Monday, May 11, 2009

News flash!!!

LOOK who's coming to Boulderneigh! Unbeknownst to most of you, there has been a flurry of emails and some phone calls between several of us regarding buying and selling and transporting sheep. Now that transportation looks certain, I went ahead and mailed a deposit to Meghan Namaste of Wintertime Shetlands in Michigan to hold this stunning grey katmoget ram lamb linebred on Roban Dillan and Walnut Rise Sadie. He carries moorit and looks to be a full-poll. He even has a "B" name - Bond!

I have always loved the facial markings of katmoget-patterned sheep, and drooled over the blue-grey color some of them have. I hoped to someday have one in my flock, not dreaming that it would be this soon, or on a future flock sire this nice.

Of course, comings mean goings. I only have so much room, and with the two gully girls staying, and a new ram lamb coming, some sheep are going to have to leave to make room in the flock. Garrett wanted Bramble (sorry, Garrett!) and Butter, so Butter will be moving to MN sometime this summer. I'm going to try to find a fiber home for Brava, although if she is still here next fall I will breed her one more time to see if a different ram can override her wooly tail. Franna and I will hopefully work out some sort of sharing arrangement for Blackberry (so I'll get to use him but he wouldn't live here all the time). And Braveheart will have to go. Once I get his micron test results back (from a properly snipped mid-side sample instead of what my horse pulled out) I will see if anyone wants to avail themselves of his many stellar qualities (muscular, square build, perfect little fluke tail, very consistent fleece, Aa/Ag pattern, problem-free bone knobs); if not, he may have to grace someone's table. A friend has expressed interest in lamb should I ever be willing to sell one for that purpose, and I have read many shepherds' testimonials about the mild flavor of Shetland. Would a two-year-old ram be mild enough for someone wanting lamb? I would have a recommended mobile slaughter unit come out to give him a stress-free end if that must be his fate. All input welcome.

That ends the news bulletin from . . .


Garrett808 said...

Hey Michelle...everything works out the way it should :) Butter just was bound to come live with me :) I'll be keeping an eye on Bramble though .....:) :)

Congrats on your new acquistion!!

A :-) said...

Here is how you are much stronger than I am . . . I could never let them go, to a new home or otherwise. Probably a good thing I'm a city girl. But it sounds like you are doing some great things with your breeding program. I'm excited for you! :-)

Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new handsome fellow!

On the two year old breeding ram -- it may taste to "gamey" for people food. If he wasn't bred, it may work out but being that he used his hormones it may not be so good. I only speak from experience on Jacob sheep and Hereford cattle... I don't know about Shetlands.

MiniKat said...

I wish we had the space for Braveheart to come live with us. He'd be a fiber provider that's spoiled rotten for sure.

An English Shepherd said...

great looking lad

Wizz :-)

Shula said...

Congratulations he's very handsome. Good luck finding your new homes.

Anonymous said...

That is great you already have a home for Butter! Your new boy is handsome.

I agree with Joan at mudranch. Shetland and Jacob is very similar in taste. We have butchered 2-4 year old rams and you can smell the rammyness to them when they are being cooked. We butchered a 3year old wether and that was delicious.

Franna said...

Well, we've had 2 YO ram and it tasted just fine. It was Scottish Blackface, though, and he'd been used for breeding. We butchered him in the spring, so without raging hormones.

I've got a few more days of "catch-up" then I want to hear details of transportation!
- Franna

Allena said...

Many Shetland breeders will eat the rams at ages up to 5 years old. If that is the only prospect, then I would suggest wethering him for 4 weeks or so before, and that should remove most of that ramminess that can occur.

It's hard to send someone off to a dinner invitation, but I think way more responsible then dropping them off at the local auction.

If you soak that meat overnight in salt water, and take it off the bone, it removes most/all of that in my experience.

We did an 19 month old ram, in full rut! It was still very good, but it did have an off flavor, down by the bones. Removing it from the bones, and soaking in salt water pulled that flavor out. I don't think it was his age, but the time of year myself... We feed the raw bones to the dogs, and they really enjoy them.

I would also recommend that as soon as it's cool enough, we go ahead and cut the large pieces up, legs, rib racks etc into large chunks and let them sit for about a day in salt water. Then we package it and freeze it for later use.

If you don't dry or wet age it at least 24 hours, it will not have the tenderness it should.

Also, that older lamb makes the best stew/broth ever, just throw the whole piece in bones and all. For some reason the boiling pulled out or changed that flavor and lamb stew is hands down ten times better than beef.

You are correct about the gentlest method of slaughter happening at home. In my experience, they don't expect anything worse than a shot, very calm very quick and very humane that way.

If you trailer them, as soon as they hit the slaughter house, they KNOW. I think this is much more traumatic, and although i understand how people will do that, for us doing it at home is much easier on the animal and our pocket books.

They usually yield about 25 pounds of meat...