‘Tis the Season…for Romance

The television advertisements for Christmas have started earlier than ever.  Displays in stores have turned to red, green and tinsel.  Thoughts and conversation at home and work turn to the Holiday season with all it’s activities, family and friends, food, fun and stress…   At this time of year, I am not yet thinking of Christmas, or even Thanksgiving, which is one week away.  As a Shepherdess, I am preoccupied with breeding groups, hay, pen configuration, hay, how to move the animals, hay, and setting up winter water troughs with the electric heaters.  And, oh yes – hay.

Normally, in Minnesota, we may have had a few snowstorms by now.  But the last few weeks, we are enjoying a warm Fall season, an “Indian Summer,” as it is called.  It has been very enjoyable working outside in the barnyard this Fall.  And I was outside for HOURS everyday last week.  We had thirty round bales of hay delivered and placed in the barnyard.  We got 23 of grass hay and seven of grass/alfalfa mix.  It has taken some work to get cattle panels or fencing placed around the bales and most of the bales covered.  We are trying the round bales this year in an effort to cut down on hauling hay in the winter.  Thus begins the great hay experiment…

After dealing with the hay, we put the breeding groups together!  Yeah!  Let the romance begin!

Finnsheep

Finnsheep ram lamb Eino (brown) and ewe lambs Emmi (black) and Elina (white)

Finns enjoying their hay

Little Red Oak Eino is a sweet, mellow boy.  I absolutely LOVE the color, shine and crimp of his fiber.  He carries spotting genetics.  I am very pleased that he will be our foundation ram.

Ewe lambs Emmi and Elina are from Gale Woods Farm.  Emmi (black) was sheared so her fleece will be a bit of a surprise, but she feels soft, soft already and her fiber is staying black as it grows.  She is spotted, from brown and white parents.  Elina’s crimp appears a bit more open than what I want but she has a lot of lustrous wool, good conformation and a very sweet face!

They all have excellent lineage back to Wee Croft stock.  I am very pleased with the founding stock of our Finnsheep flock!

Shetlands

Little Red Oak Bella, Roundabout Acres Baab, and Little Red Oak Jellybean

Little Red Oak Lily(Moorit)

Yup, I know I said I wasn’t going to breed purebred Shetlands this year….  I changed my mind at the last minute.  I sold a starter flock of three black, spotted ewes and Baab.  The ewes have gone to their new home but his new Shepherdess does not want to breed the ewes until December.  He is the last ram on our farm from River Oaks Eli; I did not use Baab last year and really DID want to breed him.  He has nice conformation and a very lovely fleece that I am happy to breed into the flock.  He carries spots and modified genetics.  (Why, oh why, did I sell him????)  As you can see, he has two spotted girls to work on this year.  I still have one more Shetland ewe to put in with a ram.  Little Red Oak Lily (moorit) will soon be added to this group.

Bluefaced Leicester F1 Crosses (Mulesheep)

BFL Beechtree Dougal is lying down next to Mule Maliah. In the foreground is Mule Sasha and to the right is Roundabout Acres Lulu, a Shetland yearling ewe who has not bred before.

 

Shetland Nugget is in the foreground with North Country Cheviot ewe Molly in the back.

BFL Dougal covered Lulu within the first few minutes.  I saw Nugget get covered yesterday.  They are daughter and mother; each one has a beautifully soft, crimpy, dense fleece.  I will get two 3/4 BFL ewes from the Mules; the resulting lambs will not be F1 crosses but I am curious to see how closely the fiber resembles BFL.   Also, I have high hopes for another beautiful lamb from Molly.  I am quite impressed with the BFL x NC Cheviot lambs.  they have a dense fleece, and a sturdy confirmation.  I may add one or two NC Cheviot ewes to the flock in the future.

Did you notice that RA Lamb Chop is not included in the breeding groups?  Since I kept Baab to breed, I could not figure out who to put with Lamb Chop.  I can envision him with a few of the Mule ewe lambs next year.  I do not want to breed them this year as the only ewe lambs I am breeding are the Finns.  So lamb chop is sharing a pen with bottle baby whether Duncan.  Lamb Chop doesn’t seem to mind that he has no girls.  When not breeding, I do prefer three rams together instead of just two.  It seems to make for a calmer ram pen.

Lamb Chop's fleece - he is 1/2 BFL, 1/4 Shetland, 1/4 Cheviot

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3 responses to this post.

  1. awww, it’s fun to see some of my little former sheep here. Nugget was a favorite friend.
    And your Finns look beautiful and shining, in their three lovely colors! I can’t wait to see what’s “under the tree” at Christmas in April!

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  2. Thanks for commenting on my blog:) Boy do you have an amazingly wonderful array of fleeces er I mean sheep!! We are looking into a Finn ram purchase…he is a black/white piebald ram lamb.

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  3. That is so exciting Jody! I only wish I had a bit more time to spend spinning and knitting all my wonderful fleece!

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