My breeding plans for the rams and ewes this year are fairly simple:
All ewe lambs and old Rachel will take the year off. Last year I bred a big ewe lamb and she never achieved the height or depth of her half sisters (and her dam was a nice big ewe.) I'm anxious to see what my ewe lambs can give me but I feel it is in their best interest to have a full year and a half to grow first. Rachel is 9? and had mineral deficiency problems with her beautiful ewe lamb last spring. I am doing many different things to bring our minerals into balance. I want Rachel to have a full year and a half to get her system back in shape. Hopefully, with a year off, her next lamb will have fewer mineral problems.
My 2 year old and 6 year old ewes will be put to rams. Three will go to Bombarde and two will go to Unicorn. Five ewes should give me anywhere from 5 to 10 lambs next spring and that is more than enough for me to deal with. I found it physically and mentally exhausting going from 2 lambings to 5 lambings-especially with the mineral deficiency worries. I'm in no hurry to increase lambing.
Dolce (above) and her 2 year old Delyth (Bam's dam) will go to Unicorn this fall. I've bred Dolce to single coated rams before and the lambs' fleeces have good individual qualities, but not nice handle. Dolce raises nice fat babies, and this time around I hope to get a long stapled, nice handle fleece on the lamb. I'm breeding like to like in this case. Concerning Delyth: Bam turned out so nicely that it is worth repeating the breeding.
Anna Belle, Rai Min, and Sian will go to Bombarde. The first two are repeat breedings which gave me great lambs. Since I can't breed Rachel to Bombarde, I will breed her black daughter, Sian, and hope I get the killer fleece/excellent structure I'm expecting from the match. And I'm really hoping for a ewe lamb from that pairing.
The two half-poll White Pine ramlings will wait a full year before I use them. I had them in mind for my ewelings anyway. They have been butting heads a lot lately, so at least I know they are willing. At least they don't know what they are missing. (One of the reasons I knew I better give Unicorn some girls this fall. He is very keen on the business.)
I've had these plans in place for a while. For once I'm not going back and forth. I know what I want for next spring and I know how to get it. Now all I have to do is hope that I get a good crop of ewe lambs and pray that the mineral deficiencies have been largely improved.