Saturday, October 10, 2009

Breeding Groups Decided

After weeks of scribbling out various breeding group combinations on paper, I finally came upon an exercise that helped me make up my mind: On lined paper I wrote a ewe's name. Under her name I listed her qualities in six different traits. The traits I quantified were polled genetics, fleece character, pattern, size/build, hind quarters, and color genetics. Across the line from the ewe's name I put the three rams I intend to use. Then, in spreadsheet style, I listed the lamb attributes resulting from each pairing. In the end, I had three potential lambs from each ewe to compare. I picked the lamb I would like best and that is the ram I went with.
This is the first year I let the polled gene be my main priority. Thankfully I have good conformation, tails and fleece in the flock. Quality in those areas should not suffer-at least I hope not too much-by favoring polled pairings this fall. I gave the hornless girls to the polled rams. I let Arvada have my polled girls. Hopefully I will get some good polled-potential keeper lambs next spring and I can move out my known horned sheep. It will be sad to part with these good ewes. But if I get the lambs I'm wishing for, these ewes will have left their mark on my flock and they can go on to other flocks that value good horns. The ewes in this list are Sian, Rachel, and Silvy (Silvy may or may not have a polled gene.)
Here are the breeding groups for each of the following rams:




Juliann said...

How exciting! I can't WAIT to see your lambs next year. Are you groups together yet, or are you holding out for another month or so?
Your flock looks fanatastic!

Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Thank you, Juliann.

I definitely have to wait till Thanksgiving to put my breeding groups together. My job is seasonal and very intense until about the first or second week in April. No way could I do lambing while I was still working. It's also very cold and wet up here until May. And none of the girls are moved to a barn area until I'm done working. Through the winter they have huts and trees for shelter. So I don't want them dropping lambs until I can get them moved to the lambing barn.

Would love to lamb earlier. But the one year I tried it I ended up using heat lamps and getting super sick from exhaustion. Just wasn't worth it to me.

I'm excited to see all the pollies in other flocks too. This is a very exciting time for Shetlands! :)