Friday, October 8, 2010

Ewes grazing and market lambs

Ewes, replacement ewe lambs and a couple small (unshorn) market lambs enjoying some of the last grass. I am afraid that the grass will run out about a month earlier than last year. At leat I have some of my winter hay. Now just to keep working and the sheep coats I'm making...

I had decided to save money by making my own sheep coats this year. I can buy a coat for $15 each or make them for $3.70 each (not counting my time) so since I need about 50-60 coats that's quite a savings. Eleven done... (The rest are all cut out.)
The blacks are Corriedale X Shetlands and the whites are Shetland X Coopworth. The Shetland X Coopworth are defiantly bigger, but the two sets of Corriedale X Shetlands are out of first time lambers and they are black while all the Coopworth X Shetlands are white. In Paul and Carol's Coopworth flock the whites are always bigger so I don't know if that would hold true for the Corriedales or not. I will do the Corriedale cross again this fall (that will give me more to judge on) and he will get more than two ewes!
Shetland X Corriedale
Shetland X CoopworthThe Coopworth X Shetland fleeces are very nice. They are not kempy like the North Country Cheviot X Shetlands and they are heavier (by about 1#), shinier, longer and silkier than the Bluefaced Leicester X Shetlands.
Another Coopworth X Shetland. I am keeping seven Coopworth X Shetlands. They will not be bred this year. Next year I may get a terminal sire or use the Corriedale on them. (The Corriedale sired lamb out of the Shetland X Bluefaced Leicester is great-she is about 100# and has a wonderful soft, dense, bold crimped, silky soft charcoal fleece-I'm keeping her as well.)
The Corriedale X Shetland fleeces are great colors, but of the four two are kind of double coated (this is one of those.) I can pull of guard hairs out and they area different color, but it is not a typical double coat. The hand on these two is kind of like a down wool. One of the other two is crimpy and very soft and the other is very long, soft and is like an intermediate Shetland.

One other thing. The Coopworth X Shetlands are great to shear-the fleeces cut through like butter, while of the Corriedal crosses one was great to shear and the other three were like cutting through a brick. I could not get to the skin level on those three and I started to wonder if my blade shears were dull, but they weren't as I did some more Coopworth X Shetlands after them.


  1. Interesting hearing about the different crosses! So, do you like the Coopworth X Shetland cross fleece better than the Corriedale X Shetland?

  2. What type of fabric are you using for your coats?

  3. Hi Nancy,

    I do like the Coopworth X Shetland better so far. I will give the Corriedale more ewes this fall (last fall the Coopworth jumped the fence and bred all but two of the Corriedale's ewes.) Both the ewes that the Corriedale had were double coated, first time lambers-so I'll give him some single coated and "experienced" girls as well (and keep that Coopworth where he belongs!)

    Hi Rayna,

    I used 420 denier nylon-uncoated. (The coated would probably cause wool rot and skin problems on the sheep as it doesn't breath.) Unfortunately the company I got it from no longer sells it so I'll be back to square one when I need more. I had spent hours on the internet looking for uncoated 400 (or higher) denier nylon fabric. (Finer than 400 would rip too easily.)

    I have also made a couple coats from heavy canvas (Joanne Fabrics sells that), but I don't like the canvas ones as much because when they get wet they are fairly heavy for the sheep to haul around (they also take longer to dry than the nylon ones) and the wool is some times somewhat compressed. (The double coated fleeces do that more than the single coated.)