Wednesday, March 24, 2010

I got some good advice and had a successful ram search

I got some cautionary well informed emails about breeding a Border L/Shetland cross ram on Shetland ewes. The strong Shetland genes will result in Shetland sized lambs. The cross will not increase the market lamb size
Other breeds increase the height on the lambs....the old saying the air from the ground to the belly doesn't weigh much.  I like the shorter ear, short leg and blocky body of the Shetland  I just want to increase the size.
So I did some research. The first cross of an Icelandic ram on another breed of ewe the offspring
is single coated (dual coat is recessive)  lambs will carry the recessive gene for dual coat. So Icelandic breeding again on 1/2 Ice ewes could result in some dual coated lambs. But mine is  spinner flock and hand spinners like variety in their fleeces

The Icelandic fiber ranges from 12 to 27 microns, with most being in the 20 to 24 micron range with a soft handle. Fleeces are light and open and dry out quickly after a rain (on the sheep). Adults produce six to eight pounds of fleece  Such a soft fleece could improve fineness of my fleeces. Icelandics have the same hardiness and lively vigorous lambs as the Shetland. Using a polled Icelandic ram gives me no horns, fine fleece, keep the Shetland/Icelandic color patterns, and give me bigger faster growing market lambs . The cross ewes will have the same blocky short legged body frame of the Shetland and weigh in the 120-130 pound range
My long time friend, next door neighbor and sheep mentor raises purebred polled Icelandics She started out with registered stock of Tongue River breeding but stopped registering them . She has about 50 bred ewes lambing to one of three rams-- a white, a black and a spotted. She confirmed that the first Icelandic cross the lambs are single coated. We made a deal I can pick out a good ram lamb each  fall at market price, use him and ship him.  No lonely ram in summer, no ram around my granddaughter, just peaceful ewes and their lambs on pasture TCL and hover over the lambs will make them all tame.
 So I found my ram source next door.
 Till later

Here is a picture of "Lulu" a Icelandic ewe I owned a few years back. Look at her soft fleece! it was extremely fine. I should have kept going, not sold out of sheep and went into Boer Goats. I am very glad to be back in sheep.

No comments: