It’s always difficult to decide who I want to and can keep and who to sell or in some cases, even cull. We have limited space and resources, but each year we always are hoping to improve our flock with the new lambs, but we need to make space to keep additional animals. This year is the second year for both our rams and we evaluated their lambs last year and in Butters’ case some of his lambs had lambs so we evaluated how well they handled that. This year, Butters is moving on to another flock. He will be used in a more purebred Texel flock and I hope his new owners enjoy his curious and mellow temperament and his fine lambs as much as we have.
We are keeping one of Butter’s sons as well as deciding between two Suffolk/Hampshire cross lambs we acquired from our neighbor to be our sires for the crossbred flock next year. Jason, the Icelandic ram, will be staying one more year, but I’m not sure who we will be breeding his 2014 daughters to this fall.
We have a lot of tempting youngsters this year in both the crossbred flock and the purebred Icelandic flock. Brigetta, our favorite Icelandic ewe, had a lovely little black gray ewe lamb this year. She was born late in the season, but we have high hopes for her. Ella has a really pretty black mouflon ewe lamb too. Alex has his eye on Fritzie’s ewe twins for his 4H project, who are both black gray mouflon and full of spunk – one has the frosted mouflon look. Andromeda’s black gray ewe lamb is incredibly flashy this year too. Rhoda and Midnight both have nice solidly build black gray ewe lambs. Fiona has a healthy looking black mouflon and Ivy has a pretty black gray/badgerface ewe – although Ivy has problems with mastitis and her lambs are being bottlefed some and not growing as well as some of the others.
Our ram lambs are growing up nicely too. We have two black mouflons, 4 black gray/mouflons, a black gray, a black badgerface/mouflon and a white one. I’m considering keeping one over the breeding season to breed with his half sisters, and there is one who always seems to have a really good FAMACHA score, if I could just remember which mother he belongs to – he is one of the many black gray mouflons.
I like to see how fast they grow compared to each other and how they look overall, but parasite resistance is a big factor for us as well as diversity. We try not to keep the same ewe’s lambs each year, but we still have more of Andromeda’s progeny than others.