Saturday, August 25, 2007

Marketing plans

The Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival is just four weeks away. I've sent in my form and fees for the sheep show, and will probably send in a raw fiber entry form as well. Even though Boulderneigh Shetland Sheep is a miniscule breeding operation, I want to put my best foot forward. I'm going to order a banner, and am thinking about designing a brochure that will contain my contact information, general information about Shetland sheep, and some specific information on the various horned and polled genetics present in the breed. This is because I imagine my Braveheart boy with his tiny scurs will generate some questions. I'll have to run my copy by Juliann Budde, who understands polled genetics ever so much more than I; I don't want to mis-inform folks!

I've been casting about for possible poll-carrier additions to my flock in the event that Bella and Rechel sell. Unfortunately, I'm a long way from the other breeders who are focusing on polled Shetlands. I've heard of a number of ewes here in the Northwest who have thrown scurred ram lambs, indicating that the dams carry a poll gene. Some of them have been culled because of it, others have been kept for the wonderful ewe lambs they produce (in spite of those scurred ram lambs who inevitably get culled). I have a couple leads on sheep available now, as well as lambs that are planned for next spring (some through AI semen from Roban Dillon, a scurred UK ram who has an excellent production record, shown below as a yearling).While the search has kept my mind busy, I am not in a hurry. I am still committed to keeping my number of ewes at four, so if neither Bella nor Rechel sells, Bella will be pulled to keep Brava company when Braveheart joins Valentine, Dinah and Rechel for breeding season. I am at peace with that prospect.

That's it for now at . . .

5 comments:

Lauren said...

I wish I had one percent of your discipline, lady. I just dream about wee bouncing lambies and get all twitterpated and want more more more! Unfortunately, I cannot physically handle more and find the training and paperwork overwhelming so must wether my two rams before breeding season, that is unless you want scurred Leroy (though he might be related to Brave and co.) Good for you as always, dear Michelle!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

It's not so much discipline as risk aversion, friend. I fear not being able to sell the lambs I get, having too many sheep for my itty-bitty quarters, and causing conflict with the DH. That said, I may seriously need to look at getting a companion wether or ram (which would have to be polled or scurred, of course) for Braveheart eventually.

Alas, Leroy and Brava have the same daddy. I do hope Braveheart shows the same "moxy" as Leroy soon; breeding season approacheth and sweet little Braveheart has shown no sign of testosterone coursing through his system. That's fine for the moment, as he is bunking with innocent little Brava whom I want to save from carnal knowledge until next year. But soon enough he will join the women, and will need to convince them that he is small but mighty!

sheila said...

I think it is great that you are getting out there to show and inform. I love the banners people put up, I think they make the farm display look so..I don't know the word..maybe authintic? Maybe that is just how it would make me feel if I had one..like I was really doing something besides playing with these sheep. I guess I just assumed you had more sheep. I wish I were more disciplined in that area..I just keep wanting more and more..and I wonder why my kids alwayas want more..hum..I wonder...

Sharon said...

Out of curiosity, why are you breeding for polled and how will that effect the fiber caliber of your fleeces?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Sharon, the decision to go polled was a process too long to go into here, but rest assured, any individual who joins my flock will have to meet my criteria for conformation and fleece FIRST, and will not be added solely on the merits of their polled genetics!