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Thursday, July 15, 2010

Shawn Sheep

Ok so things are winding down a bit after summer has come and the rain has stopped. Gives me time to finally sit down; a reason to come indoors from the blistering heat. Also gives me time to ponder this next breeding season. As I go through the list of ewes, one ewe always ends up on the breeding list dispite our rule of breeding them every other year (this is to breed a bit less and to give the ewe a year off). That poor sheep is Shawn. It is interesting that she is one of 4 original lambs born on our farm. She had a sister which we sold. The other two were rams and they both found trouble in some way and did not even make it to breeding season. It was a learning year for us! Anyway, I kept Shawn, not because she was the friendliest; she is not, certainly not like her "pocket sheep " sister. I guess I kept her because of her color. She was very, very black. As she grew her fleece became more stunning. It is funny that of all the years I have had her, she is now 7, I have never worked with her fleece. After shearing, and folks come to view the fleeces, it is the first to sell, and I am really bad about turning down a sale. Over the years she has gradually greyed but that too is stunning. Two years ago I finally got smart and held her fleece to show at Black Sheep Gathering under Judith MacKenzie and the fleece got a blue ribbon! I guess people know a good thing.

Four years ago we bred Shawn to Sizemore Sylvester and we ended up with McTavish Jasper (see above). He a a gorgeous fellow and has won many ribbons back in his show days. He is lighter in color than Shawn, but his fleece is silky soft, and it too, in spite of the smell (rams have a very distinctive smell), always sells. His lambs are super cute, fine boned and too have lovely soft fleeces. Jasper is one of our main breeding rams now. So in thinking back it is funny how one ewe can then become the foundation of you breeding program. So I guess since we are breeding Jasper we can afford to give Shawn a year off....or maybe not.