Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Rams used for the 2015 lamb crop

Here are this year's sires prior to shearing.  I'll post the other rams later.  The rams are not coated in the winter like the ewes are.  I don't trust horned rams with coats on.  The fleeces are in great shape, except for Mahon's.  He should have been sheared a month ago as he has been trying to ditch his fleece.   It is a long staple.

UTS Mahon - 2013 WSWF Supreme Champion Shetland

Mahon

Mahon's fleece.  He is a milk chocolate in color.  

UTS Stilton - 2014 WSWF Supreme Champion Shetland

Stilton

Stilton's fleece - fawnish moorit (varigated in color)



UTS Cameron - grey spotted

Cam on the stand.

Cam's fleece - he is very dense.  

UTS Dawson - grey katmoget (19 microns)


Dawson

Dawson's fleece (sorry it's blurry). 

Here are the 2015 ram micron stats.  All very fine boys!!  Butter soft, crimpy, fine fleeces, top quality in conformation and breed type, and great horns.  



When you are choosing a fine fleeced Shetland, please remember the following:  Fine fleece, when referring to Shetland wool, should mean that the wool is fine, crimpy, and soft handling. 

Fine means:
  • a mid-side sample is tested, that is NOT separated (undercoat from outer coat)
  • that the microns are low - in the G1 (20-25 microns) or G2 range (25.01 -30 microns), preferably in the G1 range for very fine.
  • that all of the OTHER numbers are given out - the SD, CV, CEM, and SF.  Low microns mean absolutely nothing without these numbers to verify that the fleece is actually fine.  
  • pictures of the whole unsheared animal are available to verify all of the above.
When an AFD is only posted, with no indication of anything else (where it was sampled, whether it was separated or not, what all of the other numbers are) and no picture is given, it is buyer beware! With numbers higher than the following, SD above 7, CV above 25, CEM above 13, are all causes of concern. High numbers here indicates a coarse outer coat that will give even a low micron fleece a harsh handle.  Note:  There are a few exceptions to the rule.  But this generally means that all the numbers are not high.  


Here at Under The Son Farm, we always give you the maximum amount of information.  With top quality, show winning Shetlands, you are assured of getting sheep that meet the breed standard with fine, soft, crimpy fleeces. We strive to have the following numbers for the best breed standard fleeces:

AFD - Grade 1 (20-25 microns) or Grade 2 (25.01-30 microns).  G3 is fine for a few ewes.  Rams should be G1 or G2.
SD - I like below 7.  Our current average is 5.2 for the ewes, and 4.6 for the yearling ewes.  Rams should be low, since the rams are half the flock.
CV - 22 or below for a premium quality fleece.  Our ewe average is 18.8.  Lambs can be higher (although our ewe lambs are 19).  CV is the least number to worry about.
CEM - Below 12.  Our ewe average is currently 9.0, yearlings currently average 8.0.
SF - LOWER than the AFD.  This means it spins finer than it actually is.  Around a micron lower than the AFD is great.  An SF that is the same, or nearly the same, as the AFD is fine as well.  







Friday, January 16, 2015

FFSSA Fleece Performance Registry Announcement


The Fine Fleece Shetland Sheep Association is pleased to announce the addition of a Registry to our endeavors to allow FFSSA Shetland breeders the chance to register their eligible sheep.  The FFSSA Registry is based on the sheep’s performance in producing a fine fleece, according to the parameters as set by the FFSSA Fleece Grading Chart.  This ensures the fleece, as well as the structure, on the registered sheep meets the 1927 Shetland breed standard as clarified by Appendix A.  This will allow breeders the opportunity to serve their customers the best quality in Shetland sheep and their wool products. 

To join FFSSA, or for more information, please visit the website:  www.finefleeceshetlandsheep.org
For FFSSA members, go here for FAQ’s: http://www.finefleeceshetlandsheep.org/registry_FAQs.htm
For FFSSA members ready to register:  http://www.finefleeceshetlandsheep.org/registry-forms.htm

Theresa Gygi

FFSSA President

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Breeding Groups & ewe lambs

Here are the breeding groups for this year.  My goals:  balance the ewes with the correct type of ram, finer fleeces, and good horns.  If anyone is interested in a lamb from any of these pairings, give me a holler.  A deposit will hold the lamb/s.  Most of these lambs will be for sale.  I'll keep one or two lambs from each group, and some of the ewes will be for sale as well.  I like every sheep on the farm right now - they are all top notch stock, fitting the breed standard and sporting soft crimpy fleeces.  Just had another long time breeder stop by recently who remarked on how very soft all of the fleeces were.  High compliment indeed! To me, it is what the breed is known for and I won't settle for less.

UTS Cameron - grey spotted.  Very dense fine fleece.  Spectacular horns.  I don't know if I'll get any spots from him or not with his group.  We'll see.

Cam's ewes - Moreen (bl), Panela (wh), Kasta (bl), Tanz (dk grey kat), and Maraca (lt badgerface).

UTS Mahon - moorit, 2013 WSWF Supreme Champ.  Very silky soft, crimpy fleece.  His mother is a mioget so might have modifieds in the bunch.

Mahon's ewes - Arran (bl), WS0932 (bl - going shaela), Viva (Ag moget), Pashmina (wh), Sateen (fawn kat), Galeria (mioget), Cinnerelle (emsket), Sirene (moorit - Stilton's sister).

UTS Dawson - grey kat.  Extremely fine and uniform.  Looking for spectacular fleeces (well, in all the groups) and hoping for grey kats.  

Dawson's ewes - Meredith (bl, Res Champ 2014 WSWF, inspected & passed), Elfin (aka Shillay, bl), Tango (dk grey kat), Coolea (1st place ewe lamb WSWF 2013), Jindi (spotted moorit), Leyden (moorit), Meira (moorit - inspected & passed), Saga (moorit), Onyx (black/shaela)

UTS Stilton - moorit, 2014 WSWF Supreme Champ, inspected and passed.  Stilton is an almost fawnish moorit so may also get modified here.  

Stilton's ewes - forgot to get a good shot of his group.  Murol (bl), Jade (shaela/emsket), Toccata (grey kat), Carrowholly (grey kat), Madeline (mioget), Mingay (mioget), Vaila (grey), Rashera (moorit). 


The rest of the ewes went to the Cheviot.


Ewe lambs

No, these two are not sisters.  Vintosha, on the right, is a Stronsay/Viva daughter.  Darby, on the left,  is a Venaco/S'More Maraca daughter.  Very similar in type and style.  Both very fine and silky soft.  They love their pettings.  Which is why it is hard to get a good shot of them other than one like this where they are coming towards me.  

Valkyr - Stronsay/Vaila.  Spotted musket.  Very fine and crimpy.

Shots of the other ewe lambs. 


No, I didn't really want to keep this many.  A few are for sale.  The spotted fawn kat, the tagged fawn kat, Marina's grey kat (last photo, left side in front), possibly the black krunet.   Top notch group of ewe lambs, oozing with very soft crimpy fleeces and breed standard character.




Friday, September 19, 2014

Tups, Tattie Brew, and Wisconsin too

Tattie Brew.  No, it's not Shetland beer, though that might be a good name for one made on the Islands.  It is a new word that I learned from Mary Gibbings.  It is the 'fore wool' on a Shetland head.  Could not find it anywhere on the web and I'm really not sure if it is spelled right, but that is how it is pronounced.  I do know that tattie in Shetland is the term used for potato.  Wonder what potatoes have to do with wool on the forehead? Anyway, here are Cayoosh and Cameron displaying their 'tattie brews'.




Took some pictures today.  Here are the fleeces of the ram lambs.  Tups, as they say in the UK.

Cameron's fleece.  Tiny crimp, very fine, very soft and silky.  Very dense.  The 'smudge' is from his nose, on the lens, which is unfortunately on most of the fleece pictures.  Tame sheep.  Good to have, but it does have it's few drawbacks.  He just had to see what I was doing with the other boys. Cam is slated to get ewes this fall - both for the spotting pattern that he has as well as his overall package.  He is turning into a great tup. 

Cayoosh's fleece.  Very dense, very fine, and deep crimp.   I really like the way he is shaping up, but I think I'll hold off on him till next fall and give him more time to grow.  Plus, I have several other rams that I'm going to be using.

Dawson

Dawson.  Long level back.  Great shoulder/neck tie in.   Unlike Cam, he's not a poser, though he is tame.  Ram lamb behavior does change when they are grouped with their buddies and not with the ewes.

Dawson's hip fleece.  The mid-side's were too blurry - it is hard to focus on such minute, teeny, tiny crimp.  Plus, I noticed that even though he is very fine, he has a luster to his fleece - which is very hard to get (IMO) on such low microning wool.  This makes it doubly hard to photograph (but makes for an extremely nice, silky feeling fleece!).  Very soft and very fine.   Nice fine, flinty bone on a growthy triplet. Yes, he is definitely slated to be used this fall.  

Smokey.  Took 2nd place in the ram lamb class at WSWF this month.  I'm heavily debating on whether to keep him or not.  You'll see why in a minute . . .

Dense, very soft, and very fine with tiny crimp. Good staple length.  Smoky has a good deep body and a very strong stance.

Rocky.  He is half polled.  And yes, this guy is probably going to be for sale too as I don't think I can use him right now.  I can't keep them all . . . 

Rocky's fleece - very fine, very soft with teeny, tiny crimp.  I feel like I'm repeating myself on the fleece side of these boys . . . if anyone can come up with other descriptors, I'd be much obliged . . .  Rocky is a long bodied ram. 


I held back a few rams that are definitely for sale.  

FOR SALE:  Gallatin - emsket.  

Wavy/crimpy silky type fleece.  Very soft.  If you are looking for a modified ram, he's the one.  

FOR SALE:  Venaco/Mercure - black.

Sorry for the smudging.  He has more tip than the others, at the moment, but he is crimping up quite nicely.  In fact, this is his hip wool as the mid-side's were blurry. Very fine and very soft.  Mercure has thrown some great lambs.  Meredith, her ewe lamb from last year, just won the Reserve Champion Ewe at WSWF this year.

FOR SALE:  Stronsay/Iona - black (may be modified dark brown)

This guy's fleece is more wavy than any of the others but is silky soft. Great length.  Iona's fleece stats are:  AFD 26.9/SD 5.3/CV 20.6/CEM 10.4/ SF 25.1.  Iona has a silky soft fleece.  And silky soft trumps everything.

2014 WSWF

At the MSSBA potluck.  Mary is wrapped up in a UTS Shetland handspun handwoven blanket!


Great times!

Everyone is bundled against the nippy air.


Yeah, did it again!  Supreme Champion Shetland.  Philip Cowan really liked UnderTheSon Stilton.  Thank you so much Philip!!  It has been wonderful showing under true breed standard, inspector, breeder judges.  Philip is a breeder like me (on a much larger scale though!).  He uses quite a bit of his Shetland ewes to cross for market lambs.  He said, in his talk on Cross Breed Influences, that the Berrichon Du Cher was the best tup to use on a Shetland ewe.  Too bad they aren't in this country.  Would love to try that cross!

 And, referring again to UTS Smokey (grey kat ram lamb above), who took 2nd in the ram lamb class, they are half brothers (mother to both is UTS Sateen).  So, this is the dilemma I have.  Two half brothers.  Both recognized as quality rams.  And no, I don't think I'll be selling this one (who is also an inspected ram now).  

UTS Meredith Blue winning Reserve Champion ewe under Philip Cowan.   Thanks again Philip!!  She is also inspected.


UTS Cascade also won 3rd place in the ewe lamb class, and Stilton, Meredith, and Cascade won the Best Small Flock.

The fleece show was just as fabulous!!  I got to scribe for Mary Gibbings, SSS Shetland breeder, inspector, judge, on the fleeces and see all of them up close.  The competition was quite fierce with around 35+ total fleeces (or so).  I thought for sure my fleeces were doomed as each lovely fleece was unrolled.  But after judging and thoroughly looking each fleece over, Mary went back and did the 'squeeze test' - feeling each fleece and briefly looking at the notes on each.  
After she placed them, we all went to see how she did it.  Suprise, surprise!!
  Here is Mary Gibbings and myself with the Reserve Champion Shetland fleece (1st place adult colored fleece out of a class of about 21).  The fleece belongs to UTS Arran.  Thank you Mary!!

Again, another Reserve Champion Shetland fleece - this is the Rooed class (9 fleeces).  The fleece belongs to UTS Formosa Jade (who happens to be Gallatin's grandmother - yes, silky soft fleeces do VERY well all around!!).  Thanks again Mary!!


Here is Kelly Bartels, the very hard working MSSBA president, and Mary with the first place and Champion Rooed Shetland fleece.  The trophy is the new Sue Russo Memorial Trophy.

Other fleeces of mine that placed were:  UTS Mascarpone - 4th in white lamb; UTS Murol - 3rd in colored lamb; and UTS Viva - 4th place colored adult.  A note on Viva's fleece - Kelly and Kim took Viva's fleece to MFF where it placed 3rd under Letty Klein in that huge class (35-40 fleeces)!!!  Yes, it is a very silky soft fleece.  Thank you Kelly and Kim for taking Viva's fleece with you in that overstuffed truck and thank you Letty for placing it so high!

Mary's talk on Shetland sheep.  Fascinating compared with the different Northern Short-tailed sheep.

I was lucky enough to host Mary and her daughter Janet for a couple of days after the show.  Yes, Mary and I talked sheep quite a lot (where we agreed on everything!!) but we were able to sneak in a few other things as well.

Dunbar covered bridge

Edna Collings covered bridge

Playing in McCormick's creek!  

Trail riding!  One of the first times for Janet to ride western.


Didn't mean for this to be such a huge post, but while I'm at it, I'll throw this in as well.

UTS Mahon.  2013 WSWF Supreme Champion. 
I'll be using him this fall too.  Since his mother is mioget, I think I'll try for some miogets this year.  I'll just have to debate with myself who the fourth purebred sire is going to be.  

Stilton?  This year's winner.  And a fawnish moorit.

Manchego?  He's a Cleggan son with a silky fleece.

Asiago?  A Crosswinds Pegasus son.  B/b and dark grey kat.

Dungaree?  White/solid, probably b/b.  Roos.  May even carry modified.  Island type.

Velour?  Huge, silky fleece on him.  Viva's brother.  


Choices.  What would you do?  Or is someone looking for something in particular??  I also have a few more for sale ewes and ewe lambs, but I will save those for another posting!