Why is the sky blue? How did the baby get in there? Are we there yet? Why did you put that ram with those ewes?
Today I’m just going to address one of those questions. The rest are up to you (or your parents).
Why did you put that ram with those ewes? As time permits, I may address other pairings, but for today I’m going to talk about Patchwork Gideon
and his two ewes, Sweetgrass Gavotte
and Hillside Holly
A consideration in these crossings was certainly fleece. Gideon got his soft and buttery, but shorter and denser than my personal preference, fleece from his mama’s side. Both Gavotte and Holly have soft, long, and open fleeces. Both have good color intensity at ages 2 and 5. It’s early to say that Gideon has good color retention, but he has excellent intensity as a lamb, especially for a lilac.
Gideon is a four horned from a dam that has produced excellent sweep in her two horned lambs. I don’t breed for two horned and I don’t have many two horned sheep, but I love the look of nice wide two horns.
In fact, Gavotte and Holly are my only two horned sheep. They have earned a place in my flock for their fleeces, their diverse bloodlines, their nicely swept horns.
Holly’s loud and frequent voice gives her a special position as our early morning alarm – and our noon alarm – and our 2 pm alarm – well, you get the picture.
I sell sheep, but I don’t breed to sell. I breed for what I like and hope others will share my tastes when necessity dictates that some sheep be sold (can’t really keep them all). Gideon’s lines are well represented in my flock. His sire and dam are both strong flock members as well as his twin sister and half sister. Bloodline-wise, he has limited use in my flock. Since both Holly and Gavotte are largely unrelated to the rest of my flock, a ram from either of these pairings would cut the inbreeding coefficient almost in half if used on other Badger or Casanova descendents.
All three of these sheep sport correct structure, hardiness, and are from good mothering lines. These crosses were selected to compliment rather than “fix”.
Not all my sheep have 100% desirable traits and some crosses are made in the hopes of correcting/balancing these traits.
Sometimes a ewe develops a dislike for a particular ram and a cross is made because I just can’t change her mind.
Sometimes a ewe runs through the sorting pen with the wrong group. If I’ve had a hard time deciding on her ram, I may just leave her be.
Most times it’s alot of numbers, pouring over pedigrees, looking at ancestors, evaluating individuals, and every so often it’s a ewe that ran through the sorting gate she picked! It’s always a bit of crossing my fingers and holding my breath.
And … it’s always fun!