Category Archives: data collection

A stunning disappointment

With only an occasional exception, our breeding rams come from our own flock. We make genetic progress each year by carrying one or more particular traits into the next generation, and then we keep only those lambs who reflect this genetic improvement. The only way to know whether a purchased ram will reflect an improvement […]

Making choices

We have now finally evaluated every one of our new lambs at least once this spring, meaning that each one has been caught, weighed, and looked over for a series of sixteen physical traits and four fleece traits. After so many years of monitoring, one would think that we would no longer see mouths where […]

Low birth weight lambs

In the shepherding world, not all lambs are created equal. When we first started our flock, our newborn lambs weighed an average of about eight pounds, with as many above that weight as below. As I began my shepherding journey, collecting data as we went, I soon realized that those lambs who weighed less than […]

Wool blind

When I first heard the term wool blind, I had both a bit of confusion and a series of interesting images: Shepherds who couldn’t see wool? A small hut covered in wool to use for spying on sheep? As it turns out, it is the sheep who can become wool blind. It tends to occur […]

Hardly the end of parasites

In a typical year, once the cold weather comes to Iowa with its snow and sub-zero temperatures, we can stop worrying about internal parasites. I’ve written often this year about the problems that last summer’s hot and wet weather created in producing the “perfect storm” for these icky critters. Although we have been selecting for […]

New technology

When most people think of shepherding, they rightfully think of sheep, perhaps a working dog or two, big blue skies and rolling green pasture land. They don’t generally think about computers and software programs! Yet with the responsibility of keeping a flock comes the responsibility of monitoring bloodlines, health, fiber and lamb production, and the […]