Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Ewe-A-Day - Rosanna

The yearling ewes are all extremely nice and they are out of three different rams, which is nice. It's always exciting to combine different ram and ewe genetics in a way that I think gives us the best odds of getting even better lambs. These yearlings are out of the best rams we have ever used in Canterbury, Stonehenge, and Khan. You aren't going to get much better than that. Which is why it shouldn't surprise me when most of the lambs are not better than those rams. Still, we know the ewes have a lot of genetic potential and sometimes we are able to get those rare lambs that are better than both parents. Not often,  but it happens. It's rare because very often you are combing animals that have one or more weaknesses and you are trying to get the best features of each parent without the negatives. That's exceedingly difficult to achieve. But it's fun to try and very rewarding when it happens. And sometimes you get something different, that you don't quite know how to characterize. Is he/she better or just different? It can take time to tell. Rosanna is such a ewe.

Rosanna is a grey katmoget ewe out of Itasca and Stonehenge. She has a gorgeous grey fleece with nice length and is pretty fine for a yearling. Stonehenge is Genoa's son from two year's ago out of Khan. His fleece is different, but I was always struck by its incredible handle. Just really soft and silky. It's not a lock structure that I am excited about, but the fleece itself stands out to me in a good way, so that's the important thing. It's very dreadlocky, which doesn't mean much other than it's not my favorite type. I have found this type of fleece in a number of Black Forrest offspring and it's become an almost signature trait of his. We don't see it in any other bloodline. It's not a bad thing by any stretch, but it is different. I kind of like a little bit of different once in a while.

I'll do a post on him shortly, but the key takeaway here is that we ended up keeping all of his ewe lambs. I didn't even realize it until the decisions were made and I looked at the pedigrees. We did not use him last year, but will this fall at least on a few ewes.

Rosanna's fleece stats are: 23/4.6/19.8/8/22.2.

I don’t have much experience with this type of fleece, but if you look at the numbers, they are right in line with what we are after in a yearling fleece. I like to see them less than 22, but this is in the ballpark. If I were a betting man, I would say that the two year old fleece will not be under 25 microns like we like, but the SF might be (which is really what I want anyway). I just think this is a beautiful grey fleece. I was excited to sell her fleece to a very knowledgeable fleece person this fall who spent time at Shetland wool week a few years back in Shetland. She told some neat stories and seemed to really like our fleeces.
I am looking forward to what Rosanna can produce with the right ram. She is one of four Stonehenge daughters we will be using this fall and I truly don't know what to expect in the lambs.


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