July 18, 2011

2011 EWE Lamb Update

I have promised to post photos and a sales list for folks who are interested in getting in to the breed and I AM working on that as we speak.  Crappy weather has really hindered the photography but I do have some photos that were taken recently of my ewe lambs to share.

While they are doing what sheep need to be doing in order to grow, I sure wish that I could pictures of them with their heads up!  I will keep trying ....

A black patterned single ewe lamb from Bitterroot Tiffy out of Kite Knighton - isn't she a striking little lady?

One of the ewe lambs from Bitterroot Tia who was bred to Judy Colvin's Bitterroot Enoch ram (an AI son of Carryhouse out of a Koenig Elizabeth daughter.)

One of twin ewe lambs from Ranfurly Maeve out of Kite Knighton, as AI son of Gigrin Red Kite.

One of Bitterroot Silvie's triplets out of Autumn Hills Finnegan.

Gotlands coming to Ranfurly Farm!

Mike has been bitten by the sheep bug also.  He has had his eye on some Gotland sheep since our first introduction to them in June of 2009 and has finally decided that he is going to introduce them to Canada in November of 2011.  

 The photo to the left shows a group of rams.  More information and photos are available on the American Gotland Breeders Association website. 

I am still totally committed to my BFL's and the lovely fleeces that they produce, but I have to say that the Gotland fleeces that I seen are pretty amazing also.  Originally from the island of Gotland (off the Denmark coast), The breed was first established by the Vikings with Karakul and Romanov sheep.  Modern Gotland sheep have been developed in Sweden since the 1920's through controlled breeding and intensive selection, producing a true multipurpose long wool sheep, yielding good flavored close-grained meat, furskins and soft, silky, lustrous fleece. 

According to the website, and confirmed by breeders we have met, Gotlands are easy to lamb, prolific, milky and very motherly. Their lambs are active and fast growing form birth. These qualities, together with their hardy and adaptive nature, also make the Gotland half-bred ewe suitable for extensive/rough grazing commercial systems.
In 2003, the process of Laproscopic AI was used to introduce Gotlands to the US and since then they have become extremely popular,  both as a fibre animal and also as a multipurpose, medium sized sheep producing growthy and vigorous lambs with good carcass qualities.

Gotlands in the US are being bred up from  Bluefaced Leicesters, Border Leicesters, Finnish Landrace and Icelandic sheep.  When the % of Gotland reaches 75% in females and 87% in males, sheep are registered.  Sheep of lower percentage Gotland are recorded prior to that point.

We are hoping to introduce Canadian Sheep Breeders to Gotland sheep this fall when we bring in a small group from the states.

Black Sheep Gathering - Eugene Oregon June 23-25th

I have had endless inquiries from spinners who are looking for naturally coloured BFL fleeces.  Last spring, I had no coloured lambs at all and so have not been able to respond to these requests.  I will be using semen from a coloured ram that we have imported from the UK this fall, but thought that it would be a good idea to have a coloured ram as a back up. 

These are two of the four ram lambs that Mike and I brought home with us from Oregon.  These boys are from Jared Lloyd's flock in Colorado.  They are sons of a ram he bought from Kelly Ward last year that goes back to Beeston Blackmoor / Gigrin Rhayder daughter on the sire side and come from three of his stongest female lines on the dam side.  I also brought home one of Robina's coloured ram lambs - he is also out of Kelly's Moorson ram and is out of a Silvie daughter. Silvie has an incredible production record with at least two sets of triplets and two sets of quadruplets to her credit! 

We are going to watch these boys mature over the summer and will select two to keep and two to sell in the fall!  If you are interested in coloured ram lamb, let me know - I don't think they will last very long at all.

Spinner's Delight Award at the Lower Mainland Fleece Show and Sale

Hi folks,

I can't believe that I have not been in contact since April as I am sure that I posted a note about my day at the Fleece Show in Langley on June 4th.  One of the three BFL fleeces that I took to the sale was given the "Spinner's Delight" award by the judges and the fleeces evaporated off the sale tables in minutes.  My sister in law, Cathie came with me as I had set up a vendor table and we had a wonderful day meeting other fibre enthusiasts and selling some of the rovings and dyed BFL locks that I took down with me.

Many people are still unfamiliar with Bluefaced Leicester fiber and it is always fun to show them how soft and lustrous it is.  It is my very favorite fibre to spin with and I find that more and more folks agree with me.  Once you are hooked, you are hooked for the long term.

Of special significance for me is the fact that the award is named after one of the Shuswap Spinners and Weavers Guild members, Judith Glibbery. She and her husband made a huge contribution to sheep and fleece production during their tenure in the Lower Mainland and dedicating the award to them was intended to recognise their involvement.  It certainly made winning this particular award extra meaningful for me!