Thursday, October 23, 2008

3-2 & 1+1=breeding season 2008!

I didn't pick up Franjean yesterday afternoon after all. Tuesday night was a short one after getting home from the airport well after midnight, so Rick thought it safest for me to wait until after a good night's sleep to make the drive to Shady Oaks Shetlands. I must admit, this morning did dawn a bit clearer to my eyes!

When it was time to load up the wethers that were leaving, I caught Browning first. When Brian found out I was planning to take both the brown boys and keep Blizz (the grey), he started pleading for Browning. Even though Rick and I both think Blizz is the friendliest and has the most marketable fleece, Brian was adamant that Browning is the friendliest to him. So off came the halter, and although it made the pit of my stomach feel like it was lined with lead, I loaded up Blizz instead. I was going to get one last photo of him and Bryden, but never did. Maybe it was just too hard.

We had an uneventful drive to Creswell. After admiring Marybeth's girls and feeding them cookies, we unloaded the wethers and caught Franjean. My halters were too small to fit on his head, but he led nicely with one strapped around his neck. He's a nice, long ram, although not as wide as Braveheart.
When we got home, the sheep had to be divided into three pens within the sheepfold: Butter and Browning in one (when Browning starting ramming Butter, I felt even worse about getting rid of Blizz), Braveheart in another, and the three adult ladies with Franjean in a third. When Franjean realized he was in with GIRLS, he could hardly believe his luck! It might take him awhile to learn some finesse, though, since this is his first breeding experience. I doubt any of them are going to get much rest tonight.

Braveheart and Franjean sniffed each other through a stout new pallet. During the day there will be much more distance between them; I hope the pallet - their only common wall - is enough to separate them at night!

That's it for now at . . .


~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

Pretty ram, but why are his horns cut?

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

His horns AREN'T cut! He has scurs, and broke one of them off when he was younger. Genetically, he is the same as Braveheart (PP/pp); phenotypically, he has more horn material.

Carol Bator said...


I am concerned about having just a pallet between two rams. Braveheart may not bash it too hard since he is polled. But Franjean has enough scurs/horns to do some damage to that wall. And when a ewe is in heat, there will be some serious aggression between your rams.

A possible solution: get a calf hutch. I got one for about $220 from TSC. (They had to order it for me, but they actually had catalog number for it.) Make a small pen with fence panels around the calf hutch. Put Braveheart and a wether in that pen. Stake the calf hutch down if you are worried about wind blowing it over. You could probably create a fence panel door for the hutch if you really wanted to lock your boys up for the night.

That set up is "semi-portable." With an extra set of hands, you could disassemble and move it. Putting the pen near your house or in a well lighted area would deter predators (if that is a concern) and maybe you do not need to trap your boys in the calf hutch at night.

Garrett808 said...

Hi Michelle! Marybeth had inquired about lambs from me...looks like one more stop next year I'll have to make to see her sheep too!

I'm suprised at how much Franjean's horns have grown in a year, but they are definitely scurred I can tell. I was going to ask about the right horn being trimmed too! LOL

I don't think with the scurred boys its a big deal consider those horns really aren't true horns so its not like they are passing on lethal horns...just scurs (that should get smaller each generation...i'd think...mated to poll carriers)

Are you down to just THREE adult ewes now?

Wrensong Farm said...

I am SO glad you gave in to Brian's pleading! Seeing as I was responsible for all his previous sadness on leaving sheep!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Becky and Garrett, I was mistaken! I took a closer look at Franjean this morning, and his right scur HAS been trimmed.

Carol, I think you're right and will do something more or different from tonight on. They did make it through last night without rearranging the furniture, fortunately!

Garrett, my plan has always been a small flock of four breeding ewes, and not necessarily breeding all four each year. My fourth ewe is little Butter, and she isn't being bred this year.

Tammy, I'm STILL regretting giving in to Brian's pleading - and I'm not sure when it comes to sheep that I'm going to do that again! I'm not convinced that it would have mattered to him which wether I kept in a few days, since he spends little time with the sheep, and I'm missing my beautiful, sweet grey boy. I almost called Marybeth last night to tell her I wanted to swap wethers, but couldn't figure out when and how so I didn't. :-(

Juliann said...

Michelle, he's gorgeous! Thanks for the updated photos of him, I was wondering how he looked as a mature ram.
It is not uncommon to have to trim scurs. I do not believe that scurs should be treated the same as full horns, nor the scurred rams be treated the same as horned rams when it comes to papering.
The breed association discourages the breeding of fatal horned rams, as the trait can be inherited. (I personally don't have a problem with trimming horns, but I won't go into that here.)
However, our goal isn't to breed "non fatal scurs". Us polled Shetland breeders are trying to breed for smooth polled rams, and we have to use "half polled" (Pp)rams to get there. And many half polled rams have scurs of various shapes and sizes.
Pp + Pp + 25% chance of getting PP. We need these scurred rams.
Michelle, I'm SO looking forward to your lambs next year, how exciting! :)

Pamela said...

I found the discussion about scurs fascinating. My Jacob ewe Rachael has scurs. Most of them fall off when only a couple of inches long, but one grows curved the wrong way--down toward her face. It gives her a bit of a unicorn look, but I do have to keep it trimmed or it will touch her face.

I wish I had known the difference between scurs and horns when I went to pick her up or I wouldn't have taken her no matter how many times the seller assured me that the horns were just broken and would grow in perfectly fine. (Can you believe I fell for THAT one? LOL)

As it is, there's no one to blame but me. She will never be what I was assured I was getting--a Jacob ewe with 4 lovely horns.

It's not that I don't like Rachael--she's mine and I love her. It's that because of her, the list of people for whom I have absolutely no respect has one more name on it.

Sorry to hijack the post, but it's rainy today and sometimes the "Rachael Issue" creeps into my mind.

Just wish I had been reading these blogs and met all you wonderful sheep people before I got Rachael.

Michelle, you know I am coveting that Butter of yours something horrid. She is about the prettiest little thing I have ever seen.

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

Hmm, Pamela, I'm not sure the Shetland scurs/horns discussion applies equally to Jacob sheep, as I don't think the polled gene is in the Jacob breed. Rachael could just have "bad" horns (and horns on ewes usually look like the scurs on rams, at least in Shetlands.) Still, if the seller was so sure Rachael was going to grow four good horns, I think s/he should have been willing to give you a horn guarantee!

Pamela said...

Michelle, thanks so much for the quick response. Maybe Rachael is normal afterall! And more importantly, maybe someone...errr...that would be me...needs to do a bit more research before she starts adding names to her "grump list". Going to do some more googling on horns in Jacobs.

Like I said, Rachael is what Rachael is. (And I am going to stop drooling over the pictures of your lovelies. Swear that your guys are all gorgeous! So bad that you are on the other side of the country or I'd definitely have a couple of shelands.)