Thursday, October 14, 2010


After all my thinking and stewing and researching and agonizing, in the end I reverted to the most basic of decisions: I put FirthofFifth Barish in with all four of my breeding ewes, and decided on Speckled Sussex for my four new chicks.

Here are the new girls:
Hmmm. One, two, three, four - five, six. Am I a victim of Corinne's Chicken Math? No; when I told Rick this morning that I was going to pick up our four new chicks today, he said he thought six would be better. Who am I to argue with the head of the home? ;-) I called Terry at FarWest Hatchery and requested a couple light-colored Easter Eggers to go with my four Speckled Sussex. Buffy (lighter) and Muffy (who will probably turn out very similar to Morgan) are 2-3 weeks older than the six-week-old Sussex; hence the size difference. They will be spending the winter in the corner pen of the sheep fold so they can get their "baby food" and lots of attention; by the time I need that pen for lambing they should be friendly egg-layers and can go in with the older hens - if we have any left. When we got home, I found Tawny, our beautiful gold-laced Wyandotte, dead in the chicken yard. :-(

And here is the "man of the year:"

I pulled the CIDRs from the girls yesterday, and he joined them this morning.
After the initial "meet and greet," each ewe took a different approach. Katie did her best to get Barish's attention, while he was clearly more interested in the indifferent Annabelle. Bramble left the vicinity and called for her mama. Bronwen decided this "intruder" needed to be put in his place - and challenged him with striking foreleg and nodding head! It didn't take long for her to acquire a headache and the knowledge that she wasn't going to win; I just hope she decides to let him breed her.

So why did Barish get all the girls? First and foremost, he is a proven, mature ram with an awesome, soft-handling fleece; his two-year-old micron test results were AFD 22.4, SD 5.9, CV 26.4 with a CF of 89.1%. Since I've leased this soft, fine, square little katmoget ram from Franna for this breeding season, why not use him on all the girls? Yes, all his lambs will be black-based since he's BB/BB, but I could still get quite the variety of colors and patterns from these girls, and possibly even emsket and/or shaela, since he carries modified and so do the gully girls.

As for Inky, she's been pretty gimpy on her left hind leg this week, affirming my decision to retire her. Just the act of breeding would be hard on her; carrying twins for five months even more so. She has given me Blackberry and Bramble to carry on her genetics and lovely fleece; that's more than enough.

And the owner of this soft, crimpy, dense white fleece? He'll just have to wait for girls until next year!

That's it for now from . . .


Heather said...

It's always so exciting trying to picture the lamb crop to come from our selected breeding, hmm?

Leigh said...

Argue about six instead of four? No way! I love that you got the speckled sussex. They're at the top of my list for out "next" breed. Your fleeces look lovely too. I hope breeding goes as you plan.

Laura said...

I loved "chicken math" - I was laughing out loud! I think there's a corollary - "Turkey Math" - going on at my house!!

I always looked forward to lambing - it was like Christmas and Easter all rolled into one! You never knew exactly what was going to appear!

Marie said...

I love the look of those speckled sussex. I might have to consider them once my Sex Link hens quite prducing. This is year four and they are still going strong!
I also put my breeding groups together. One 'group' is a three year old ewe and a ram lamb, the ram lamb is terrified of her! Hopefully once she comes into heat things will change. Right now all she has to do is look at him and he runs the other way! ha!

Tammy said...

Congrats on the uh, four chickens (I was counting them twice when you said 'four'....). I've never had speckled sussex so will be curious on how they turn out for you.

The Shephards Daughter said...

My speckles Sussex hens were of my all time favorites. They were so friendly and calm, If I held my hands out to one of them she would fly up and I would catch her and walk around with her and pet her while I did my chores. While the hens were really pretty with their mohogany feathers and irridescent blue/green & white spots, the Speckled Sussex rooster was goregeous, he was a calm and friendly boy too.