Saturday, May 9, 2015

Lambs 2015 Part 3

On 4/27, Whispering Pines Pearl had fawn and grey katmoget ewes out of Egyptian Autumn. We always await Pearl's lambs with breathless anticipation because she always seems to have stuff that we really like. Also, we had never bred her to Egyptian Autumn before, but the genetic combination seemed right. Pearl is one of our finer adult ewes (in both bone and fleece).

I like these lambs and it's especially nice to get a black-based ewe out of Pearl, which hasn't happened before.

Whispering Pines Cordovan also lambed on the same day and also gave us two really nice ewe lamb. The first one was a spotted moorit ewe that is mostly white. The second was a smirslet sokket moorit ewe. Canterbury is the sire. Cordovan is another home grown ewe that took us generations to produce and it's nice to see offspring also that appear to be a step forward. Cordovan is out of Khan and our own Siena, two fantastic Shetlands.

Both lambs look to be future producers of fine fleeced lambs and should be given their genetics.

We caught a little bit of a break before the final two ewes lambed on May 2nd. For some reason, all of the ewes lambed within a two week window this year, which is a good, but tiring thing.

Kahlua started with a fawn katmoget ewe out of Canterbury that is the type of ewe lamb we always hope for but rarely get. The rams are the ones that seem to turn out this way. Kahlua is also out of some really fine genetics. Her sire is Wintertime Grasshopper, and her mother is Winter Sky Vogue.

Yes, it would be nice to get this in a black-based ewe, but when you breed brown-to-brown, that's not going to happen.

Whispering Pines Caramel Mocha brought the curtain down on this year's lamb crop with an especially nice fawn katmoget ram. Yes, we need another fawn katmoget ram like we need a kick to the solar plexis, but when they are this nice, you don't complain. Caramel Mocha is out of Khan and Genoa, which is two more reasons to rejoice about this ram. He is out of genetics that are about as good as it gets. I'm not sure if he's our best ram lamb this year, but he's in the top four for sure.


So, there you have it. The goal each year is to make our flock better and we definitely did that. Now the task is to sell enough ewes to make room for the new additions, and in the process, somehow not make the flock worse. We are now at the point where we can't merely pencil in lambs and know our flock is improved. Instead, we have to sell ewes that are about as good as it gets just to keep our flock down to a reasonable size. If the lambs don't turn out like we expected, it's always a set back because a ewe that is better is no longer in the flock. But that's why I get paid the big bucks to sort all of this out and be right about it 100% of the time. Sure.

Even if I am wrrrrrrrong, however, we still have a very nice ewe lamb with many generations of fine fleece genetics in their background, and as you can see, our sheep just don't throw back to coarse stock very often anymore. I think we batted almost 100% last year with our lambs (in terms of our mind's eye of what we are looking for) and I believe we did that this year also.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 Lambs Part 2

Lambing is in the books for 2015 and I will be updating the blog over the next few days with the results.

On April 24th, Blue Diamond had two very nice fawn katmoget ewes that we decided will be for sale. We like them, but keeping them will mean selling more adults that we don't want to part with. Nice and nearly identical ewe lambs out of Egyptian Autumn!

On April 25th, Itasca had twin ram lambs. These are the first rams she has had for us, which works out well. These lambs are out of Egyptian Autumn.

The grey katmoget is very beautiful. He is a dark grey, which is our favorite color. The black one is also extremely nice, and it's a color we have had a hard time producing here at Whispering Pines. We have found the blacks to be particularly difficult to get in a fine fleece, but this one looks promising.

Next up was Siena on the same day. She had two beautiful fawn katmogets out of Canterbury, and both are among our best this year. In our experience, when a ewe has a boy and a girl, the ram seems to always be the better of the two for reasons I don't understand. I think that will be the case here as well. This ram's fleece is exquisite! I like the dark chocolate ewe a great deal as well, but the lighter ram just looks out of this world.

Genoa is another Pompey daughter that we think is a Shetland that has a hallowed place on our farm. She and Siena are certainly in the top 5% of sheep we have raised here.

This year, we bred her to Canterbury and she came through with a grey katmoget ram and a black ewe on April 26th.

The ewe looks like she'll be nice, and we certainly welcome another black!

The ram is absolutely the darkest one we have ever had here. In fact, I thought he was solid black when he was born. Wow! We already penciled him in as a flock sire for this fall because it's a color that we simply want more of!

Later that day, Constantinople gave us two really nice fawn katmogets - a ram and a ewe.
The ewe is a darker color. The ram is a yuglet katmoget, and very flashy. Both are out of Canterbury.

I will post the last four lambs on Wednesday (Pearl, Kahlua, Caramel Mocha, and Cordovan). I don't want to say we saved the best for last, but they are really nice!