Sunday, June 8, 2008
Flock Goals in Tiny Packages
I want to produce polled stock with luscious soft fleece and excellent conformation. I want my sheep to thrive in this harsh environment. I want the prefix, Boston Lake, to stand for the high quality Shetland type I most admire. With that in mind, I intend to keep all of the ewe lambs that were born here this spring. They are the first round of replacements in my polled breeding plan. Two of them have polled potential. The other two will be bred to polled rams to produce their replacements. All of them have incredible conformation and fleece characteristics that I hope to lock into the flock heritage. Boston Lake Duvie has a stout frame, excellent hind quarters and tail, and the super dense, uniform fleece all of my Allister/Kavan daughters have had. The Dolce line is not polled, but I'm hoping Duvie will give me a ewe lamb someday that is at least half-poll. I feel confident she can give me good sized butcher lambs from Unicorn. Her line is so good at raising chunky lambs! Boston Lake Nadin is special because she is my Rachel's last daughter. Again, I don't feel Nadin has polled potential, so she will hopefully give me a half-poll daughter someday with her silky crimpy fleece and perfect conformation. Both Nadin and her older sister, Sian, have incredible, soft, non-iset black fleece. Boston Lake Nhu and Lyneth are extraordinary in every way. Their conformation and tails are flawless. Their fleece is heavenly. And they have polled potential from both parents. I am hoping one or both of them give me a slight jump-start to my polled program. So much so, that I am tempted to breed them as ewe lambs. But I still believe it is best to give lambs a year before the stress of pregnancy. Every time I look at these two, though, I want to speed up time. I never expected shepherding to be such an experiment in patience, faith, and compassion. But it is. I've had sheep for four years now, and I feel rather fortunate to be in a position to keep all the girls from this year's lambing. I know as I work toward polled stock, I will have to part with some of my pretty lambs. But thankfully, not quite yet. Someday, Nadin may give me a eweling as fine as herself with the poll gene. Then I might have to let her go to make room for the pollies. But thankfully, not yet. Considering the future in these terms, I am content to let time be what it is.