Thursday, March 29, 2007

Love a good mystery?

It has been interesting to get more experienced breeders' input on Valentine's color change. Granted, they are all going from photos, as none of them has seen my sheared sheep or her fleece in person, but their opinions vary a LOT. Well, their opinions on how to "define" her color varies, that is; regardless of its proper definition, everyone agrees that it is beautiful. :-)

Here are a couple more photos for consideration, comparing a lock of Valentine's fleece with a washed lock of Dinah's. The first shows them from the side; the second shows them from the cut ends. (The luster in Val's fleece causes it to "glitter" in the photos.)
Linda Wendelboe, one of the creators of the Shetland Sheep Information site (see link for "A wonderful source of information...') emailed me the following [my comments in brackets]: "From the look of her sheared, I would say that she is now heavily iset - meaning that there are a lot of white fibres in her fleece - more white than brown. The best way to check this is to take a fleece sample of several locks and separate it into the different colours you find. If the majority of those fibres have no colour (white), then I would say heavy iset, or to give it another name, early age grey. If the majority of those fibres are actually taupe or beige [that's what they look like to me], then I would say she is one of the mystery sheep that we don't know the genetic mechanism for. She is still probably AaAaBbBb [that means she is genetically a solid brown sheep] but would have something else going on. From the looks of her face and legs, she is not MmMm [that's genetic talk for a color modifier gene]."

So there you have it on good authority; Val is a mystery sheep.

Now to go skirt Rechel's fleece. As a grey sheep (meaning a black sheep with the Agouti gene) she's no mystery, but still produces an interesting and lovely fleece, the crimpiest of the bunch!

That's it for now at . . .


Lauren said...

You know, I've been reading these discussions about aabb-whatever and iset and ___get and, although I consider myself smarter than the average bear, I just don't get it. Or I just don't care enough to want to learn. Cookie arrived moorit to the root(AaAaBbBb), turned musket somehow in her first year(AgBbBb), and now is a mix of the two, mainly musket with moorit spots. Her genetics obviously cannot change; I'm confused as hell. I swear; I'm calling her taupe and brown.

shepherdchik said...

I LOVE the luster in Valentine's fleece. Imagine what a beautiful vest that would be! Maybe it would be vain to dress in such a beautiful vest for church - but since God gave you the beautiful fleece to start with, I don't think he'd mind. I can't wait to see what you do with that fleece. Such luster!