September 7, 2013

2013 Gotlands

I have to say that I am more and more impressed with the Gotland sheep.  Not only do they seem hardier than my BFL's but their fleece production is quite amazing.  Lambs born in early April are already sporting fleeces with staples that are about 5 inches long.  Now I am wondering whether to shear this fall, or wait for a longer fleece in the spring time.  There is always some winter damage so it is a tough call.  I will keep you posted.   have set aside one of this year's lambs for slaughter because we would like a chance to evaluate the size and quality of the carcass. 

I have three 82% Gotland rams left. They are recorded rather than registered as the minimum percentage for registering a ram is 87%. One is out of a set of triplets and has a lovely medium grey fleece.  The other is a twin who is slightly lighter in colour and not quite as large.  He is out of a ewe with some Border Leicester in her background and also has a lovely fleece.  There is a third ram that I am watching closely.  He is not quite as large but very well put together with a very dark almost black grey fleece.  He is out of a set of triplets which probably explains why he is just a little bit smaller.


There is also one 62% yearling ram that I kept back last year.  He looks as big as the BFL yearling rams.  It is hard to tell with the extra fleece but he seems to carry more finish. His fleece is quite lovely - a dark steel colour.  

On the female side, I have nothing left!  I am keeping the 82% Gotland ewe lambs and one 62% ewe lamb and the other is already sold.  I will have lambs next spring from two different rams which should make it a little easier to provide those who are interested with starter flock packages.

September 4, 2013

Where has the summer gone?

Our big summer project on the farm this year was my daughter's wedding to partner Adam Cooke on August 24th.  I am using that as my excuse for the limited number of postings this year.  It was absolutely wonderful and so now, we are are finally ready to turn our minds back to other things!  Of interest:

Butcher Lambs Available
I have a limited number of butcher lambs available this fall.  These are out of my BFL mules crossed with a Charolais ram.  The lambs are looking really good.  We have ten lambs booked in for a mid October slaughter date and they are going quickly.  I am expecting carcasses to range from 45 - 55 pounds.  $6/lb cut, wrapped and frozen.  Call the farm if you are interested.

Commercial Ewe Lambs:
I also have some really nice commercial ewe lambs for sale from this cross ie BFL mules bred to a Charolais ram.  I would love to add them to my own commercial flock but once again we are trying to keep numbers down.  Since I am still anxious to keep as many BFL's and Gotlands as I can there is not much room for expanding my own mule flock.  Lambs were born between March 22 and April 6.  $200/ head

July 7, 2013

Gotland Fleece - Reserve Champion

The All Canada Classic Sheep Show and Sale in Barriere was a great success.  The Gotland fleeces were quite a hit taking a first and second in their class and a Gotland X fleece placing 2nd in that group.

Reserve Champion fleece is on the left shown with Fleece Competition judges Cheryl Weibe and Mary Paddon who faced a very difficult task.  Margaret is holding the ribbon, but really it is the sheep who deserves the real credit for producing such a fabulous fleece!

June 27, 2013

Getting Ready for the Classic

The All Canada Sheep Classic Show and Sale starts tomorrow and I am busy trying to get everything ready to attend.  I have booked space in the Trade Show and am hoping that being able to introduce breeders to BFL and Gotland fibre will be a good way to promote these breeds.

As always I am far behind schedule but am planning on getting a sales list and some pictures of available animals on the blog later today.  This year's lamb crop is very impressive and I have some very strong, growthy ewe and ram lambs for sale out of my AI son of Blue Dragon (UK) and also out of my own Ranfurly Norman ram (who is a grandson of the Gigrin Red Kite (UK) ram).

If you are planning to attend the Classic, please make time to stop and visit the farm.  We are located 10 minutes south of the Trans Canada Highway between Chase and Sorrento (turn off at Squilax as if going to the North Shuswap) and then make an immediate left on to the Turtle Valley/ Chase Creek Road. Stay on this road for approximately 5.5 kms.  Bailey Road is on the left - look for a directional arrow pointing to "Skimikin" as the road sign is a bit hard to see.  The farm is another 1.5 km down Bailey Road on the right hand side - watch for the Ranfurly Farm sign.  Please call first (250-679-2735).

See you at the Classic! 

May 1, 2013

Gotland Fleeces Sold Out!

The sun is shining and it is a beautiful day here on the farm.  I think that I have only a few more days to deal with bottle babies and feeding as we hope to put animals out on pasture next week!  YAY!

Just a quick note to say that I have sold all of the Gotland fleeces that were available this spring. If you are interested in acquiring a Gotland fleece, I have set aside three Gotland fleeces for entering in the All Canada Classic Sheep Show and Sale being held in Barrier at the end of June.  Fleeces entered in the show will be sold by Dutch Auction.

There is only one BFL fleece left so move quickly if you are interested.  Again, I have held back three fleeces for entering in the Barrier Show and they will be sold there.

With so much interest in skirted fleeces, I am going to offer my  BFL X NCC and BFL X Gotland fleeces also so will photograph them and post the info later today!   

April 29, 2013

Spring - where is it?

I am not sure what has happened, but in the last three days we have had gusty winds, strong enough to blow the chairs off the deck,  coupled with below average temperatures!  Grass is always a problem for us, as we are still in the process of re-developing pastures and with the weather we have had in the last couple of weeks, everything seems to standing still. Unfortunately, we have all added our own pressures  on our pastures -Mike raises Belted Galloway cattle, and pastures Large Black pigs.  Jen has her own herd of Jersey and Jersey cross animals as well as about 150 pasture raised laying hens and then there are the meat birds who are also pasture raised and then we get to the sheep ... so our pastures are stretched to the limit. 

We have had some winter damage and less than good catches on last year's seedings.  So, I am trying to figure out how  I can downsize the sheep flock to ease some of the pressure that we are expecting this summer. 

You will notice that I have listed the Charollais ram that we bought last fall and hope to list the BFL x NCC mule ewes for sale as well in the next couple of weeks.  Much as it pains me to do so, I am also going to cut back drastically on my BFLs and Gotlands .  I will be identifying ewes, yearling ewes, and lambs to sell this spring and summer so if you are interested in getting started in either BFLs or Gotlands, this might be the opportunity that you are looking for.  Watch the "Sale" pages for updates as I begin the process of  identifying and photographing the animals that I am prepared to part with!  

April 22, 2013

Lambing completed!

We have had an outstanding lambing season here at Ranfurly Farm.  There are 47 lambs on the ground from 21 ewes so we are looking at a lambing percentage of around 225%.  With nine sets of triplets arriving this spring, it is hardly surprising that the percentage is so high!

On the left, twin ewe lambs out of my Gigrin Kite grandson Norman.

BlueDragon Grandson

Blue Dragon granddaughter

One of the Gotland ram lambs out of Marty - look at the fleece on his already!
 Lambing started on March 10th with a set of triplets, then absolutely nothing happened for 10 days!  By March 20th, I was getting pretty tired of getting up at night to check on the ewes to find them all happily chewing their cuds while their bellies and bags continued to expand!  Since we had to be away overnight for a family wedding on March 23 this was getting a bit worrisome. Three sets of lambs arrived on the 22nd and there were at least six more ewes who seemed likely to lamb at any moment as we headed out the door.    Poor Paul ( a friend from Golden Ears) looked after chores while we were gone, and I don't think he slept at all while we were away. It is just one more excellent example of  Murphy's Law in action.  It took about a week for me to catch up but things  when we got home but after that things settled down and we had the bulk of the flock lambed out by April 6th.  I think that there were only two ewes that went into their second cycle so we were all done by the 17th.

 We had the usual number of issues - a tail first lamb (survived!), a head first lamb (didn't make it) and a sidewise lamb in a set of triplets that is holding its own.

 I don't know what I would do without Mike's expertise in these matters, he is an absolute master at sorting out what is going on and getting the lambs out alive.

For those of you wanting to know what might be available for sale in the fall, here is a summary of our arrivals!

Bluefaced Leicesters:
From my Blue Dragon son:  6 ewe lambs and 2 ram lambs
From my Gigrin Red Kite grandson:  5 ewe lambs (one is black patterned) and 4 ram lambs
( My coloured BFL X ewe had a coloured ewe lamb - she is 7/8 BFL)

All from "Marty"  5 ewe lambs (2- 62% and  3-82%) , 5 ram lambs and 1 wether.

Our grand experiment this year was to breed my BFL Mule ewes and 4 BFL ewes to a Charollais ram.  The BFLxCharollais lambs are as long as freight trains and growing like stink.  The Charollais lambs for the mules are not quite a long but have the same growthiness.  There are 6 ewe lambs which might make good commercial prospects and 11 wethers in this group.

I will post photos in the next few days as the sun is finally shining and that makes everything look better!