Ram changes

Outlaw, the son of Maisie x Martin, will share a group with ObiWan

Outlaw, the son of Maisie x Martin, will share a group with ObiWan to start to see who is ready to breed.

ObiWan, son of McKenzie x Nash (who died last winter), has all of our hopes for Nash now riding on him.

ObiWan, son of McKenzie x Nash (who died last winter), has all of our hopes for Nash now riding on him.

Our flock renewal is not limited to ewes! In the previous two blogs, I described the changes in the ewe flocks, but there has been even more turnover in our rams! We normally keep about a dozen boys over the winter, a combination of older rams who we still hope to use for breeding and usually a larger number of ram lambs. Those lambs may have had breeding groups in the fall to see what they could do, or we might be overwintering them to see how they look as yearlings the next spring.

This year we will keep only one adult Romney, Goliath, who will likely retire here. He is becoming an elderly gentleman but is still active and very much interested in our ewes. He will have a breeding group again this fall in hopes of siring a colored son who inherits all of his best traits. We will see!

Osiris will take a year to grow out and show us what he has to offer.

Osiris will take a year to grow out and show us what he has to offer before we use him in a breeding group next year.

O'Connor (a color-carrying white Romney) was transported from Tawanda Farms in CA just days ago, and will be used in one of our Romney breeding groups this fall.

O’Connor (a color-carrying white Romney) was transported from Tawanda Farms in CA just days ago, and will be used in one of our Romney breeding groups this fall.

With Goliath, we will overwinter four Romney ram lambs. Outlaw and ObiWan, a pair of solid black boys of our own breeding, will share a breeding group this fall, wearing different colored crayons to determine which one bred the first ewes. If they both begin breeding ewes in the group, we will separate the ewes into two groups and each ram lamb will get his own sub-flock. On the other hand, if only one boy turns out to be mature enough to breed the ewes, he will get the group and the other lamb will be pulled out to spend time with some of his ram-lamb buddies in the paddock. How this group turns out will depend on how quickly each of these boys matures!

Also in the Romney group are two new ram lambs: O’Connor, a white color-carrying ram lamb from Tawanda Farms in CA (having just arrived home today after several days of transport!), and Osiris, another white color-carrying ram lamb from Celtic Braes Farm in WI (arriving several weeks ago). O’Connor will have a breeding group of his own this fall, but Osiris will take a year to grow into his role. We may find out that O’Connor also needs some time to grow — and if that happens, he will pass his breeding group to our white color-carrying adult ram, Martin, who is still for sale.

Opus, son of Jypsi x Muldoon, has tremendous growth and lovely fiber going for him.

Opus, son of Jypsi x Muldoon, has good growth and lovely fiber as well as the Swiss Markings pattern.

Otoe, son of Ivy x Muldoon, not only carries the gene for Swiss Markings, but also has his dam's lovely fiber!

Otoe, son of Ivy x Muldoon, not only carries the gene for Swiss Markings, but also has his dam’s lovely fiber!

The Romeldale group is a bit bigger, including three adult rams and three ram lambs. In breeding groups this fall, we’ll have Muldoon (a two-year-old who carries the still unusual Swiss Markings pattern), Nahe (a darker moorit yearling who had a group last year), and Noa, a charcoal yearling who has returned home after spending a year on loan to Serenity Spring Wool in WI. The three ram lambs overwintering in our paddock are Opus, a lovely black-based son of Muldoon who might replace his sire next year; Oliver, a solid black son of Midnight and Nahe who might replace his sire next year; and Otoe, a triplet son of Muldoon and Ivy whose fleece impressed me enough to see how he turns out next year! All three of these boys will prove themselves further next summer when they are  more mature — and in the interim, I have some lovely adult rams that I will use this fall.

Oliver carries both moorit brown and black coloring, and the most recessive patterns, making him an impressive addition to our flock

Oliver carries both moorit brown and black coloring, and the most recessive patterns, making him an impressive addition to our flock

In past years I always tried to reduce the number of rams that we would keep over the winter. I’ve come to realize that keeping too few rams is a worse situation than keeping too many. I can always sell some off, but if one of my breeding boys dies or becomes ill (as did Josiah last fall on the night before we put together our breeding groups!), it is nice to know that I have others just waiting for a chance to prove what they can do!

I still have two boys available for sale: Norris and Martin. If they don’t sell before winter, we’ll have to see what happens. After all, having too many rams is always better than not having enough!

 

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7 Comments

  • Jane says:

    I love reading about all the different ewes and rams. They come from some varied places!

  • Erika says:

    I love reading about your thoughts on breeding. Always something to learn since I am new to all of this.

  • Bev says:

    I am swooning over Obiwan and his coloring; looks like he might have a beautiful fleece!

    • Dee says:

      Yes, ObiWan has really beautiful fleece – one of the reasons he will have a breeding group this fall! His comrade, Outlaw, has a very similar fleece, so they will share a group to start, and then we will see who is ready and who isn’t!

  • twinsetellen says:

    This is when I really wish I were a shepherd – the mix of science and art that goes into designing the breeding group just intrigues me. The extremely hard work you do all year, however, does not!

    • Dee says:

      Oh, but it is a labor of love – and the breeding groups are the most exciting part, when you dream of what can be when you put this sire with this dam…!

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