Wednesday, February 04, 2009

She's "in the Army now"

Last night I finally got around to changing Dinah's and Brava's sausage casings - er, coats. I had ordered two F and two G coats from Rocky Sheep Suits awhile back, but didn't open the package until last night. It contained one in the tannish color of all my others (now on Brava), a khaki green one (now on "new recruit" Dinah), and two in dark forest green! The dark green ones are size G, which may be bigger than I need. (Braveheart's shredded coat is an F, so he could probably wear a G, but I'm not sure I want to let him shred another one at $16 a pop!)

Dinah's covered, skirted fleece will be available at shearing. It is long, lustrous, and wonderful to spin, and should weigh in at four pounds or more. Brava's I want to keep and use myself, but I do still have her lamb fleece (as well as Braveheart's), plus the roving I had done last year (available for sale) and the white alpaca top, not to mention other fibers I've picked up here and there! Maybe I'll enter Brava's clip at some of the fiber events this year with a high price per pound attached, and if it sells, it sells.

The photos above illustrate some of the good and not-so-good features I have to work with in my ewe flock (click to biggify them). Dinah is a nice, wide ewe with good tail, wool on her poll, and a long, lovely, lustrous fleece. Her rear pasterns, however, aren't as upright and strong as they could be. Brava's head shows excellent breed characteristics with wool on poll and cheeks, but she also has a LOT of wool - too much! - on her tail. I haven't spun her wool yet, but it has incredible "hand" and is long and lustrous with a lot of color variation. I am hoping her lamb(s) this spring inherit Franjean's tail; if not, I'll try breeding her one more time to Braveheart, who stamped all his get last year with nice tails. If her tail type ends up being dominant, she will be retired from breeding.

Off to wash dirty sheep suits at . . .

5 comments:

white_lilly said...

Gee you have some good looking sheep....and with coats:)

Sue

MiniKat said...

Could you please explain the significance of the tail size issue? I am completely unfamiliar with desired traits in sheep but am curious.

mudranch.com said...

Interesting the different traits looked for in Jacobs vs. Shetlands, such as the wool in the head... That'd be a big no no.

I am also curious of the tail problem... Could you explain? Nice coats by the way, love that lighter green!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

MiniKat, Shetlands are one of the Northern European Short-tailed breed of sheep, as as such, are supposed to have naturally short, fluke-shaped tails with some wool at the top and a hair-covered tip. As with so many breeds of animals, in past history humans tried to "improve" our breed of little sheep by introducing other breeds. Finally, in 1927, a breed standard was established. However, characteristics from those long-gone outcrosses still crop up, and the tail is one of the areas where those outside genes will show up. And as in other breeds of animals, breeders are encouraged to cull individuals with those "crop-out" genes.

bondbloke said...

Thank you for a good laugh - I love it!