Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ewe lambs

These are some of my ewe lambs. The white ram Craigrothie moved in. (He kept jumping over fences and I gave up. The lambs are already bred so it doesn't matter too much.)

Micron Counts

I just got my micron counts back from Texas A&M.

PS23 Easterlilly 21.5 SD5.7 CV26.4

PS23 Edelweiss 25.3 SD6.7 CV26.4

PS23 Elsie 22.8 SD 6.5 CV28.6

PS23 Ely Cathedral 29.4 S 7.4 CV25.2

PS23 Emrald 26.3 SD7.3 CV27.8

PS23 Essex 26.3 SD7.4 CV28.3

The above are all lambs.

PS23 Dancer 23.8 SD5.8 CV24.3 last year she was 23 SD5.1 CV22

PS23 Daysong 30.0 SD7.2 CV24.1 last year she was 28.4 SD7.1 CV25

PS23 Dove 28.4 SD8.0 CV28.2 last year she was 26.9 SD7.8 CV28.9

PS23 Drummond 29.3 SD6.6 CV22.5 last year he was 26.5 SD6.9 CV26

These ones are all 2 years old. Last year's samples were lambs.

Eve (white Shetland mule out of PS23 Carmichael an F1 Jericho) 25.2 SD6.3 CV25.1

Eco (gray katmoget mule out of an unreg. Shetland) 28.9 SD5.9 CV29.4

The sire on both of these is Richert 79 Potter 24.6 SD5.2 CV21 at 2 years.

Now more Shetlands

Sabbath Farm Fonteyn 31.9 SD6.0 CV18.9 7 years

SheepyHollow Sienna 25.2 SD6.4 CV25.5 3 years

SheltrgPines Justinian 32.5 SD 7.2 CV22.1 4 years

UnderTheSon Brulee 29.1 SD7.4 CV25.4 6 years

UnderTheSon Claremori 30.8 SD8.4 CV27.3 4 years

UnderTheSon Sorelle 28.9 SD7.8 CV27.1 5 years

UnderTheSon Stella 30.6 SD8.0 CV26.1 5 years

Windswept Lime 33.1 SD8.7 CV26.3 2 years

I was surprized by PS23 Dancer as she did not change much and neither parent is as fine as she is. I was also surprized by Sabbath Farm Fonteyn as her micron was higher than I thought it was.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rug Roving

This natural colored roving is 80% shetland and 20% mohair. It is $17 a lb.
This natural colored side x side is 100% Shetland. It is $16 a lb.
This natural colored swirl is 100% Shetland. It is $16 a lb.

All of the rug roving are from britch wool and are there for a little coarse, but do spin up nicely and are great for felting.


"Queen of Hearts" is 80% Shetland and 20% mohair. It is $27 a lb.
This roving is 88% Shetland and 12% silk noil. It is $27 a lb.
"Springtime" is 90% Shetland and 10% mohair with glitz. It is $28 a lb.
"Tropical Rain" is 75% Shetland and 25% mohair. It is $27 a lb.

"Autumn Sumac" is 66% Shetland and 34%mohair. It is $28 a lb.
"Fireworks" is 80% Shetland and 20% Sari silk. It is $32 a lb.
"Irish Hills" is 100% Shetland. It is $25 a lb.

All of the rovings listed on here a available in 1/2 balls and are able to be reproduced except the red with yellow noil.

More on deworming

OK I did not explain very well-sorry! I'll try to now.

If all of the sheep/goats in a flock are dewormed at the same time then only "strong" or resistant worms are left. If a good portion of the flock is Not dewormed then the animals that were not dewormed will have "weak" or susceptible worms. The idea is that the worms will cross breed with each other reducing the number of "strong" worms. Therefor the drugs should continue to work according to this plan.

For more info you can go to This web site also talks about alternative means of deworming such as copper particles and certain plants that have high levels of tannins like bird's foot trefoil. It also gives tips on how to reduce the load of worms on you pasture. For ex: if when you deworm you keep the sheep off pasture in a pen (you can feed hay) or in the barn then the manure with a high load of worms is easy to deal with (you can compost it.) This web site is loaded with information!!

Monday, December 29, 2008


Did you know that 20% of a flock of sheep or goats has 80% of the parasites?

There is a vet that does fecal samples on her 2 flocks and found that to be so. She culls the ones with high loads of worms. This is one way to reduce the use of dewormers. She also talked about drug resistance and the need to rotate dewormers.

If you only deworm the sheep/goats that need deworming the ones that aren't dewormed will have "weak"worms that will then cross with the drug resistant worms there for reducing the population of resistant worms. For more info on deworming programs go to

Grazing or Grain vs. Grass

*Feed costs are going up and land is harder to find, but sheep and goats can graze land that is too rocky or hilly to plow for growing corn and other crops. This kind of land is usually cheaper to rent (or buy) per acre than other land.

*Sheep and goats that are grazed generally have cleaner wool/mohair than animals in feed lots.

*Grass fed meat and milk have a better Omega 3 ratio (grain fed has a high level of Omega 6) so the meat and milk (and eggs from pastured chickens) are healthier.

*Animals that are grazed last/live longer. Ex: I worked at a conventional dairy farm that kept the cows in a free stall barn and fed a lot of corn/cottonseed/silage. These cows only lasted 4-5 years and the farmer had to keep all heifer calves and even had to buy some replacement cows/heifers in. A lot of the cows limped,had udder rot, mastitis,DAs or some health problem.

The other farm I worked at was an organic, grazing dairy farm. The cows ate grass in the summer and barley/wheat mix along with minerals. In the winter they lived in an open type barn bedded with straw and ate hay/haylage and the same grain mix. The cow lasted 7-10 years. The farmer also sold 40-50% of the heifers born. The cows on the organic dairy farm did not limp, and there were very few mastitis cases. The cows over all were healthier and actually did not smell a bad!

*White sheep fed a high level of grain will get a yellow cast to their fleece that does not wash out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Winter projects

This post is a list of the wool related projects I'm working on.

#1 -I'm planning on spinning and then crocheting a small sample square of as many breeds as possible.So far I have Bluefaced Leicester, Coopworth, Corriedale, English Leicester Longwool, Finnsheep, Katahdine, Lincoln, Merino, Navahjo Churro, North Country Cheviot, Polypay,Romney,Shetland, South African Merino,Teeswater and Wensleydale. My goal is to add at least 10 breeds a year. The reson for this project is to show people that there are many, many breeds of sheep-each with its own type of wool.

#2-I have a crocheted rug that I'm working on out of Shetland britch wool.I've been working on this for 2 1/2 years so I want to get it done!

#3-I am working on spinning yarn to sell, I have some "old" (in colors no one like, but in yarn it is a hit) Shetland roving for single ply. I'm also spinning a lot of mohair lock yarn. One other kind I'm going to try is a single ply of Shetland (or any wool) with mohair wraped around it.

#4-I am planning to make something with all the colors Shetland sheep come in. Not sure what yet-maybe a blanket, shawl or sweater. (I actually need to shear my sheep first for this one as my emsket fleece is still on the sheep! hee hee!)

Wintering Out Doors

Here is my list of reasons to winter my sheep out-doors on pasture.

*Cheaper-no bedding needed.

*Useful-barn used at lambing time can be used for storing hay,wood,feed,ect. in the winter.

*Healthier-fresh air at all times and makes a hardier animal

*Economical feeding-hay can be fed on the ground (no hay feeders) and if fed in a different place each time does not need to be cleaned up and also fertilizes the pasture.

*Better wool-wool is not as likely to felt Ex. when wet sheep go into a crowded barn they rub on each other causing felting.

*Less labor-no water necessary if there is snow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Breeding and culling program

I have several steps in culling my ewes and I'm also going to talk about my breeding goals.

First, any ewe who rejects a lamb or has poor milk production (and then undersized lambs at weaning) is culled. I also cull ewes who do not have twins by their third lambing if bred as a lamb or second lambing if bred as a yearling(except my "pet" ewes-yes I do have some!).

Second,I move any ewe who has a lower quality fleece, poor conformation or a bad tail to my crossing flock. Not all of the ewes that are cross bred are lower quality as I have several ewes who are really nice, but I already have 1-3 daughters of theirs in my pure flock. My goals with the crossing flock is to eventually cull out all of the ewes who are lower quality. My other goal is to get as big a market lamb as possible from these little Shetlands as well as a few commercial ewes (Mules and Shetland/Cheviots) to sell. I also harvest all fleeces from lambs going to market so I want good fleeces on the market lambs. (I shear them for two reasons-#1 I want that wool and #2 shorn lambs look better, supposedly grow better and get a better price.)

Now for my pure flock, I am trying to improve size slightly (my ewes are around 70-80 lbs and I would like around 80-90 lbs.) I'm also trying to improve conformation and tails. Now for fleeces, I lean more toward crimpy single coated and wavy intermediate. (I do like a few double coats as long as the outer coat is still soft-so many have hairy outer coats-I know as I have quite a few in my crossing flock) I am trying to improve density, and crimp. I love luster and don't want to lose that! I want my fleeces to be in the 4-6 in. range, but longer is better than shorter (ex. I'd rather have 7 or 8 in. than 2 or 3 in.) My fleeces usually weigh between 2 1/2 -3 1/2 lbs skirted and I would like to improve fleece production to 4-6 lbs. skirted.

Now for colors, I'm not breeding for any color in particular. I would like a good mix of colors, spots, and patterns in my flock. My personal favorite color is white-I love white wool and white sheep with black points.

Now for rams, I cull for temperament-any smashers go to market! I do prefer horns (they make good handles and look nice.) Any ram with horns endangering his life would go (thankfully I've never had one that I've used for breeding.I have had ram lambs with bad horns, but they go to market without leaving their stamp on the gene pool.) I also use polled rams for breeding(for that matter I also have a few horned ewes). Why not? They are a good way to get more genetics in my flock. Also some customers don't like horns and I would not like to see any traits lost in the Shetlands (as happened to the 4-horned rams.)

Lastly, while I want all of the above in my flock,I also want them to be 100% grass fed. I do grain at lambing time, and I grain market lambs and replacement ewe lambs. My goal is to eventually cut out all grain. (I will talk about the benefits of grass vs. grain some other time.) I also make my sheep winter out doors.They do have a wind break. And again I'll talk about the benefits out wintering out doors some other time.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Steers gone!

This week 3 steers and 4 sheep went to market. A neighbor came to help load them. All were loaded in 1 hr.! It is nice to have them gone- less hay,and less work. 2 steers were sold and 1 is for my family. 2 sheep for us and 2 sheep were sold. Can't wait for them to come home in the nice white wrappers.Yum!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I took 11 feeder lambs in to market. They were BFLx Shetland shorn wethers and ewes. They were 65# on average and I got $0.82 a lb. I thought they were a little bigger, but oh well. Also wish I could have gotten a better price ,but it was only $0.03 a lb lower than top feeder lambs.

Links to see shearing

Here are some links to see shearing for those that have never seen it.

More Snow!!!

Today we are getting lots of snow. Schools are closed again. Manitowoc county is supposed to get it the worst-10-12in. The sheep are quite white now! The fences are also shrinking :(

Shearing class

One Sat. I drove down to Arlington (3 hours south-west) to take a class on shearing. I already shear my sheep with blades (hand shears) standing up and thought it would be nice to learn the other way.

The class was at the Arlington research station. We all got to shear 3-4 sheep. It is a lot harder than it looks to shear! (Every one thought so.) We got handbooks with info on shearing techniques, sheep handling facilities, wool quality improvement, grinding& sharpening, alternative& specialty shearing,and resources. There is also a section on fitness exercises. I have a lot of work in that area! And all winter to do it!

There were some ewes that already had lambs-they were so cute!

We were also served lunch.

The breeds were Polpays, Hampshires, crosses and Rambouillet. I sheared 3 Polpay ewes. I got the shearing pattern down but need to work on handling the sheep!


Yesterday I picked up a faded red yearling doe. She has very nice mohair. She is bred to a very fine fleece white Texas/South African buck. (So fine that his fleece is already matting. Some fine ones felt in the winter.) His fleece is finer than some kid fleeces!

Then my little white buck kid was shivering so I made a jacket for him out of a moth eaten wool scarf. Now he is white,tan and brown striped!

All the goats are staying in their sheds today where it is nice and dry.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Sheep and goat similarities and differences

*Sheep and goats both have 5 months gestation

*sheep hold their tails down while goats hold their tails out

*sheep and goats both have 1- 7 babies (normally 1-3)

*sheep and goats can cross breed (with each other), but generally abort at about 2 months

*Sheep are better at staying in fences!!!

*lambs grow faster than kids (at least mine do)

*if one has sheep and Angora goats that are pregnant and then does not feed enough the sheep with stop growing wool (wool break) and continue to grow lambs while the Angoras will continue to grow mohair and abort their kids

Fun Fiber facts

Did you know?...

*wool is the only fabric that stays warm when wet

* mohair is stronger than steel per micron

* there are many uses for wool-clothing, quilts, blankets, mattress pads,mattresses, pillows ,rugs, jewelry, art(pictures,vases and more), tents , insulation, fertilizer and more!

*angora is from the bunny, while mohair is from the goat

*natural white wool felts faster than natural black wool

*wool is a naturally renewable resource unlike polyester

*mohair, llama, and alpaca do not have elasticity that wool has, so anything made 100% of these fibers will keep getting bigger and bigger and will not hold its shape. Adding 30% wool solves this problem.


It has snowed! Winter is here. We got about 6in. and lots of drifting so the sheep and goats kind of wade in the snow. It took forever to do chores and get things shoveled out this morning. We also didn't get snow fencing up until after the snow. Schools were closed-so the kids in the area were happy!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Things I am thankful for:

*freedom of religion

*gasoline (think about life with out it-no fertilizer,transportation, food in stores,ect.)

*having most of my winter hay

*Shetland sheep!

*Angoras goats, chickens, turkeys, cattle

*a family-sisters,brother, Mom,Dad, Grandparents

*My Jensen spinning wheel!

*the list goes on...

(To day we went to my cousins for Thanksgiving.)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Our Bourbon Red Turkeys aren't so happy! We took 13 toms to the butcher and the hens we left home so they could grow more. Well we sold 11 (2 we kept) and then 5 live ones! The toms were crazy they jumped on the trampoline, climbed on cars, flew up to the roof of the house and then went walking down the hwy. They also had an almost constant gobbling contests! So it is nice that they are gone.

There is still "Tommy" the old tom, "Henalerc" and 3 young hens so they'll have babies next spring.

Also sold 19 old chickens, and 2 buck kids to a guy that sells to different ethnic groups.