Friday, January 1, 2016

Breeding Groups 2015 - Whispering Pines Rosewood

Rosewood is the one in the middle in the picture below.

Whispering Pines Rosewood is the last of the ram lambs that we kept from 2014. He wasn’t the only one that we liked, but we kept whittling the large pool down to the best-of-the best, and he was the only one that we felt made sense to keep at the end of the day. If we aren’t planning to use rams, we don’t keep them. But when you start with over 25 ram lambs and only keep one, you know he is something special, and Rosewood is.

Rosewood is out of Stonehenge and Kahlua, so he has a very impressive genetic base. That's one of the things I look for in a ram. Once in a while you get some pretty nice rams out of an average ewe, but rarely do they produce consistently. The best rams are out of excellent parents, who in turn are out of exceptional parents themselves. That's what we have here. Stonehenge is out of Khan and Kahlua is out of Vogue. I didn't personally like Khan's fleece, but it was really fine and I liked him overall. Now I do really like Vogue's fleece, but it's not as fine as Khan's. What we were able to do here is cross two different lines and get a ram that has some of the best features of those genetics.
Rosewood pretty much has it all, quite frankly. We’ve had finer rams, but his second fleece is still super fine. It did creep up a little bit, but that’s what you expect with two year old Shetlands. We’ll see where his fleece is this spring before we make any final decisions. His fleece isn’t as nice handling as Stonehenge’s, but it is more consistent. Here is a picture of his britch.

We sent in both a mid-side and britch sample and there isn’t much of a difference. The results are as follows:

·        Mid Side: 23.1/3.5/15.4/6.1/21.5

·        Britch: 25.2/4.5/17.8/7.9/23.5

The SF on his britch was still superfine. I never know how much experience readers of this blog have with Shetlands, but those of you who have them certainly know this is not typical of the breed. Shetlands typically fall off drastically somewhere around the hips, and that part of the fleece isn't usable for next-to-skin garments. I would agree that Shetlands should have some britch, but it should not start mid-side and get worse all the way to the tail.
I have to confess that I was not going to use Rosewood this year. In fact, he was on our sales list all summer. In fact, I was going to use Stonehenge again. But as I forced myself to take a fresh look at things, I realized that we have four Stonehenge daughters that are being bred this year and one son that we have never used before. Then I started rolling the genetic possibilities around inside my coconut and on the eve of putting the groups together, it came together in my head. This ram really does have it all and although Stonehenge would not have been a bad choice, I wanted to see what we have in this sire. If I like what I see next spring, I may very well use him on the Canterbury lambs from this year. That was another reason why I wanted to try Rosewood out on a few ewes this year. It's a trial run, so to speak.

His group this year was small, but these ewes are proven producers that I think will benefit from what he brings to the table in terms of fineness and uniformity. His ewes were:

Whispering Pines Blue Sapphire
Wintertime Itasca
Whispering Pines Venice

Honestly, I could have put all of these ewes in Canterbury's group as well, but I just felt there was much to gain doing it this way. I think all of these ewes have good fleece uniformity, but I think he will improve them in that regard. He is also finer than they were at the same age, so I think this group is promising. As I said, if it works out like I expect, he might get a larger group next year. I just have too many rams and that makes it difficult to use all of them in the way I might like. We also have five ram lambs that will be ready to use next fall if I wish to do so. All of them but one, however, are Canterbury sons, so that doesn't really work very well.

Finally, I did put Pearl in with Rosewood as a cleanup group just to ensure that she gets bred. I put her in with one of the ram lambs and one never knows how that will work. I really dislike using ram lambs.

I really like this group and am anticipating great things out of it.

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