Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Just in Time

Early this morning, I moved the electronet to some clean ground by the barn and added my new ram, SheltrgPines Bombarde, to the pen. Anna Belle and Northwind were delighted to meet him.
Northwind didn't even notice that I had just removed her eweling, Rai Min, to a barn stall. Rai Min noticed, though. She has not stopped her frantic crying yet. I have a theory that the trauma of separating a lamb from it's mother is a fixed measure. It doesn't seem to matter whether you wean early or delay the separation until adulthood. The distress the daughter experiences will be the same. Rai Min is crying in her pen, only able to see other sheep through the slats of her stall wall. Sian and Delyth, her older half sisters, are crying from their breeding pen. This is also the first time they have ever been separated from their mothers, and they are behaving like babies.
The maiden ewes around here might not be happy, but the shepherd is thrilled. I have been interested in Bombarde since Becky first brought him to Minnesota. Since then I have had the chance to see his first lamb crop at River Oaks and I was very impressed. A huge Thank You to you Becky, for bringing Bombarde all the way up to Grand Rapids. I am so excited to have him in my flock. He improves tails and hind quarters. He is F2 Roban Dillon. And he is also fully resistant to scrapie-RR/AA.
There are some other reasons that I like him too: Bombarde carries the pattern for Katmoget and Grey. So all of his lambs will be one or the other, unless covered up by a white pattern gene. Since I prefer the heathered look and the ability to dye the lighter fleeces, I'm looking forward to my spring lamb crop from him. He's also moorit based, so one of these days I might get a musket ewe lamb. After three years, I still don't own a moorit based ewe. I really would like that to change without having to buy one.
Bombarde also has the type of fleece I like to spin: soft and crimpy. It is a bit short but I actually like that. His River Oaks lambs were unbelievably soft and I'm hoping he contributes as well here at my farm as he did there. Bombarde is also not a hulk of a ram. He has masculine features, but he is smaller and finer boned than any of the other rams I have owned. Up to now, Clancy has been doing most of the ram handling. Small size was one of the Shetland traits that convinced me to choose this breed. I want my sheep to be small enough for me to handle. In the future I will try to use rams about Bombarde's size. Bombarde may also carry a polled gene. I've paired him up with Anna Belle in hopes of getting a ramling that might answer a few questions about both parents concerning their polled possibilities.
So now all of my breeding pens are together...just in time to let me focus on Thanksgiving!


Becky Utecht said...

I'm glad you got him home okay and I'm sure he's happy with his new harem. I'll look forward to seeing your lambs in the spring!
I had a nice ride home watching the sunset. It was just gorgeous over Big Sandy Lake.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

What a handsome ram! And those "teacup" horns could indeed be the result of one poll gene. Of course, even if Anna Belle carries one poll gene herself, she and Bombarde could both pass on their horn gene and give you a ram with a magnificent rack! Here's hoping you get all you are wishing for in your 2008 lamb crop....

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Glad you made it home safely. Bombarde does seem to like his new girls. He always stands very proudly when we are out there to admire him.

Yah, I know I could get a full rack. Even more likely would be scurs. I was thinking, if both parents are half polls, I have a 25% chance at polled, 25% chance at full horns, and 50% chance of scurs. Is that right?
I would like to pursue polled Shetlands. I have three reasons: I would not have to deal with broken horns ever again. I would have a few less worries about horns tangling up in fencing. And I think that fine crimpy fleece is sortof linked to the polled gene. Now I don't want to start a war. But the fleeces I have admired most have just happened to be on polled or scurred stock.
Bombarde and Anna Belle are my first "suspected" poll carriers. I'd like to add more. Maybe some of my lambs will display some polled traits and I can keep them. The hardest part is thinking about my beloved ewes that aren't likely to carry polled. Do I keep both types going, or eventually move in a single direction? Clancy admires the beautiful racks the rams get. I agree they are spectacular. I'd really hate to see that trait lost. But still I long for a bit "easier" time with some polled stock. Sorry for babbling on...I probably think the same thing as everyone else out there that loves their horned Shetlands but find polled management tempting.