Monday, June 15, 2009


My thyme is blooming now; such wee flowers and leaves - but so aromatic!

There seemed to be a bit of confusion about who was pictured in my post yesterday. Since I name all my photos, you can usually get identification by clicking on a photo to biggify it; you'll see the name of the photo at the end of the string in your internet address window. Anyway, yesterday I showed each of the five lambs in birth order from oldest to youngest, with my little musket gulmoget at the end of the line-up. His facial markings have never been as bright as those of the other gulmogets; here he is the day he was born - a tiny surprise that arrived at least five hours after his twin brother!
The agouti gene has made his facial markings fade even more:There also seemed to be some question on pattern genetics, so for those who are interested I'll do a summary below. (For a more detailed explanation of these terms and much more, go to the Shetland Sheep Info site.)

There are only two colors in Shetland sheep (and all other Northern European Short Tail breeds), black (dominant, written BB) and brown (recessive to black, written bb). If a sheep inherits one gene of each color, genetically it will be Bb, but look black. White is a pattern, not a color - and the dominant pattern at that. In other words, if a sheep has a white (Awt) gene at the pattern allele, it will hide everything else, both color and pattern. (If it has two Awt genes, ALL its offspring will be white, since that's all it can pass on.) The next most dominant patterns are Agouti (Ag, or the greying gene), katmoget (Ab, also known as badgerface), and gulmoget (At, also known as reverse badgerface). These are recessive to white, and co-dominant with each other, meaning if a sheep inherits any two of these three pattern genes, both will be exhibited in that sheep (as in Boo, who is Ag/At). The most recessive pattern is Aa, which is "solid" or non-agouti. If a sheep has two Aa genes, it will be black or brown (it can also have white spots and unique shades of color like fawn, mioget, shaela and emsket; those variables are controlled by genes at other alleles).

That's it for now at . . .

1 comment:

IsobelleGoLightly said...

I like to say "weeeeee" when I run in my pasture! I also think I love that sheep just a little bit! Goat kisses from Isobelle!