners. Superfine fleece. Does not carry polled gene. Has lambed three times for us. Kept both ewe lambs from last year. Ram lambs this year are excellent.

2.     Sommarang Ilke – Age: Three (Sommarang Comfrey x Firth of Fifth Avyt)

Very good conformation (she is on the small side) and excellent fleece. Superfine fleece. Moorit, spot carrying ewe. Does not carry polled gene. Has lambed twice for us. Lambs this year are excellent!
3.     Whispering Pines Kiyah – Age: Three (Whispering Pines Egyptian King x Whispering Pines Blue Diamond)


Excellent conformation and fleece. Fawn katmoget ewe with superfine fleece. Very small and tight crimp. Top notch ewe. Has lambed twice for us. Superb bloodlines. Lambs have been excellent
4.     Whispering Pines Irish Rose – Age: Four (Wintertime Bond x Sheltering Pines Constantinople)

This ewe is as good as it gets in the spotted Shetland world! Excellent conformation and fleece. Spotted fawn katmoget with fine/superfine fleece. Bold crimp. Very light color, almost tan. Superb bloodlines. Lambs have been excellent. Such luster in this fine fleece.
5.     Whispering Pines Coloma – Age: Two (Winter Sky Khan x Wintertime Itasca)

Excellent conformation and fleece. Moorit ewe with fine fleece. Nice crimp. Rich brown color. Has been bred once, and lambed once. Lambs this year are excellent! This is a Khan daughter, which is significant both because of the quality of Khan, and the fact that we hardly ever sell his offspring. She is also out of Itasca, which is significant for the same reason.
6.     Whispering Pines Irish Mist – Age: Two (Winter Sky Khan x Sheltering Pines Constantinople)

Excellent conformation and fleece. Superfine. Bolder crimp. Spotted fawn katmoget ewe. Was bred and lambed once. Twin ram lambs this year are superb! Super fine fleece! Nice luster as well.
7.    Moorit bottle lamb – Born this year (Whispering Pines Coloma x Whispering Pines Egyptian Autumn)
Was born small. Have had her on the bottle since birth. Excellent conformation and fleece. Should be similar to her mother in conformation and fleece. Rich dark moorit. Don't have a picture right now, but will provide one if you are interested. The one thing I would say about this lamb is that she will be small and super friendly. If you are interested in that combination, we will make a deal. She is used to attention, and that is the type of home where we want her to go (unfortunately, we can't give her that as much as we would like).

Sunday, May 4, 2014

More Fine Fleeced Whispering Pines Lambs

The weather hasn't been great here at Whispering Pines, but the lambs have been. You never really know what to expect each year when you put two sheep together in the fall. We spend a lot of time each year evaluating our flock to determine the gaps between our vision and where we are at that particular point in time, and then we put sheep together that have the highest probability of closing those gaps. It's more art than science, however, as much as we try to bring science into it. At the end of the day, you really never know what is going to happen each spring. It's never, however, about colors, spots, or patterns. It's about improving the quality of our flock each year.

Irish Rose is a case in point. She is a Wintertime Bond daughter. Her fleece is fine and soft, but it's her conformation that I have always liked. Last fall, we elected to do a linebreeding on Bond by breeding her to Egyptian Autumn, who is a Bond grandson. I felt it was the best option when I looked at their pluses and minuses. That choice resulted in these two yuglet fawn katmoget lambs (a ram and a ewe).

The ram looks to have all of his mother's pluses with a few of his father's thrown in. He has a nice long body, with a great head. He also has lots of presence.

The ewe is also extremely nice. She is a tad darker and smaller, but most of our ewe lambs are that way. In every case this year, when we have had twins, the ram has been the larger of the two. Both look to be keeper quality at this point, but with 20 plus ram lambs, clearly many of the keepers won't be kept. Still, it's cool when a vision pays off like this breeding did.

Blue Sapphire is a flock favorite, and we put her in with Stonehenge las fall because we thought his fleece was most like hers and it's something we want more of. What this breeding choice produced is two katmogets (no surprise there). The ram is spotted, and the ewe carries spots and is grey. We are always excited when we get black-based lambs at this point. We have so few of them.
The ram is a fawn smirslet with white socks in the back. He's a pretty striking young man!

His sister is very nice as well. I like that Stonehenge is throwing facial features like his mother's. She has a very unique look about her, and several of this year's lambs have that as well.

Here is the ram again.

Here are both of them together.

Whispering Pines Kiyah is also a Bond grandkid. She is out of Blue Diamond, and is arguably the best daughter we have had out of her. Last fall we put her with Egyptian Autumn in hopes of doing some linebreeding that might pull out the fleece characteristics that we want. Egyptian Autumn is out of Egyptian King and Blue Sapphire, so it looked to be a good linebreeding on paper (and on fleece).
I think the outcome was great! She had two really nice lambs (ram and ewe), that are fawn katmogets. This time the ewe is spotted!

We have found it really difficult to get spotted sheep with nice fleeces, so we are always excited when it happens! It's not our top priority, but it's nice to get it once in a while.

Sommarang Isla had a spotted fawn katmoget ram and a moorit ram this year. Both will have very nice fleeces, and both a really nice! I think the spotted ram will have a full set of horns, which is something we haven't had around here in a while. Egyptian Autumn who is a half-poll with small scurs is the father. Isla does not carry the polled gene, so we knew what we might get with this breeding, but the quality of the parents was too good to pass up, and I had a lot of confidence in the outcome that we ended up getting.

I will get better pictures when weather and time permits. Trust me though, they are really nice!
Yes, we have been having a disproportionate number of rams this year, but they have all been really nice, so it gives us a large pool of quality to select keepers from. True, the six adult rams we already have will be tough to top, but I feel confident that several of these lambs will do that. There just aren't any culls in the bunch, which is amazing given how many ram lambs we have had this year.



Sunday, April 27, 2014

2014 Lambing Continues

We're not done with lambing yet, but we have had quite a bit of activity since our last post.

Whispering Pines Siena had twin moorits (ram and ewe) out of Khan. Both look very promising. This combination continues to deliver for us.

Below is the ewe lamb. She is the one in the back in the above picture.

This is a better shot of the ram.

Below is the ewe lamb by herself. I finally got a good day to get the lambs out on pasture.

Whispering Pines Genoa also delivered this past week, giving birth to a single ram lamb with similar facial features to his mother. He is a grey katmoget. We were surprised that she only had a single since we have  been having so many twins this year. Everyone has twinned except Genoa so far.

Whispering Pines Blue Diamond also delivered twins this week - both rams. These lambs are out of Egyptian Autumn. I'm pretty impressed with his lambs this year. We didn't get spots out of this pairing like I had hoped, but we did get extremely nice fleeces, which was the primary goal. This was a linebreeding on Whispering Pines Blue's Clues.

Sommarang Ilke had nice looking twin moorit ram lambs earlier in the week. These guys look very promising as well. These guys are also out of Egyptian Autumn.

It's been raining ram lambs here at Whispering Pines Farm, but they have been outstanding. I'm not sure how we are going to proceed because we already have an outstanding adult ram flock, and we haven't even used all of those guys yet. I'm not sure how to make room for some of these ram lambs. I would rather have that problem though than to have 16 ewe lambs that I want to keep. That would not be a positive situation. This is by far the best overall ram lamb class we have had since we have been breeding Shetlands!