Tuesday, September 19, 2017


Last Thursday was blessedly cooler than we had been experiencing, but at evening chore time the lambs and two young ewes in the Sheep Sheraton were breathing heavily. My nagging subconscious jumped out on one shoulder and fairly shouted at me, "You KNOW you've needed to get those ram lambs separated from the ewes!" I hadn't witnessed any interest in the girls from Bogie and Butler (not that I've been around much) but the older ewes in the Ram-ada lot have been bonking heads, as has Blake with his wether buds; it is the season when Shetlands' instincts start turning to sheepy shagging. 😍

I promptly snagged Bogie and hauled his substantial self to Nightcap's old quarters in one-half of the Ram-ada Inn. Upon returning to the Sheep Sheraton for Butler, I found him pursuing one of the ewe lambs and making awfully 'adult' faces for my littlest lamb. 😳 He quickly joined his uncle in the bachelor pad, although not without drama. It was, after all, his first time to be haltered:
Pretty effective "leaf camo"!
The next morning dawned quietly; Bogie has been weaned for awhile and I think Bree was happy to see Butler go (I haven't seen the three youngest lambs nurse from Bree or Babette in quite some time). But I soon found out another reason things were so quiet – the boys had managed to squeeze through the boards of their gate and were quite happy mingling with three willing "women"! 😱

This was NOT good. There was to be NO BREEDING this fall, and now I could be dealing with lots of bred ewes, uncertain male parentage, and extreme inbreeding (Sarai is the only ewe not related to either of them). I cornered everyone, caught and haltered the naughty little boys, and pondered my next move.
Putting them in with a mature ram was too risky; reinforcing the Ram-ada Inn's divider and gate would take time and materials. The quickest solution was to set up the lambing jug, since Rick hadn't totally removed it when he and Brian last cleaned out the fold. That done, I figured I might as well give them needed pedicures and take their photos for advertising purposes before putting them away.

I have asked Rick numerous times to help me wether Bogie, as his longish tail is set low, making it look even longer. And when I had looked at his fleece earlier in the year, I wasn't that impressed. Must not have been wearing my glasses then, because now I realize that he has very finely crimped fine fleece. He also has a different male tail line (through his sire Blake) than the vast majority of polled fine-fleeced Shetlands in the U.S., so he just might be attractive to some breeders.
Butler, on the other hand, has impressed me from the git-go. He is the smallest of my lambs, being a late twin out of a first-time mother, but he is well-conformed, typey and sweet. He is the last ram lamb by Lil'Country Nightcap whose fleece at nine years of age was Superfine Grade 1; his dam Bree is Superfine Premium. I'd love to keep him, but only one of my ewes is not related to him. He's definitely worth overwintering, though, if no one is interested in him this fall.
As I worked with the boys, Brigitte slipped out. She's our loud, demanding, needy girl (supplemented with a bottle after birth), so she is easy to catch and lead. Might as well trim her toes and get photos....
Under all that wool her tail IS fluke-shaped
By then I figured I was in for a penny, might as well be in for a pound and take care of the whole lot. So I haltered Bardot, Brigitte's twin, for her pedicure and photo shoot. This square, typey, black-based daughter of Sarai has been on my keeper list since birth. Although Ag like the muskets, her fleece has kept a lot of color along with lovely crimp, luster, and handle. As a bonus she carries spots!
The last "big" ewe lamb to trim and photograph was Bacall, Bogie's moon-spotted twin out of Vienna. Bacall has always been "under the radar," not attracting much attention, but she really is a lovely girl.
Moon-spot fleece
Next it was the two little girls' turns. Like their brother/half-brother Butler, Bette and Bernadette have looked good since birth. I dreamed of the cross that produced them, Nightcap over Blake daughters, for four years, and the results were all that I hoped for. Too bad I only got the chance to do it one season – but at least I have three stunning lambs as a result!

Bette's fleece has had the softest handle of any of the lambs since birth. Among her other virtues is a nice long topline and a beautiful head.
Bernadette is my dark chocolate beauty, the only non-Ag lamb of the last two seasons. (I think she knows she's special. ;-)

Now to advertise some of them, and get as much of that VM picked out of all the fleeces so I can cover them!!!

That's it for now from . . .


Mama Pea said...

So evident you "know your sheep" and do such a good job taking care of them! All sheep should be so lucky as to have you as their shepherdess.

Sharrie Brockhaus said...

Thank you for the lesson in Shetland sheep. Your pictures are great. How did you get them to stand so perfectly for you? Your descriptions of them along with the pictures are a great learning tool for me.

Susan said...

I am completely smitten with Bette. She is just so beautiful! Thank goodness (and too bad) that I live on the other side of the country! What beautiful lambs you have!

Michelle said...

They are all little characters, Mama Pea!

Sharrie, good pictures take a lot of time and patience because they move almost constantly. Thankful to be using a digital camera instead of film!

Thanks, Susan; I think Bette (Davis) is beautiful, too.

Tombstone Livestock said...

Dang, I better get out and get that one ram lamb out of pen, rained last night unexpectedly and cooler temps this last week will surely bring change. I was going to send you an email I think we are now distanced you related.... my daughter took 4 ewes and a wether home with her in June. She bought a ram in Sutherlin and looking at reg on the breeders sheep I see she has a ram from Braveheart, isn't he the one you have pictured on your header?

Tombstone Livestock said...

Distancely related .... need to check my phone auto changes

Michelle said...

Audrey, Braveheart was my first polled ram and the sire of my current flocksire Blake. What is your daughter's ram's registered name? It would be fun to look him up! (The sheep in my header is Bramble, the ewe we had to put down this year.)

Tombstone Livestock said...

Papers are sent in she does not have them back yet. Will let you know when she gets them

MiniKat said...

I'll be hoping that the boys were enthusiastic but clumsy and therefore unsuccessful in their endeavors. ;-)

Donna said...

Sorry I am so late but have been incredibly busy. But I do love the leaf cam photo.

Donna said...

Should be leaf camo