Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Door County and new ram

I need to cull my Bluefaced Leicester ram as he has very bad pasterns. I really like the Shetland/BFL crosses fleeces and mothering/milk production, but was very disappointed in the fleece weights. The Shetland/BFL fleeces were only 2# and it cost the same $$ to feed a ewe with a 2# fleece as one with a 6-8# fleece. I also want a good fleece for handspinning. I may also get a Coopworth ram for crossing. I really like Coopworth wool too.

This is my new crossing sire, Windham, a purebred Corriedale. He is an Australian type ram out of an AI ram with a 20# (unskirted) fleece. His sire is shorter and stockier than the show type Corriedales. Whitefish Bay Farm also grazes their flock. They use 2 strands of tape for sub-dividing! (I don't know if my sheep would stay in, but I never tried it.) Oh and they noticed that the woollier faced sheep have about 1/2# more wool than the less woolly ones.

I am planning to keep some ewe lambs out of him for commercial ewes.
Fleece shot-I love the bold crimp. His fleece was the most lustrous/silky of all the ram lambs. They also had some SUPER (with about 3x the crimp) fine colored ram lambs, but I did not want a colored one. All their fleeces are much nicer than the show type Corriedale fleeces. I have a ball of roving from a show type fleece and it has been sitting for over a year-it is very Dorset like. I can't wait until I get to shear him and spin some.

There was a 15-20 acre field of sunflowers-so breath taking.

I also got to see the bridges lift up for a sail boat.

I got some good Door County cherries and some blueberries, but they got eaten up before I could get any pictures! I also got some frozen cherries so we can have them in the winter.


  1. Laura, you are so funny! The corriedales are very appealing. Crossing with shetlands gets a nice fiber, but it's not as nice as your pure shetlands, and more is lost to grease. Good luck with your cute new ram! Amy at Wheely Wooly Farm

  2. I have been buying fleeces from Whitefish Bay Farm for years. Wonderful soft fleeces,and they are great people to work with.

    Shetlands also interest me, and I have wondered what a Shetland/Corrie cross would produce - I often see other crosses, but not Corrie.

    Shetlands are softer than Corriedale? I haven't spun Shetland, so I don't know, but I would think they would have to go some to beat a them. You are right though, they are heavy on the grease.

  3. Gee, Laura, when I saw your pics of the bridge in Door County, I thought you were there when the lady in the SUV got stuck on one of those bridges today!

    Aren't those fields of sunflowers gorgeous? And what a little cutie that ram lamb is! (You should get some Coopworth in your flock, too, though - they are very pretty - of course you know that, working with Carol and Paul!)

  4. Your new ram's fleece looks very much like my musket Shetland ram's fleece - he has that same bold crimp and is very consistent all over.

  5. Gorgeous fleece on that ram, and I love the field of sunflowers.

  6. My Shetland/BFL fleeces usually run around 3 pounds, sometimes 4-5 pounds. I know that's not much, but the Mules are also great commercial breeding stock. I don't care for Coopworth wool, but Corriedale is very nice. What a cute ram lamb you've got! Are Corriedales known for ease of lambing when crossed with smaller breeds? (i.e. narrow heads, shoulders, etc.?)

  7. Amy- I am still going to pure breed dome of my Shetlands (about 16.) I would like to run about 50 commercial crossbred ewes in addition to my purebred Shetlands and Angora goats. I want some commercial ewe because #1 the Shetlands will never produce a 120# lamb/s (at least mine) #2 I don't like reshearing most of my sheep so hopefully the crosses won't get the rise #3 even if I don't like the fleeces as much someone will! (At shearing time at different farms everyone has a different favorite fleece.) As far as grease The Shetland my lower the grease on the crossbreds and the ram I got is not as greasy as the super fine ones. (He does not seem any greasier than my really fine Shetlands!)

    Deb-"Shetlands are softer than Corriedale?" It depends on the fleece for both Corriedale and Shetland! Whitefish Bay has finer/softer fleeces than on the show type Corries. Shetlands' fleeces can be very fine and crimpy or longish and wavey. They can also be long and silky without any crimp. There are some Shetlands that have "hairy" double coats-like Iclandic that are not soft. (I had some and culled them.) The really fine crimpy Shetlands are greasier than the longish wavy and long silky ones. 3 washes as apposed to 2.

    Lael-Thank goodness I did not get stuck on any bridges! I was up there on Mon.

    Thanks Michelle & Juliann!

    Becky-I don't think anyone has used the Corriedale for a crossing sire with Shetlands, but on the UK Shetland site they are using Charollais and Texel, which are at least as big. I am only breeding adult ewes to him as well.